If you are planning to get married in Qatar, here is an overview of formalities you have to fill in as a foreigner.
Qatar is primarily a Muslim country. But foreigners of different nationalities can still get married there is they wish. In general, foreign marriages in the country are subject to a number of formalities and conditions, but these should not be complicated if you have sought related information beforehand and you have all required documents.
Marriage procedures in Qatar mainly depend on both future spouses' nationality and religion. Thus, you are advised to inquire about any specific formality with the Qatari embassy or consulate in your home country.
Good to know:
Living together without being married is strictly forbidden in Qatar, just like single motherhood and homosexuality.
The marriage of two people of the same religion is permitted. The marriage of Qatari men to non-Qatari women can be conducted with the Marriage Committee's authorization. However, the marriage between a Qatari or Muslim woman and non-Muslim man is prohibited, unless the latter converts to Islam. However, the reverse is not possible.
Marriage formalities vary according to different nationalities. Therefore, it is best to inquire directly with your embassy or consulate in Qatar if you are already on the spot. In general, the couple has to obtain a certificate of capacity to marry. In some cases, you are required to publish your intention to get married at the nearest municipality to your place of residence in your home country for at least two to three weeks. Once this step is accomplished and without objection, your certificate of capacity to marry will be issued in the following weeks.
Documents to be produced are your birth certificate, your passport, a divorce or widowhood certificate in case of a previous marriage, among others. This applies to both partners. Note that fees apply.
Furthermore, all couples intending to get married in Qatar are required to undergo a medical screening examination so as to determine their genetic compatibility. This is a measure introduced by the Supreme Council of Health to combat genetic risks following the marriage.
In most cases, foreign couples in Qatar perform civil marriage ceremonies at the embassy or consulate only. However, they should meet there country's civil and religious requirements. Note, however, that the Christian wedding is deemed to be the only legal way to get married in Qatar.
Celebrating your wedding
You can get married once you have obtained your certificate of capacity to marry. The marriage can take place in two types of churches in Doha: the Anglican Church or the Catholic Church, provided one of the two partners is Christian or Catholic. In the case of the Anglican Church, you are required to produce your capacity to marry certificate, a copy of your passport and your visa, birth certificate and fees that apply.
The presence of two witnesses is compulsory during the marriage.
If you chose to get married in the Catholic Church, you will first have to attend marriage preparation courses. An attendance certificate will then be issued. Once this has step has been completed, you are required to give a three months advance notice to the Church for the marriage preparations. The following documents will have to be produced:
- your marriage preparation course certificate
- a copy of your passport and visa
- your certificate of capacity to marry
- your baptismal certificate
- your confirmation certificate
- your capacity to marry certificate issued by the Catholic Church.
Registering your marriage
Once the wedding has been celebrated in the Church, you will receive a marriage certificate which has to be transcribed in Arabic. You will then have to register it with the Qatari Ministry of Justice. Thereafter, this document will be certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Note that the Church can also handle these procedures on your behalf for you against payment, or else provide you with free advice.
Once you have completed these formalities, you can register your marriage from your embassy or consulate in Qatar. However, it is not a mandatory procedure for all nationalities.
Muslim marriages are held at the Sharia Court. However, marriages between men of Muslim faith and Christian or Catholic women are not permitted. On the other hand, marriage between Qatari and non-Qatari must be approved by the Marriage Committee so that it can take place at the Sharia Court.
Note that wedding ceremonies in Qatar are rather formal. The bride's father, as well as two witnesses, have to be present. The bride's father must give its approval to his daughter's marriage, either in person or through a letter. If the bride is fatherless, her guardian can officially assume this responsibility by producing his ID.