My 2 Cents On The Saudi Marriage Process

By Om Lujain
25 July 2010

Many people are probably aware that in order for a Saudi National to get married to a Non-Saudi national they need a permission paper stating that they are allowed to get married to their prospective spouse. The process can be shortand sweet (with proper Vitamin W -Wasta- Connections), or can be a never ending dilemma where the marriage occurs abroad and where kids are in the picture well before the permission is granted- IF its even granted.

There are many reasons for this process such as; to force Saudis to marry Saudis to avoid ‘spinsterhood’ , this is amongst the biggest reasons people object to such marriages. Another reason is that many in Saudi believe that marrying a foreigner is not as noble as marrying a local from a notable tribe (think business merger). For that reason it may be hard for someone to marry a foreigner without getting some family member firmly against it. In Saudi, it is not only your nuclear family you worry about, it is your extended family and at times your entire tribe. Some other reasons could be that many believe that bringing in ‘foreign’ or ‘western’ influence to Saudi will have negative influence on society, and in essence take away from true Saudi culture; the same people that will easily travel to the ‘West’ yearly or several times a year once vacation time comes around.

While chatting with my sister yesterday, something new dawned upon me. Maybe, just maybe the marriage permission process is also a way to safeguard foreign woman from some Saudi men. I mean really, some Gulf men are known to play around with a poor girl abroad and come home and marry someone that was already chosen for them. I know there are probably people sitting there disagreeing with me, but let me just make what I am saying clear.

There are many men around that want to marry a foreign girl, I am not just saying Saudi, as the example I can think of has to do with a Non-Saudi Gulf national. No names to be mentioned though. A Gulf national has met a foreign girl, and wants to marry her. He has no job, and lives off his family. He is already divorced, and the girls friends are pretty sure that he just wants to play around with her, and then just divorce her when the time comes. This is where the Saudi marriage permission would have helped her. A Man needs to be 100% sure he truly wants to marry the woman he has chosen, I mean truly, want her as his wife. He needs to go through a tough process to have her allowed to even enter the country as his wife. He may have to set aside many days/weeks/months completely focusing on obtaining this marriage permission; something he would only do for someone he truly cares about and has no foreseeable intention to divorce after having his ‘fun’ with her. He will be showing his family and country ahead of time that this woman he has chosen is noble in his eyes, and surely lives up to his idea of what he wants as a wife, and as the mother of his children. He has to stand before his family and firmly state his intention to marry this foreign woman, and bring her into his family. So under the Saudi permission process, I have finally found something i find positive; it has given the foreign woman a piece of mind that her husband really loves her enough to go through this process, and will hopefully stay devoted to her for many years and hopefully a lifetime to come.

Anyhoo, that was my 2 brand spanking new cents on the topic, and would love to wish you all a good night from Rio-KSA 🙂

PS- While searching for a picture to add to this blog post, I came across this interesting article, and thought I would share it; Why Emirati men marry Foreign women.

Photo Credit: Gulf News


Published by

Tara Umm Omar

American married to a Saudi.

8 thoughts on “My 2 Cents On The Saudi Marriage Process”

  1. >Though your outlook is interesting.. I find it amusing how you label foreign women as victims of Arab men. You find players in all nationalities.. We're all victims to the games men play.From my knowledge and experience, it also is there to protect SAUDI women from FOREIGN men. Whether the stereotype is true or not, when people view Saudi's they view them all as rich people with oil in their yards. Hence, a lot of foreign men marry Saudi women for their money. The government then has to deal with distraught Saudi women and angry families demanding the government do something to avenge them when the guy up and leaves with their money.My father is from KSA and married my American mom. She doesn't have citizenship, but I can't see it being a big deal for her not to have citizenship since we, her children, do have citizenship. Its a problem for the foreign husbands of Saudi women because their children will not be recognized as Saudis, so they will not benefit from the benefits of being Saudi, like obtaining scholarships for college. In any case, when I was younger, I had no problem with the loops the government made people jump through just to TRY to get citizenship. However, being older now, having lived in the U.S my whole life, and thinking of marriage… It is definitely an annoyance. I want to marry who I want and only have to answer to my family.. I hate the fact that the government makes it so difficult.Side note, I can't tell if you're anti-Saudi or just trying to inform people. Your articles sound dangerously subjective.Maybe I should read around more on your site 🙂


  2. >Ayisha- Thank you for your comment. I did not write this article, it is a re-post by Om Lujain. She is a Saudi-Canadian. I will inform her that you have commented on her article.Be my guest! Read anything you like and as much as you like but please save your final judgement regarding me and FHWS until then 🙂


  3. >Thanks Tara for letting me know about the reply.. :)Ayisha, Firstly I would like to thank you very much for your comment, I do appreciate it. But I would like to clarify, that I am NOT anti-Saudi, I am a daughter of a Saudi Mother who chose to marry a non Saudi, and have relatives that are wonderful Saudis. Even though my nationality is Canadian, I am considered by many more or less a Saudi. So don't fret, I am not anti-Saudi whatsoever. I am additionally married to my Saudi husband, and have 2 lovely Saudi Children and currently pregnant with my third.As for my personal findings on the manner, I still do believe it to be true. I am not saying the marriage process is right, but since its there, we might as well look at the positive side of it. Sadly it is common for many men from the Gulf to study abroad, and chose to have some fun on the side, some may even tell the girl they want to marry them, and will marry them after a long process. My main comment was that under such a case (being Gender neutral here), a foreign man or women can find security that if their prospective Saudi Spouse does truly care for them and want them, they will be ready to go through this long and hard process; again, I am not saying its right.. but it is something that is realistically here, and I don't see them getting rid of it anytime soon.Thanks again for reading my blog post 🙂


  4. >Thank you Om Lujain for taking the time to reply and mabruk on your new pregnancy! May Allah grant you a safe pregnancy/delivery and a healthy baby ameen.I am seeing this happen more frequently on FHWS where the articles I repost from other authors are being mistaken for mine. Just a gentle reminder, please pay attention not only to the content of the article but the author's name, especially if you are going to submit a comment.Just for the record, I am not anti-Saudi either. I take great pains to make sure there is no disrespect towards Saudis and I have zero tolerance for Saudi bashing. I will not go out of my way to prove that I am not anti-Saudi. My goal is to always strive for a balance between positives and negatives on FHWS however it is apparent that there are more negatives than positives when it comes to being married to a Saudi. And if someone pre-judges me as an anti-Saudi based upon the fact that there are more negatives than positives on FHWS then so be it. I know myself and Allah knows my heart and my intentions. I will not stop posting negative articles because the truth needs to be heard, disliked or not.


  5. >You are right Tara, my biggest problem is that people usually jump to someone being Anti-Saudi, merely for disagreeing with some things that occur here. That is not the case, I disagree with MANY things, but would like to see a change for the better, because I actually love this country. If I hated it, I would pack up, leave, not not give a rats behind as to what happens here. It's kind of like the Anti-Patriotic jabs that go around in the US, when someone is against what the government is doing. There will always be differing opinions when it comes to any countries rules and regulations. It is for the people of the country to try to make things change for the better, being silent will NOT make any changes occur, sticking our head in the sand will not make things magically disappear.Anyway Tara, thanks for allowing people to get both sides of the story, at the end of the day, its the individuals own job to take what they have understood and learnt from your blog posts, and make whatever decision they feel will be best for them.Thank you!


  6. >Om Lujain, I appreciate your support of FHWS. I too may dislike some things about Saudi Arabia but this does not automatically make me anti-Saudi. I thought it would be clear regarding my personal position on Saudis and Saudi Arabia on the "About FHWS" page. I have amended that particular page to reflect what I have said in the above comments. I do not mind criticism towards myself or FHWS as long as it is done in a respectful and constructive way. I do not always agree with some of the content in "negative" articles posted on FHWS however I do feel its imperative to relay both sides of the story as you have pointed out. I just wish that Saudis would be more self-critical and accepting of constructive criticism. Allah will not change the condition of a people unless they change it themselves. The first step to change is swallowing pride by acknowledging problems, addressing those problems by actively finding solutions and sticking to them to the best of their abilities.


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