How To Marry Your Foreign Partner In Malaysia
I have been getting many messages, emails, and DMs on how to marry your foreign partner in Malaysia. Since the journey is still fresh on my mind, I would like to share our experience. My husband is from Perth, Australia and I am born & raised from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We met in university, fell in love, went through a long distance relationship, he proposed and we got married! After my husband proposed, I searched the whole internet on how to marry a foreigner in Malaysia. I wanted to be well-prepared with information, so when I tell Don (my wonderful husband) what he has to do, he won’t be shocked. I didn’t want him to be hounded by questions at the embassy, immigration, any government offices, especially at JAWI/JAIS. Sadly, I couldn’t find ANYTHING about Malaysian Muslims women/men marrying a foreigner. Now that we have crossed the bridge. I want to share my journey!
Before you read our experience and the journey we went through, you have to accept the fact that, the process is time-consuming and it requires a lot of form filling (Good to have a nice pen handy!) I had a close friend who married an Australian close to the time I was researching, she was fuming over the time they spent running around KL getting the forms done. Thanks to her, I was able to mentally prepare myself! SO BE PREPARED TO SPEND 2-10 days getting your paperwork done.
01 GO TO JAWI (Jabatan Agama Wilayah Persekutuan)
I figured that since they’re the one who I need to ask for “permission” to marry, they must have all the answers. When you get to the JAWI office, you will need to get a number and wait for your turn. When it came to my turn. I told the man behind the counter my situation (a Malaysian wanting to marry a foreigner in Malaysia) and he explained what I needed to do to get my forms ready. You will be given TWO forms. A PURPLE form for the women. A BLUE form for men. Filling up the forms is pretty straight forward – name, address, where are you getting married details and etc. From here, I planned out what we needed to do with the information JAWI gave me.
- My home address is in KUALA LUMPUR, JAWI is where I go to deal with any Islamic affairs. If you live OUTSIDE Kuala Lumpur, your go-to place is JAIS (Jabatan Agama Islam Negeri Selangor).
- Ladies, please cover your head when you go to JAWI.
- Parking is a b i t c h, best to go with someone who can drop you off and wait in the car.
- The blue and purple forms are the SAME. The colors are to differentiate men and women.
02 GET HIS CERTIFICATE OF NO-IMPEDIMENT (CNI)
This step is to let the Australian High Commission in Malaysia know that there is an Australian getting married to a Malaysian in Malaysia, also to verify that the Australian mentioned is not legally married in Australia and is free to marry the Malaysian (ME!). Don could’ve have gotten this document (the single statutory declaration, it’s the same thing as CNI) in Australia. But we would still need to get it endorsed at the Australian High Commission in Malaysia. I decided to get it ALL done in Malaysia where I can control the situation (if anything were to happen).
I called their hotline to book an appointment. We went to the High Commission, submitted our forms/passport and in less than 20 minutes, we got our piece of paper! We paid AUD90 (if I’m not mistaken) for the form.
03 GO TO WISMA PUTRA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
We had to get the CNI endorsed by Wisma Putra. I think this step is to let the ministry know that a foreigner is getting married to a Malaysian. They need to endorse the CNI from the Australian High Commission to make sure it’s a legit piece of paper.
1. You have to pay RM25 to get this paper endorsed.
04 WE WENT TO THE IMMIGRATION (at Publika)
We had to apply for “PERMOHONAN PENGESAHAN PAS BAGI TUJUAN PERKAHWINAN WARGANEGARA ASING“. This form gives your foreigner fiancé the permission/a social visit pass to get married in Malaysia. We had a lot of trouble with this form, partly due to the lack of information. We found out that we can only submit the forms THREE MONTHS before the wedding date. Twice Don came up to Malaysia to do the forms, twice we were told to come back. The thing about this form, it takes SEVEN WORKING DAYS for you to get the approval letter. Once you submit this form, you cannot go out of the country. If you go out from Malaysia, your pass is invalid and you have to resubmit.
Our wedding was on the 7th January 2017. Don arrived in Malaysia on the 26th of December 2016. In between those dates, there were so MANY public holidays, we had no time to wait for the SEVEN WORKING DAYS standard operating procedure. When we submitted the forms – I gave them my wedding card as proof that our wedding is VERY SOON. We managed to get our approval forms in 4 working days!
TIP: Go EARLY. The office opens at 8 am, but people will start queuing up as early at 6.30am to get the number. If you’re early, you can get things done by 9 am. Don’t go on a Monday after a long weekend!
05 WE WENT TO SEE THE USTAD AT THE MOSQUE NEAR MY HOUSE
By now, you should have filled out the blue and purple forms from JAWI/JAIS. Before you submit your forms to JAWI/JAIS, You need to go to see the Ustad at the mosque closest to your house to verify your documents. He is the person to vet through your documents before you submit them to JAWI/JAIS. It’s usually this guy who will be your TOK KADI. In my case, my parents decided to go with an Ustad from JAWI because he does ceremonies in English.
1. Your wali (the person who is going to marry you) has to be present. My dad was my wali, so my parents came along.
2. Your husband-to-be also needs to be present to sign the forms.
06 SUBMITTING THE FORMS TO JAWI
Okay, this part I am a little unsure because my parents went to JAWI to submit the papers on our behalf and they wanted to see the TOK KADI to clarify a few details. From what my mother told me, they submitted the forms to the Ustad, my father and him signed the forms and he will bring the submitted forms on the wedding day.
1. You have to pay RM25 to submit your papers
SIMULTANEOUSLY… while doing all your forms, you also need to the below
01 KURSUS KAHWIN (WEDDING COURSE)
This is a compulsory and the one of the most important steps to get married in Malaysia for Malaysian Muslims. Lucky for your foreign fiancé, it is NOT compulsory for them to do the course. There are English courses for those interested, again it is not compulsory for them. I did mine in Taman Tun Dr Ismail Masjid At-Taqwa. The lady (Kak Ana) who runs the kursus kahwin was so helpful in answering my queries. I recommend TTDI if you’re looking to do your kursus kahwin.
1. I paid RM120 for the course.
2. It’s a two-day course over a weekend. Food + books supplied.
02 TAKE YOUR HIV TEST
This is also another compulsory step! We did ours at Klinik Kesihatan Tanglin. The whole process took us less than 40 minutes (including waiting for the results). I paid RM1 and Don had to pay RM100 (foreigner tax). Your fiancé can do this test in their home country but will need it to get it endorsed at a government clinic in Malaysia before submitting the forms.
- You can only do the HIV test at a government clinic in Malaysia
- The test is only valid for 6 months (for marriages)
- Go early to the clinic because they only do 20 tests a day
Don’t get intimidated or scared by the process. Take it as an adventure for both your fiancé and you. Malaysia has seen many interracial marriages, so don’t be scared to ask questions whenever you are unsure. I went to the immigration many times to ask. I called up the Australian High Commission so MANY times until the lady knew my name.
If you have any questions, do comment below and I’ll do my best to answer them for you!
Read more about our marital journey here