JEDDAH: The Ministry of Justice now gives marriage officers in the Kingdom the power to hold home-based marriage contracts for expats, just like Saudi citizens, after it was previously limited to the courts.
On Thursday, Dec. 29, Jeddah witnessed the first marriage contract for “non-Saudis” from their homes and the picture of the documented contract by a legal marriage officer went viral on social media networks. One spouse holds Jordanian nationality.
This decision will facilitate procedures of marriages to expats and will take into account the social and humanitarian dimension.
The Ministry of Justice pointed out that it will reduce the flow of couples to the courts, where it used to require the presence of the non-Saudi and the spouse in the court to sign the agreement of the marriage contract, in addition to the presence of the wife’s guardian (her father) and the witnesses.
The service is available in the personal status courts in Riyadh and Madinah in this initial stage. It will extend to 14 other personal status courts in other areas, namely, the courts of Makkah, Jeddah, Buraidah, Dammam, Taif, Tabuk and Al-Ahsa, as well as the general courts in Alkhobar, Hafr Al-Batin, Najran, Al-Kharj and Abha.
The service will initially be for non-Saudis who speak Arabic.
Ibraheem Al-Shareef a Saudi legal marriage officer told Arab News: “This permission is given to specific marriage officers under certain conditions where they get a book of contracts to document the expats’ marriage contracts from their homes.”
Petitions for a marriage contract for expats used to be submitted via a form at the court or through the electronic service to register an appointment for a marriage contract in court.
Petitions can now be easily submitted to the marriage officer. “It is important to have a valid Iqama ID, also the presence of the wife’s guardian, in case if she was divorced a divorce contract should be there,” Al-Shareef said.
“No fees are specified to be given to the marriage officer; it is optional,” he added.
Courts will only issue marriage contracts for Saudis in case one of the spouses is a Saudi citizen and the other is not. The matter requires obtaining a marriage permit to ensure that the conditions are met.