Getting married in Indonesia

Updated 2022-09-20 21:13

If you have found your soul mate in Indonesia and wish to put a ring on their finger, you should know that the laws on marriage are very particular in this country. Here's an article to help you better understand the rules and conventions around marriages in Indonesia.

Religion is enshrined in the Indonesian way of life. As such, according to local law, only two people who practice the same religion can get married in Indonesia. In fact, a religious marriage certificate is required, without which your union will not be legally acknowledged by the state. This is valid for both citizens and expatriates living in Indonesia.

Therefore, couples who wish to marry in Indonesia must declare their religion beforehand. Furthermore, both bride and groom are not allowed to declare themselves as atheists or agnostics, and if the couple does not share the same religion, one of them must sign a declaration of change of religion.

The Indonesian state recognizes only five religions: Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Catholicism and Protestantism.

Prior to the marriage, it is strongly advised to make a prenuptial agreement indicating whether you wish to marry under a property separation regime or not.

Islamic marriages in Indonesia

As Islam is the official national religion, Islamic marriages (Nikah Siri) in Indonesia are legally binding. Therefore, it is not necessary to perform a civil marriage for the state to recognize such wedlocks. However, this may become a source of problems in other countries, as only civil marriages are recognized elsewhere. In any case, all Islamic marriages must be celebrated by the Kantor Urusan Agama (KUA), the Office of Islamic Affairs. The ceremony can take place in a mosque, a restaurant, a residence or any other place chosen by the couple.

The following documents are required for Islamic marriages:

  • Copy of passport
  • Copy of birth certificate
  • A certificate of non-impediment to marriage, to be requested from the embassy or consulate of your country of origin
  • A copy of the divorce certificate, if applicable
  • Passport photos of you and your fiancé
  • Tax receipt or proof of tax payment (if you work in Indonesia)
  • Copy of your temporary residence permit (ITAS) or visa in Indonesia

All foreign language documents must be translated into Bahasa Indonesian by an official translator.

At the end of the ceremony, a marriage book (Buku Nikah) will be given to the couple. This is a document proving that you are legally united under Indonesian law.

Non-Islamic weddings in Indonesia

In the case of Hindu, Buddhist, Protestant or Catholic weddings, two ceremonies will be required. The first is a religious ceremony, and the second is a civil marriage. The religious ceremony should be performed by an officiant or priest of the religion chosen by the couple. After the religious ceremony, the couple will receive two marriage certificates. The first one will have to be given to the religious authorities concerned, and the second one to the Civil Status Office.

It is strongly advised that you register your religious marriage with the authorities as soon as possible after the ceremony. Otherwise, this could result in serious administrative problems. Once the civil ceremony is completed, you will receive a civil marriage certificate. This is important because a religious marriage that is not formalized by a civil marriage certificate is considered null and void in Indonesia (except in the case of Islamic marriages).

There is normally a 10-day delay between the religious wedding and the civil ceremony. However, it is possible to shorten this period and even obtain your civil marriage certificate directly after the religious ceremony, provided that you pay an additional fee.

The required documents for non-Islamic marriages are the same as for Islamic marriages, except that you will also need to submit a certificate issued by the Indonesian police stating that you intend to get married and that you have not committed any crime in the country. In advance of the wedding, you will also need to fill out a notice of intent to marry at the Civil Registry Office in your area, after which the marriage banns will be published at least 20 days before the date of the ceremony.

Divorce in Indonesia

A divorce in Indonesia can only be granted by a court of law. It is also possible to get a divorce in Indonesia, even if you were married in another country. To file for divorce in Indonesia, one of the parties must meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • be an Indonesian citizen

  • reside in Indonesia at the time of the proceedings

  • have any connection with Indonesia

You should also be aware that divorces are handled differently in Indonesia, depending on the marriage regime. The breakup of marriages performed under the Islamic system must be validated by an Islamic court, while non-Islamic marriages must go through the normal courts of law to be annulled.

Useful links:

Jakarta Office of Islamic Affairs

Marital proceedings in Indonesia

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.