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How to register a marriage held abroad in Indonesia?

Updated: May 4

Marriage is a sacred moment in a couple's life.


With the increase of globalization, it is no longer uncommon for an Indonesian citizen (WNI) to fall in love with a foreign citizen (WNA) or vice versa. Some couples could then decide to get married in Indonesia, or even abroad.


For those couples who decide to get married abroad, it is important to note that your marriage status is only legal under the law of the country where your marriage is held. This means, from Indonesia's point of view, you are legally still not married.


Depending on your family’s plan, you might want to register your marriage which is held abroad in Indonesia so that it will be acknowledged under Indonesian law.


In this article, we will address the frequently asked questions (FAQ) that we often receive involving the registration of marriage which is held abroad in Indonesia, including:


  • Is a marriage held abroad legally recognized in Indonesia?

  • Can I register my marriage abroad in Indonesia?

  • Should I register my marriage abroad in Indonesia?

  • How to register a marriage held abroad in Indonesia?

  • What if I don't want to register my marriage abroad in Indonesia?


Is a marriage held abroad legally recognized in Indonesia?


Under Indonesian law, a marriage that takes place abroad can indeed be recognized, provided specific conditions are met.


This is governed by Article 56(1) of Law No. 1 of 1974 on Marriage. For a marriage held outside of Indonesia to be acknowledged legally within the country, the following criteria must be satisfied:

  1. Parties Involved: The marriage should be between two Indonesians or an Indonesian and a foreign national.

  2. Compliance with Local Laws: The marriage must be conducted in accordance with the laws of the country where it takes place.

Meeting these requirements ensures that your marriage abroad is not only celebrated and recognized in the country where it occurred but also holds legal validity in Indonesia.


Can I register my marriage abroad in Indonesia?


Yes, you can register a marriage held abroad in Indonesia, provided certain prerequisites are met.


As regulated under Article 37(1) of Law No. 23 of 2006 on Population Administration, a key requirement is to officially report your overseas marriage to an Indonesian government representative in the country where the marriage took place. Typically, this would involve contacting the Indonesian Embassy (Kedutaan Besar Republik Indonesia) or the Indonesian Consulate General (Konsulat Jendral Republik Indonesia) in that country.


It's important to note that if Indonesia lacks a governmental representative in the country where your marriage occurred, unfortunately, it may not be possible to register your marriage in Indonesia.


Should I register my marriage held abroad in Indonesia?


This would depend on the couple's circumstances and future plans:


For Couples Without Ties to Indonesia: If both partners have no familial or property connections to Indonesia and plan to live permanently outside Indonesia, registering the marriage in Indonesia might not be necessary. However, for the Indonesian spouse, it's crucial to understand that this decision could have significant implications on their Indonesian Citizenship, potentially leading to its loss.


For Couples with Ties to Indonesia: On the other hand, if the couple, or at least one spouse, maintains strong ties to Indonesia (such as family connections for inheritance purposes or property ownership), registering the marriage would be necessary. This is particularly relevant if there is a possibility of relocating to Indonesia in the future. Registration ensures that the foreign spouse is entitled to immigration benefits as a family member of an Indonesian citizen, aligning with Indonesian legal requirements.


foreign marriage
(source image;kingsville.ca)

How to register a marriage held abroad in Indonesia?


Here’s a step-by-step guide to registering your marriage that is held abroad:


1- Visit the Civil Registry Office

Visit the civil registry office (Dinas Kependudukan dan Catatan Sipil) in Indonesia that has jurisdiction over one of the spouses’ residences, as indicated on their KTP (Identity Card).


2- Prepare and Submit the Documents

Prepare and submit the necessary documents to the civil registry office. Please note that the specific documents required can vary from one civil registry office to another, but generally include:

  1. A copy of the marriage certificate from the country where the marriage took place.

  2. A copy of the marriage certificate issued by the Indonesian embassy in that country.

  3. Copies of both spouses' KTP-el (Electronic Identity Card) and Kartu Keluarga (Family Card).

  4. Copies of both spouses' passports.

  5. A report of the marriage from the Indonesian representative in the country where the marriage occurred.

If any documents are in a foreign language, they should be translated into Bahasa Indonesia by a sworn translator.


After submitting the documents, the civil registry official will inform you when they are ready for collection.


3- Collect the Document

Once the verification process is complete, the civil registry office will issue a document proofing that you have registered your overseas marriage in Indonesia called "Surat Keterangan Pelaporan Perkawinan Luar Negeri”.


If you need further guidance to prepare the above documents or to assist you in registering the marriage, please feel free to contact Tampubolon Legal Solutions.


Please note that the processing time of the above can vary between offices but typically ranges from 4 to 7 working days, and normally is free of charge.


What if I don't want to register the marriage in Indonesia?


Choosing not to register your marriage in Indonesia is a personal decision.


However, as we have discussed above in the “Should I register my marriage held abroad in Indonesia?” section, it's important to consider the potential consequences of this choice, especially if you or your spouse have significant ties to Indonesia, such as family connections or property.


Additionally, an important aspect to be considered is related to the legal status of any children born to the couple. In Indonesia, if a marriage is not registered, any offspring from that union are legally recognized as children born outside of marriage (anak luar kawin). This has significant implications: such children will only have a legal relationship with their mother and not with their father.


This status could affect the child's inheritance rights, citizenship status, and other legal recognitions in Indonesia related to the child.



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END NOTE: This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Specific cases require specific advice, and the content provided herein may not be applicable in all situations. Legal regulations and interpretations can vary widely and may change over time, necessitating consultation with legal experts. If you require specific legal advice or guidance, please contact a qualified legal professional. It is crucial to consult with legal experts before applying the information in this article to ensure compliance with current legal standards and requirements.


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Registering a Marriage Held Abroad in Indonesia



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