The cost of marriage for Singapore expats
Singapore law permits visiting foreigners to get married when they are in the country. However, these marriages need to be registered with the government as do marriages between a Singapore citizen or permanent resident and an expat.
In fact, all marriages in the country need to follow the steps that the Registry of Marriages, Singapore, has laid down.
Marriage procedure in Singapore
If a marriage is to have legal sanctity, it must follow the specified requirements that have been stipulated.
The first step that is required to be taken is to file a notice of marriage. This is required to be done online. One important rule to remember is that if either the bride or the bridegroom is not a Singapore citizen or a permanent resident of the country, at least one of them must be physically present in Singapore for at least 15 days before filing the notice. This rule is applicable even if both the parties are expats.
You don’t need to stay for a continuous period of 15 days in the country. This period could be the total of the number of days that you have spent in the country over several visits. Just remember that you can’t count the day of arrival in Singapore each time.
What are the documents required for filing a notice of marriage? You will need:
- National Registration Identity Card (NRIC) for citizens and passports for expats. These are required for the bride, the bridegroom, and two adult witnesses.
- A “Solemnizer Consent Form” that has been duly completed. This is applicable only if you intend to solemnize the marriage outside the Registry of Marriages.
You will also need a credit card to pay the marriage fees. This fee is applicable whether you plan to solemnize your marriage at the Registry of Marriages or at an external venue.
Marriage fees payable for:
If the bride or bridegroom is a NRIC holder.
If the bride and bridegroom are both foreigners
Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays
Bear in mind that a minimum notice of 21 days has to be given to the Registry before you can get married.
The next step
After filing your online notice with the Registry of Marriages, you will receive a system-generated appointment date and time for verification of documents. This procedure will take place at the Registry and both the bride and bridegroom are required to be present. Document verification usually takes place one to 14 days prior to the solemnization date.
If the bride or bridegroom is a work permit holder and the other party is a Singapore citizen or a permanent resident, it is mandatory to obtain prior approval from the Ministry of Manpower. The ministry will check whether the marriage contravenes any part of the work permit conditions.
Your marriage must be solemnized within three months of the notice being filed. It is possible to carry out the solemnization process at the Registry of Marriages. For the solemnization process, you will need:
- NRICs/passports of both the bride and the bridegroom
- Two witnesses over the age of 21 years. They must also carry their NRICs/passports.
- Your marriage licence. You would already have paid the fees for this at the time of filing the notice of marriage.
You can also carry the marriage rings that you intend to exchange, although this is not mandatory.
Many couples prefer to have the solemnization ceremony at an external venue. This is permitted under Singapore’s laws, but the solemnization process is required to be conducted by a Licensed Solemnizer. The government periodically issues a list of Licensed Solemnizers.
If you intend to carry out the ceremony at an external venue, it would be necessary for you to invite this person to solemnize your marriage. At the time of accepting your invitation, the Licensed Solemnizer is required to sign on the “Invitation to Solemnize a Marriage” form.
Why would a couple wish to use the services of a Licensed Solemnizer? These individuals are volunteers who belong to different religions. It is, therefore, possible to have your marriage solemnized in a church or a temple. Licensed solemnizers belong to different faiths, including Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism, and Judaism.
Practices that you must adhere to
The solemnization process required to be carried out by law is fairly quick. If it is conducted at the Registry of Marriages, it lasts about five minutes. If held outside, the duration is usually 10 to 20 minutes.
While there is no specific dress code, the bride and the bridegroom are expected to be formally attired. The Registrar or the Licensed Solemnizer may refuse to conduct the ceremony if the couple is unsuitably dressed.
At the end of the solemnization process, the bride, the bridegroom, the two witnesses, and the solemnizer will sign the marriage certificates, a copy of which will be handed over to the bride.