Saudi Marriage Permission Procedures

By Tara Umm Omar

Updated on 29 July 2012

These are the procedures for a non-Saudi woman marrying a Saudi man. The following information has been derived from my personal experience (as of this date, almost 6 years ago) and that of others who are still going through the process and have successfully completed the procedures. Please be aware that there may be variations in the procedures because each person’s situation and circumstance is unique. I have tried to incorporate all of the relevant steps but if you think there is something I omitted please feel free to leave a comment. Thank you!

1. Submission: Apply for the Saudi marriage permission at the Emarah in your city and at some point you will have to go to the Ministry of Interior (MOI) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Husband is given a file number which he must track continuously. That means the husband should inquire about his file IN PERSON every week or as often as possible. I wish that I could tell you to call but a lot of people have complained that they got little or no information in this way. Unless you know and trust an official working in the MOI, not much progress is made over the phone. If the husband “walks” the file through this will not give them a chance to avoid him over the phone and saying their infamous line “Bukra insha’Allah” (tomorrow insha’Allah) which is unfortunately an empty promise for those who take it lightly.

1. Documents to be submitted:  It is better to personally inquire as to which documents are needed by the husband and the wife. To get an idea of what may be required, see this page.

2. Interview: Some husbands may have to be interviewed about their file and explain why they are marrying a non-Saudi and why they can’t marry a Saudi. They may be asked to bring two witnesses to the interview.

3. Approval: If the husband is 35 and over then approval will be quicker insha’Allah. If a Saudi man has been divorced from a Saudi woman or widowed and can provide proof of the divorce/death of his spouse, then this also facilitates approval insha’Allah. It has also been reported that if a Saudi man has an illness or physical disability (proven by medical records) which makes him an unlikely candidate as a husband for a Saudi woman then he can easily marry a foreign woman insha’Allah. If he falls under any of the exception qualifications, he may be required to submit an exception request with proof(s) in conjunction with the marriage permission application.

4. Marriage: Once your marriage permission is approved then the next step is to decide which country you want to get married in. You must inquire about the marriage laws of that country, whether it be Islamic or secular. Once you have fulfilled all of the qualifications to get married in the country of your choice then you can need to submit the documents to a Saudi Embassy and follow their instructions regarding finalizing the process.

5. Visa: If you are not living in Saudi Arabia this final step involves submitting more paperwork to the Saudi Embassy of your respective country IF you want to reside in Saudi Arabia or visit Saudi Arabia. If the husband is in Saudi Arabia then he must apply for the visas at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with proof such as the marriage permission, marriage certificate and any other documents they require from him, as the kafeel (sponsor). He will be given a reference number and date of the visa which the wife should include with her paperwork that needs to be forwarded to the Saudi Embassy. This is because the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has the authority to issue/renew/extend visas only and it is the Saudi Embassy’s responsibility to stamp passports.

6. Iqamah: After you arrive in Saudi Arabia, your husband will have to go to the Passport Office and transfer your visa over to an iqamah before the visa expires. You will have to take another medical for the iqamah (besides the one done in your country in order to receive a visa).

7. Family Card: In order to place you on the family card, the husband must go to the Ministry of Exterior and get the marriage certificate stamped (condition is that it must already be stamped (authenticated) by the Saudi Embassy.

8. Rejection: Reasons vary (sometimes without justification).

9. Please note that there is a SR100,000 Fine For Violators Of New Marriage Law


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Tara Umm Omar

American married to a Saudi.

13 thoughts on “Saudi Marriage Permission Procedures”

  1. >You can go to the Saudi Embassy and ask them for a medical form and take it to your doctor to perform the tests. You can also print out the medical form on the Saudi Embassy’s website. Hope this helps.


  2. >Popenvapeur,I’m sorry I don’t have the answer to that question. The Ministry Of Foreign Affairs does not differentiate between Saudi men and women in its online procedures of the marriage permit. The starting point to ask this information would be for the Saudi woman to inquire directly with the Ministry Of Interior for specific instructions since this is where she will have to apply for the permission in the first place.


  3. >I wonder whether there’s anything similar to the American K1 visa in the Saudi Arabia, so a woman could arrive and marry a Saudi man on his country’s territory? I ask this question specifically in regards of the so-called Russian mail order brides who look for marriage abroad through getting listed with an online matchmaker/marriage agency.


  4. >Matchmaker,Unless the Saudi has a wasta, I doubt this can be done. I would suggest you advise all Saudi applicants and your Russian clients regarding Ministry Of Interior’s marriage permission procedures found on this blog.


  5. >Salaam AleykumI was wondering if you know, whether there is any chance getting permission, through the official way of the ministry, without wasta, if the husband and wife are both well under 35?Or is this so minimal, it's not even worth trying.Thanks.


  6. >Wa alaikum salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhGovernment officials and Saudi students studying abroad on scholarships are ineligible. If none of those apply, if the man has been divorced from a Saudi and can prove it…maybe there is a chance. Otherwise you can apply and see what happens. Sometimes there is a blatant disregard for rules and nobody goes by the book. Paperwork being approved or passed through all the processes can depend on the person and his mood. Above all else, don't forget that the power rests with Allah and success comes only through Him. So make istikhara, lots of du'a, trust in Allah, tie your camel and be patient with the results.


  7. >me and my boyfriend want to marry here in saudi we are from other country,we both have different nationality and we are just working here,my question is how we will process our papers for marriage and the papers needed,me jana


  8. >Anonymous in Saudi–Thank you for your comment. I am not sure I fully understand. Just so others are clear too, would it be accurate to say:You and your boyfriend are both non-Saudis, and working in Saudi. You want in formation on the marriage process for you and what papers you would need.Please correct that understanding if it is wrong.My immediate response would be: get married legally and if you are muslim Islamically in another country while on vacation, and then make sure you have your iqama's updated to show that you are married to each other so that you can live together. Be certain of the legality for you of living together conjugally in Saudi before you try to do so, especially off a compound.I hope others will comment here and correct me if I am wrong, as well as fill in with more information.Thanks again for commenting.


  9. >Anonymous- Welcome to the blog and thank you for commenting. I think you should each visit the respective embassies of your countries in Saudi Arabia to inquire about marrying within Saudi Arabia and marrying an individual with a different nationality here.The boyfriend should also visit a marriage court and the passport office in the city he's located to get the requirements for marrying in Saudi Arabia for non-Saudi citizens and visa/iqamah information.If at all possible, please identify your country names so we can give you better advice.


  10. >Assalamualaikum….Dear Tara, i read ur blog and it helping me a lot at least for now mentally. How can i contact u and ask ur advise about everything regarding marrying a saudi. i want to know all the update. if it not to ur email then kindly to tell me how i can communicate with u. Thank u Tara, Allah bless uWassalam, (Jo)


  11. >Jo- Wa alaikum salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh. It makes me feel good that FHWS is of help to you alhamdulillah. You can contact me at taraummomar at gmail dot com. I look forward to helping you further to the best of my ability insha'Allah. May Allah bless you as well ameen.


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