GETTING MARRIED IN INDONESIA
When an Indonesian and a foreigner wish to get married in Indonesia, sometimes they can face a unique set of challenges and difficulties.
This is mostly due to the differences in the legal systems, cultural norms, customs, and social expectations. Understanding the family law of Indonesia and the one in the foreign spouse’s home country is therefore essential since the marriage process can be quite complex. For example: in getting the necessary legal documentation, fulfilling the Indonesian marriage requirements, and possibly dealing with problems such as dual citizenship and property ownership.
in this article, we will discuss about:
Why is it important to understand the legal aspects of getting married in Indonesia?
Couples of different nationalities who want to get married in Indonesia need to be aware of the regulations governing it.
The legal issues surrounding an Indonesian-foreigner marriage important not only during the marriage process, but also in the long run, and they can have a major impact on the couple’s life. For example, legal choices made when a couple gets married, such as writing a prenuptial agreement, may affect the property rights, inheritance, and even the couple’s finances.
Similarly, when an international marriage ends in divorce, the legal processes and rights of each party are often complicated by the fact that the marriage took place in more than one country. So, it’s important for couples to know about these legal issues in order to protect their rights and interests and smoothly start their new life together.
What are the requirements to get married in Indonesia?
Under Indonesian law, the marriage is regulated by Law No. 1 of 1974 concerning Marriage as amended by Law No. 16 of 2019 (“Marriage Law”). In general, Marriage Law stipulates that a marriage is only legal if it is conducted according to the laws of the respective religious beliefs of the spouses. Indonesian law essentially recognizes six religions, namely Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism, which have their own betrothal and marriage ceremonies that the couples must follow. Further, the couples must also be of the same religion, if not, one party must convert to the other religion. In addition, the couple must be at least 19 years old.
What are the requirements for Foreign Citizens to get married in Indonesia?
To get married to an Indonesian citizen in Indonesia, foreign nationals must comply with Marriage Law and also provide additional documentation to the local Civil Registry office. In addition to the regular identity documents, such as passport and birth certificate, normally the foreign partner shall also present proof of the end of the previous marriage (if applicable), a certificate of the current marital status, and a certificate of no impediment to marriage from their embassy or consulate in Indonesia (“CNI”). CNI is an important document that confirms that there are no objections to the marriage from the foreign partner’s country of origin. All of these documents shall be translated into Indonesian by a sworn translator.
How is the Marriage Process in Indonesia?
There are two important institutions where a couple can register their marriage in Indonesia, the Kantor Urusan Agama (local office of religious affairs) (“KUA”) and the Dinas Kependudukan dan Catatan Sipil (civil registration office) (“Dukcapil”).
It is mandatory to have a religious service when getting married in Indonesia. If the spouses are Muslim, the religious service must take place at the KUA. The KUA will then issue the Buku Nikah (Marriage Book), which would be the evidence of the legality of the marriage. There is no need for registration at Dukcapil for a Muslim wedding.
Meanwhile, if the spouses are Protestant, Catholique, Buddhist, or Hindu, the spouses shall initially hold the religious service and then go to the Dukcapil to record the marriage. The Dukcapil will then issue the Akte Perkawinan or Surat Nikah (Marriage Certificate) which would be the evidence of the legality of the marriage.
It is important to note that different districts in Indonesia may have different rules about both the process and sometimes even the documents required. Therefore, it is advisable to consult with the officer at the relevant local instances or a legal expert.
What are the legal implications of a marriage between a foreign citizen and an Indonesian?
A marriage between an Indonesian and a foreign citizen can incur several legal issues, most importantly related to property ownership.
Under Indonesian law, foreigners are generally prohibited from owning land with an ownership title (hak milik) in Indonesia. This rule extends to foreign spouses in mixed-nationality marriages (after 1 year of marriage). If a couple does not have any prenuptial agreement allowing separation of wealth and property, any property acquired during the marriage is considered joint property. Since foreigners by law cannot own properties under hak milik, this means the Indonesian spouse will also not be able to acquire any properties under hak milik, which can cause complications especially if the couple lives in Indonesia. Therefore it’s highly recommended that mixed-nationality couples sign a prenuptial agreement that clearly defines their property rights, not only for the sake of purchasing properties in Indonesia but also to protect the current assets of both parties and to establish how property and other assets will be divided in the case of a divorce or death.
It is also important to note that prenuptial agreements must be made before the marriage and must be drawn up by an Indonesian notary. However, Indonesian law also recognizes a separation of property agreement between spouses during the marriage, which is also known as a postnuptial agreement. Like the prenuptial agreement, the postnuptial agreement shall also be drawn up before an Indonesian notary. Therefore, it is possible for Indonesian-foreigners couples who have been married without a prenuptial agreement to draw up their postnuptial agreement during the marriage.
How does marriage affect the immigration status of the Foreign National spouse?
Getting married to an Indonesian citizen can significantly affect the foreign spouse’s immigration status. Before the marriage, a foreigner may be residing in Indonesia on a different type of visa, such as a tourist visa, working visa, investment visa, or second home visa. Read more explanations about the types of Indonesian visas.
After the marriage, the foreign spouse becomes eligible to apply for a limited stay permit (KITAS) on the basis of marriage. This permit allows the foreign to stay in Indonesia for a longer period, typically one year at a time, and can be renewed annually. It also allows the foreigner to work and do business in Indonesia, subject to the obtaining of the necessary permit.
How to obtain a spouse-sponsored KITAS?
Obtaining a KITAS as a spouse of an Indonesian citizen requires the submission of several documents to the immigration office, including but not limited to proof of marriage and a sponsorship letter from the Indonesian spouse.
Is it possible to get an Indonesian permanent residence (KITAP) based on marriage to an Indonesian citizen?
Yes. After two years of being married to an Indonesian citizen, the foreign spouse can apply for a permanent stay permit (KITAP). Please note that the two-year is counted since the marriage is validly recognized by the Indonesian government. This means, even if a foreigner is legally married to an Indonesian citizen for years, but if such marriage has never been reported to the relevant government institutions, the said foreigner will not be eligible to apply for the KITAP.
The KITAP would be valid for 5 (five) years and is renewable without the need to leave the country.
Why work with us?
At Tampubolon Legal Solutions, our team is ready to help our clients with various immigration legal matters, such as deportation assistance, Indonesian citizenship and obtaining Indonesian Police Clearance Certificate (SKCK). We are also accustomed to handling the unique challenges of foreigners' marriage to Indonesian citizens. We provide a comprehensive range of services uniquely designed on a case-by-case basis to guide couples through the entire process, from understanding the legal requirements of marriage in Indonesia to navigating the complexities of immigration law for the foreign partner.
Our experienced lawyers are able to draft and review prenuptial agreements to protect the assets and interests of both parties, and we also offer legal advice regarding property ownership in Indonesia. Our immigration lawyers are further able to assist the foreign partner to obtain all the immigration documentation prior to the marriage and then getting the residency permits required after the marriage.
With our extensive knowledge and experience our team in this field, we are committed to providing the support and advice our clients need to navigate the legal landscape of marriage in Indonesia with confidence and peace of mind.
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