I am a British female who has recently married my Moroccan fiancé in September 2016. I wanted to write a post on an up to date process to help those who are in a similar situation going through the process or planning to get married in Morocco in the future! ☺
We were married in Tinghir on September 30th after travelling back and forth to court in Ouarzazate. It can be a very long and tiring process, if you are not prepared. In total it took us about 10 working days to complete the papers, get the permission and get married. I do believe that we could have done it in less time, had we known about some papers and there were also days where we decided to wait an extra day. However, I know it can often take people a lot longer but the key is preparation and organisation – it can be done within 2/3 weeks if you are patient and organised.
The papers for the marriage need to be dated within a 3 month period to be accepted within Morocco. Both my fiancé and myself prepared the papers that we could prior to me arriving in Morocco.
In the UK the papers you need to get are:
- A birth certificate issued within the last 3 months (this must be a FULL birth certificate – with information of mother and father)
- Letter of employment (stating where I work, start date of employment, working hours and annual salary)
- Payslips for the 3 months before arriving in Morocco to submit the papers
- A UK police check – ensure this is the ACRO police certificate, which can be ordered online. (Mine took around 10 days to arrive upon placing the order).
I had taken copies of these over to Morocco on a prior visit to get translated in preparation to completing the process. If unable to take these over in person, I would suggest emailing/faxing them to your partner to translate prior to arrival, as this usually takes a couple of days.
There are a number of different documents that your fiancé will need too. He can contact the local court or an adoul and they will be able to provide a list of the documents. They include: a copy of identity card, updated birth certificate, police check, capacity to marry (single status), medical check. My fiancé needed the medical check and 2 witnesses in order to get the capacity to marry paper, so it is important to begin planning these papers in advance otherwise it can add extra time to the process.
The papers you will then need to get whilst in Morocco:
- Medical check
- Police check from Morocco – Ministry of Justice (Rabat)
- Capacity to Marry – British Embassy (Rabat)
- Certificate of Nationality – British Embassy (Rabat)
We were also asked for a certificate of religion for me when we presented our papers at the court. We completed this in Arabic and had it certified, so it may be worthwhile to also prepare this paper, as I believe some courts do still require it. (The paper we prepared just stated my name, date of birth, passport number and that I am of Christian faith).
Make sure that you book an appointment at the British embassy for marriage online in advance. They only have appointments on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s. I recommend doing this a few weeks in advance to ensure you get an appointment!
Make sure you also have a number of photocopies of your different papers also – the original documents and the translated versions and have these with you at all times. We did 5 copies of everything. We also got 8 passport size photographs each.
Below is our experience:
I had arrived in Marrakech over the weekend and we stayed here for a number of days whilst completing further documents. This day we picked up the papers that we had previously submitted for translation (police check, employment letter, birth certificate). We also then went to a local clinic and requested a medical check. The doctor just asked if I had any medical problems, then wrote a paper to say there was nothing wrong with my health! This cost us 250 MAD, make sure that you take your passport when getting the certificate.
We caught the 4:45 train to Rabat from Marrakech. We arrived in Rabat by around 9:30. First – we went to the Ministry of Justice to request a Moroccan police check. I had to go in alone as fiancé’s are made to wait outside. I went inside and was given a form in French to complete – basic details, passport number, mother/father names etc. I then sat and waited before I was called to a desk, I gave the form and a copy of my passport and was given a card saying to come back at 3pm.
11:30 – we had our appointment in the British Embassy. We filled in a couple of forms and were then given the 2 documents we needed. This took 30 minutes.
From the Embassy – straight to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We were given a ticket, and we were both allowed in together. We sat downstairs and a man came in calling out numbers, once they call your number you head upstairs. Once again you wait, they call your number and then you go to a desk where the clerk stamps your papers. It was all finished within about 15 minutes.
3pm – headed back to the Ministry of Justice. Took the card they gave earlier and also a 10DH stamp, which can be bought from a shop just around the corner. Went inside, waited until being called and then collect your paper from the ladies at the desk, and get it stamped by the police officer at another desk.
We then headed to a nearby fax shop in order to fax the documents to the translator that we use, so we were able to pick them up the next day. All finished by 3:30pm and we got the next train back to Marrakech.
Collected our translated papers from the day before at 12. We then made photocopies of all of these (original and translated version). We then made the long 8 hour bus ride to Tinghir.
The nearest court to Tinghir is Ouarzazate, another 2 hour journey! Went to submit our papers at the court. Was told all of my papers were correct and good to go. However, they requested that my fiancé got another 2 papers – a paper to state where he is currently living and that he is single (despite already having a number of papers stating this!!). Back to Tinghir to complete these papers.
My fiancé headed back to the court the next day with the papers in order to try again. This time was told that I needed the certificate of religion. Myself and my fiance’s father completed this paper in Tinghir and faxed it to the court in Ouarzazate. Papers then submitted, given an envelope to be taken to the Criminal court. Taken there and signed by the representative of the King, then given an envelope to take to the police.
Went to the police first thing and gave them the envelope. This is easier if you have connections, which we were lucky in that my fiance’s father knew the head of the police in Tinghir. The only things they asked me was the name of the company I worked for, when I started work and the last time that I visited Morocco. They then prepared a paper that they said would be sent to the court the next morning.
TUESDAY – we decided to wait a day for the papers to arrive to ensure that we hadn’t wasted another journey to Ouarzazate!
Went first to the Criminal court, they had received the papers from the police. Gave us a paper to take to the family court. Back to the family court, was told that the judge was not there today. Gave us 2 papers to fill in and said they would get it signed by the representative of the court. Went back at 3pm, the clerk had given the representative the Moroccan marriage papers to sign and had forgotten to give the mixed marriage papers to sign! (Very frustrating!!!). Waited to see if the representative would come back to sign our paper, however he was not able to.
Try again – my fiancé went back to the court the next morning. Received our permission to marry signed and stamped by the judge around 10am.
Went to the adoul and completed the marriage! All finished!
The marriage certificate has then been sent back to the court to certify – once again this may a few weeks for it to be ready. It is hard work but persevere as it all pays off and is so worth it once you are married. Good luck to those of you who are completing this process - if you have any questions feel free to ask I just hope this post will be able to help someone and to understand that it is not always a lengthy, difficult process ☺