>New Curbs On Saudis Marrying Foreigners

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NEW CURBS ON SAUDIS MARRYING FOREIGNERS
Saudi Gazette, Friday, March 22, 2002
RIYADH (AFP)

The Saudi Cabinet has approved a charter barring a long list of top civil servants and security officials from marrying foreigners without permission from King Fahad, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, Al-Watan reported Thursday.

The daily said the list includes ministers, judges, employees in the Royal Court and Cabinet, diplomats and administrative staff in the Foreign Ministry and civil servants posted overseas.

It also includes staff of the Defense Ministry, National Guard, internal security, intelligence service, public prosecution and customs.

Saudis who tie the knot with foreigners without prior authorization will no longer qualify for any of these jobs. The restrictions also apply to Saudis studying overseas. Violators risk disciplinary action including sacking and even trial.

Ordinary Saudis must obtain a prior permit from the Interior Minister to marry a foreigner, except if he or she is a citizen of one of the other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states. But ordinary Saudis can tie the knot with non-Saudis born in the Kingdom and who have a legal residence here.

Such non-Saudis, however, must not be from those “unwanted for personal, nationality or religious reasons, including those from faiths not recognized by Islam.”

In the event of violation of the rules, foreign spouses will be denied entry into the Kingdom, and their residence will be revoked if they are living in Saudi Arabia, the paper added.

A previous 1973 rule banned Saudis holding “military or sensitive posts” as well as students studying abroad from marrying foreigners without prior authorization from the Interior Minister.

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Tara Umm Omar

American married to a Saudi.