This was one of the major things that Scott and I had to figure out prior to getting married but a quick internet search did not really turn up anything detailed enough to be of any help. So I’m writing this now, with as much detail as I can muster, in the hope that it will be of some help to some other person in the future.
But first, a few notes.
1) This blog post is about how to register your marriage in Nepal. It’s not about how to have a wedding there. We already had the wedding by this time.
If you want to read about the things that we considered before we decided on where to get married, I wrote about it here.
2) It took one full day to file the application for a Marriage Certificate. I’m writing about that on this post (Part 1 of a three-part series). And then there was a 2-week waiting time (Part 2) before you can claim the documents (Part 3).
3) This is an account of how we did it, or how it happened for us. This post is specific to us. I cannot speak of other people’s experience on this matter.
4) Scott is Nepali and I am Filipino. But it didn’t seem like the process was any different for us because I was a foreigner. There were other Nepali couples there and they did the same thing we did.
Edited to add: The other Nepali couples there are probably already citizens of other countries. If both parties are Nepali citizens, they can register their marriage with their village secretary. They don’t have to go to the District Administration Office.
5) If you’re not from Kathmandu, you can’t do this in the capital. We had to travel to my husband’s hometown and register our marriage with their local district office.
6) I’m writing this from an outsider’s perspective. My husband tried to explain things to me, and this is just how I understood it.
7) We did this in December 2016. The process might change in the future.
8) The process requires the signatures of the Chief District Administrator (on two occasions) and the Chief of the District Police Office. Nepal is divided into 75 districts, so the District Administrator is one of only 75 people in the entire country. And so is the Police Chief. They’re very important persons. Sometimes they’re out on a meeting, or if they’re in the office, there are many people lining up to see them. So those parts may take a while.
Important things to keep in mind:
1) You will submit photocopies of the requirements, but they need to check the original documents, so bring them with you.
2) Personal appearance is necessary, for both parties. For both filing the application, and claiming the certificate.
3) You will need witnesses (not parents and/or siblings) on two separate occasions – during police verification (in Part 2), and upon claiming of the marriage certificate (Part 3).
Requirements (they’re the same for the local and the foreigner but I’m including notes where relevant)
1) 10 pcs of passport-sized photos.
*A passport-sized photo in Nepal apparently has different dimensions as elsewhere, but the exact size doesn’t seem like something they’re very strict about, as long as the pair of photos are of uniform size.
2) A government-issued document that certifies you’re currently not married to someone else. In the Philippines, this is called a Certificate of No Marriage, issued by the National Statistics Office (NSO). In Nepal, Scott got his in the form of a hand-written letter from their village secretary.
3) An identity card, or something like it. This is straightforward in Nepal. In the Philippines, we don’t have a national ID, so I brought a government-authenticated copy of my birth certificate, also issued by the NSO. It had information such as my name, date and place of birth, and parents’ names and nationalities. (In the Philippines, nationality is acquired by blood so I’m Filipino because my parents are both Filipinos, as indicated in my birth certificate.) I also brought my Philippine passport. I was correct in assuming that both documents, when taken together, would be sufficient substitute for an identity card.
Application Process (Day 1)
1 We went to the local District Administration Office. The rooms were labeled with numbers (instead of names) and the one that we first went to dealt with all kinds of things (at some point they had to attend to two men in handcuffs, with police escort) so for the sake of simplicity, let’s just call it Office 1. There, we showed all our documents. Then the officer manually entered our info into the application form (meaning he wrote down our names, pasted our pictures, and asked us to put our thumb prints onto a piece of paper).
2) He did the same for logbook 1 (which is a record of all marriage registration applications) and logbook 2 (which is a record of everyone he issued a letter to). The aforementioned letter was a cover letter for the application form. It was addressed to the District Police Office, notifying them that the following people (whose photos appear in the enclosed application form) are applying for a marriage certificate. It was basically a letter asking the police to do a background check on us.
3) We had to go and get document stamps from one of the guys selling them outside the office building (cost: ~15 NPR)
4) We went to Office 2 where a person signed his name on each our photos. He verified that the pictures on the form matched the faces of the people who appeared at the office to file the application.
5) We went to Office 3, the office of the Chief District Administrator (VIP #1), to get his signature on the application form. It basically meant we can proceed with our application.
6) We went to Office 4 to leave the application form, and to have the cover letter stamped and stuffed into an envelope, and then sealed. We were to hand carry this letter to the district police office, and this process was to ensure that the letter that we were carrying was official and authentic.
7) We hand carried the letter to the District Police Office. For our district, this was about a 30-minute walk away from the District Administration Office.
8) Scott handed the letter to the policeman at the front desk, and they wrote a second letter while they asked us to wait outside. This second letter said basically the same thing as the first one, but this time from the District Police Office, addressed to the Local Police Office. It’s like the District Police passing along to the Local Police the assignment given to them by the District Administrator. This letter was signed by the Chief of Police (VIP #2) of the District. We were called to his office, he asked a few questions, then signed the letter.
9) We took the letter home with us, and Scott handed it to the Local Police Office the day after. And then they asked us to come back after a few days.