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  • Mixed religion marriages registered abroad

    Hey all! Looking forward marrying my darling, yay, however it seems there's a bit of a battle with the machine ahead...

    For marriages registered in Indonesia, the couple still need to share the same religion. She's a Javanese Muslim, and I'm simply in the civil register in my country, ie. logged in no religion's books. She obviously can't convert to blank, and I wouldn't care to convert (to anything) simply as a formality, even if I my personal beliefs are in no particular conflict with the gist of Islam.

    I understand that in general, marriages registered abroad are recognized in Indonesia (after a couple of hops of paperwork). However my readings so far are ambiguous about whether there are any complications with having a foreign-registered mixed-religion marriage legally recognized in Indonesia. Anyone have relevant experience or insight to share? Thanks very much!

  • #2
    Originally posted by Pade Pandai View Post
    ... whether there are any complications with having a foreign-registered mixed-religion marriage legally recognized in Indonesia. Anyone have relevant experience or insight to share?

    From what I know from the Indonesian Marriage Law and from the Forum members' experience , there is no complication if you marry outside Indonesia , where the marriage certificate does not mention any religion or mentions it but both of you with the same religion .

    I never heard of any foreign marriage with a marriage certificate stating a couple with different religion , but if this happen , it would not comply with the Indonesian Marriage Law , so probably it would not be recognized by Indonesia .


    http://www.expat.or.id/info/gettingm...indonesia.html (about marrying in Indonesia and abroad)
    http://www.expat.or.id/info/mixmarriages.html
    http://www.expat.or.id/info/familylaw.html
    http://www.expat.or.id/info/marriage...lications.html
    http://www.expat.or.id/info/prenuptialagreement.html (read this link if you intend to buy Indonesian property in the future)

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    • #3
      Thanks Marcus! On a related question, anyone know which nearby countries perform civil marriages without noting down the couple's religions? Singapore, Thailand (read that long thread) and Australia seem to be common options. Malaysia may not work, not sure if they allow Muslims to have any other type of wedding but an Islamic one. None of the three usual choices make it particularly easy though.

      Singapore with the 16-day pre-wedding residential requirement, costing 3.8jt plus three weeks of hotel living. Australia seems quick and easy enough but is a bit pricey, in the range of 5jt with registration and "celebration". Thailand seems like an awful lot of back-and-forth translation work and shuttling around, a bit cheaper but more hassle. Any other feasible options? The more I read, the more I get the impression we might as well fly to Europe and get it done there easily and for next to no administrative costs...

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Pade Pandai View Post
        (1) ... Singapore, Thailand (read that long thread) and Australia seem to be common options ... Any other feasible options?

        (2) The more I read, the more I get the impression we might as well fly to Europe and get it done there easily and for next to no administrative costs...

        (1) I suppose it is feasible everywhere , but I don't know the details .

        (2) And why you don't consider marrying in Indonesia ? I was in the same situation as you are and decided to marry here ("became" Muslim and married at KUA) .


        http://www.expat.or.id/info/conversiontoislam.html (conversion to Islam)

        http://www.livinginindonesiaforum.or...erwork-amp-fee (KUA , sometimes no need to legalize required documents)

        http://www.livinginindonesiaforum.or...665#post127665 (how to marry at KUA)

        http://www.livinginindonesiaforum.or...y-and-religion (marrying in Bangkok)

        http://www.livinginindonesiaforum.or...nt-religion%29 (marry in Singapore , how)

        http://indonesian-mixed-marriages.bl...and-costs.html (marry in Singapore , how)
        Last edited by marcus; 01-05-18, 08:54.

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        • #5
          Cheers for the useful threads!

          Originally posted by marcus View Post
          (2) And why you don't consider marrying in Indonesia ? I was in the same situation as you are and decided to marry here ("became" Muslim and married at KUA) .
          I have surely considered it. It's not an absolute no-no, however I'm not particularly keen on having myself legally on record as a Muslim (or anything else).

          Off the top of my head, for two main reasons. First being that I object in principle to the state forcing religious conversion (since 1974) to facilitate what's a personal matter between a man and a woman. In obvious partiality to Islamic doctrine, since e.g. Hindus and Buddhists should have no objection to interfaith marriage. Rakai Pikatan (Hindu) and Pramodhawardani (Buddhist) who inaugurated Prambanan and Borobodur spring to mind as an epic example. We hail "Bhinneka Tunggal Ika" as the nation's motto, but not when it comes to marriage...

          Second being concerns over the possible impact on "officially Muslim" people by Indonesia's future legislation, should hard-line Islamic political parties gain still more foothold and influence in the affairs of the nation and the private lives of its residents. If that were to happen we could of course always just leave the country, but I'd rather simply tick off these sorts of matters from my list of concerns, if there's an easy-enough workaround.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Pade Pandai View Post
            (1) ... I object in principle to the state forcing religious conversion (since 1974) to facilitate what's a personal matter between a man and a woman. In obvious partiality to Islamic doctrine, ...

            (2) ... concerns over the possible impact on "officially Muslim" people by Indonesia's future legislation, should hard-line Islamic political parties gain still more foothold and influence in the affairs of the nation and the private lives of its residents ...

            It is normal people having his/her own opinion . About your points , this is what I think :

            (1) I heard somewhere that the idea behind not allowing interfaith marriage was because the legislators thought this situation would not result in a harmonious marriage .
            Anyway , I was not forced to convert . I had other options but the one I took was the cheapest/simplest (I hate wasting money) .

            (2) I am in Indonesia almost 20 years and I don't believe in any bad impact on Muslim's people due to future legislation . Any new/revision of Law/Regulation usually take a long time from its draft until its approval/implementation , so a lot of time to leave Indonesia , if the case .

            In Indonesia , Instead of a bad thing happening to Muslims , I think it is more probable (but still very improbable) having a bad thing happening to non-Muslims (not due to legislation , but due to individuals' behavior) . Usually religious minorities (# or any kind of minorities in general) are the ones to be more vulnerable to oppression , like what happened recently to Rohingya people (Muslim minority group in Burma/Myanmar) .

            # except the "bules" in Indonesia , when referring to friendship
            Last edited by marcus; 06-01-18, 12:33.

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            • #7
              Hong Kong is an easy place for foreign couples to get married in, they don't ask about religion, and it needn't be that expensive if you fly budget and use Air BnB for accommodation.

              All the wedding info is on the HK government's website, but ask me if you have any specific questions.
              And the young people ask, what are they marching for? And I ask myself the same question.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Tudor View Post
                Hong Kong is an easy place for foreign couples to get married in, they don't ask about religion, and it needn't be that expensive if you fly budget and use Air BnB for accommodation.

                All the wedding info is on the HK government's website, but ask me if you have any specific questions.
                That's useful information Tudor and I hope it can be a sticky for others to read in future.

                My Indonesian wife and I married in Hong Kong, when we both worked there for an airline, and next day came to Jakarta and married again in a Protestant church. I don't have any religion so I must have accepted being a Protestant.
                I cannot remember much as it was all done in an alcohol-induced fuzziness and, last week, according to my angry wife 'coz I'd forgotten the date, happened 31 years ago...

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                • #9
                  I am trying to work out a marriage with my long time Indonesian girlfriend. Not even engaged yet, but trying to sort it out. We met in Taiwan and I'm American. Anyway, I was thinking about this and she said if we get married in Indonesia, I'd have to convert. I have about the same opinion on this matter as the OP. I'm not particularly religious at all and just don't care to convert to anything. Also, not to sound Islamaphobic or anything, but I am also concerned, particularly with the current administration of the US, that I might end up on some kind of watch list or something simply for doing so.

                  That being said, given my status as an American citizen, I know that from where we are in Asia that Guam is the closest American territory. I have looked into the K-1 visa and it seems like a rather complicated process. So my question becomes:

                  Would it be easier to just get married in HK? Would I obtain any advantages for getting married in the US instead?

                  Seems like it's a real crapshoot getting this figured out. Getting married in a 3rd party country would be a complicated matter and require paperwork in two countries later on. Up front, getting married in the US would be a complicated process, but would then only require getting it recognized in Indonesia.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by el_duderino View Post
                    (a) ... I am also concerned, particularly with the current administration of the US, that I might end up on some kind of watch list or something simply for doing so.

                    (b) Would it be easier to just get married in HK?

                    (c) Would I obtain any advantages for getting married in the US instead? ...

                    (d) Getting married in a 3rd party country would be a complicated matter and require paperwork in two countries later on. Up front, getting married in the US would be a complicated process, but would then only require getting it recognized in Indonesia.

                    (a) I understand your concern . I am not an US citizen but from what I know , discrimination is illegal in USA , right ? And as far as I know , almost every rich country is/will be spying on everybody . I guess we all need to be careful about expressing our opinions publicly/online/thru fone , isn't it ? By the way , in Indonesia a woman who criticized a hospital in email to friends was prosecuted (see details here : http://indonesianlawadvisory.com/ila...e%20Prita.aspx)

                    (b) I guess that in Thailand it is cheaper than in HK . http://www.livinginindonesiaforum.or...y-and-religion (marrying in Bangkok)

                    (c) I think it is relatively easy to register a marriage in most countries (in Indonesia it is a little bureaucratic , requires registering it in an Indonesian Embassy in the country where you marry , then in the Indonesian city's Register Office/Kantor Catatan Sipil - and in addition Indonesian Immigration may ask you to register it in your country too , if you request an Indonesian residence permit sponsored by your Indonesian spouse) .
                    Last edited by marcus; 01-05-18, 10:39.

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                    • #11
                      Sounds like the K-1 visa process can be very lengthy and has a lot of steps. Not sure what advantages I gain for getting married in the US anyway. anyone have any idea?

                      That's unfortunate to hear about the lack of free speech in Indonesia. It is very clear their judiciary system is completely corrupt and incompetent, as I have followed the Neil Bantleman story for about the last three years or so.

                      I am going to check out Thailand vs. HK. My girlfriend can travel to either of those countries visa free. Might consider HK since I have some friends there.

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                      • #12
                        There was a really long detailed thread on here from a member who got married in Bangkok - do a search and you might find it. Quite frankly, it sounded like a pain in the butt having to get everything translated into Thai and dealing with the bureaucracy there (not to mention the Indonesian embassy).

                        HK was an absolute breeze and it needn't be that expensive if you watch your costs.
                        And the young people ask, what are they marching for? And I ask myself the same question.

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