Getting married in Egypt

Are you planning to get married in Egypt? There are several things you need to consider.

Dutch requirements for marrying or entering into a registered partnership

If you are a Dutch national and you wish to marry or enter into a registered partnership you will need to comply with the following requirements:

  • You and your partner must be 18 years or older. If you are under 18 and you marry abroad your marriage will not be recognised in the Netherlands until you are both 18 years old.
  • You and your partner may not already be married to or have a registered partnership with someone else.
  • If you are under guardianship you will need the permission of your guardian or of the limited jurisdiction judge ('kantonrechter').
  • The following family members are forbidden to marry each other or enter into a registered partnership with each other: parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren, and brothers and sisters.

Obtaining permission from the country in which you wish to marry or enter into a registered partnership

Are you planning to marry or enter into a registered partnership abroad? If so, check whether this is permitted under the law of the country in question. To find out, you should consult the foreign authority responsible for conducting marriages and registering partnerships. You cannot marry at a Dutch embassy or consulate abroad.

Documents required for marriage or registered partnership outside the Netherlands

The foreign authority that conducts your marriage or registers your partnership can tell you which documents you require. These may include a copy of your birth certificate and a declaration of marital status

Registering a foreign marriage certificate or certificate of registered partnership

You can register your foreign marriage certificate or certificate of registered partnership in the Dutch register. To do this, contact the municipality of The Hague’s Foreign Document Department.

Legalisation of a foreign marriage certificate or certificate of registered partnership

If you wish to register your foreign marriage certificate or certificate of registered partnership in the Netherlands you will probably first need to have your foreign certificate legalised. This can be done by the authorities in the country where you were married. The Dutch embassy or consulate in that country may then also need to legalise the marriage certificate or certificate of registered partnership. You can find out more about what you need to do in the legalisation information for that country.

Marrying in this country or region

Dutch nationals who are planning to get married in Egypt will have to present several documents to the Egyptian authorities, e.g. a valid residence permit and a ‘certificate of legal capacity to marry'. This certificate is issued by the Netherlands embassy in Cairo.

Points of interest

  • Dutch citizens are advised to obtain professional legal advice from an Egyptian lawyer before getting married. The ceremony and documents to be signed will all be in Arabic it is therefore advised to take a translator with you. 
  • Due to new regulations from the Egyptian government it is obligatory to submit to them a statement stating your religion when you want to get married. The statement should be translated in Arabic. The Netherlands embassy cannot mention your religion in the certificate of not being married, neither can it legalize the above mentioned statement. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Hague can also not legalize a statement of religion or the translation of this document. Please note that Egyptian law only recognizes the following religions: Islam, Christianity and Judaism.   
  • The so-called ‘flitsscheiding’ (a speedy divorce procedure) is in principle not accepted by the Egyptian authorities unless you can get an extract of the Civil Register mentioning the “flitsscheiding” legalized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Egyptian embassy in The Hague (acceptance by the Egyptian authorities of the “flitsscheiding”  is not guaranteed). 
  • Same sex marriages are neither recognized in Egypt.
  • Witnesses at the marriage have to be two men or one woman and two men all of Egyptian nationality.
  • According to Egyptian law a Muslim man can marry a woman who is Muslim, Jewish or Christian. A Muslim woman on the other hand can only marry a man who is Muslim.
  • At the marriage ceremony (and in the marriage contract) the sum of the financial gift by the husband to his wife in case of divorce or death is determined.
  • According to Egyptian law a Muslim man can be married to four wives at the same time. However, according to Dutch law this is punishable law for all Dutch citizens (independent of were the marriage has taken place)
  • A marriage conducted at the Egyptian Civil Register will be recognized by Dutch law.
  • A marriage done in a mosque or church will not be recognized by Dutch law, unless it has been registered in the Egyptian Civil Register. Please note that the date of the registration of the civil marriage is the marriage date recognized in the Netherlands, earlier dates mentioned in the contract will not be taken in to account (for instance with a passport applications of a child)
  • An Orfi marriage is not recognized by Dutch law.
  • An Egyptian husband can stop his wife and children from leaving Egypt by issuing a travel ban. A wife needs permission of the husband to travel alone with their children.
  • Children born from an Egyptian-Dutch couple (even if the Egyptian side also has the Dutch nationality) are considered Egyptian nationals in Egypt.
  • A non Muslim cannot inherit from her/his Muslim spouse. A will can safeguard part of the inheritance.
  • Experience has shown that custody cases before Egyptian courts are in general lengthy procedures. Especially when the mother is of foreign nationality and non-Muslim.
  • In Egyptian law it is relatively easy for a Muslim man to divorce his wife. The divorce takes effect immediately. A woman married to an Egyptian man will have to go to court to file for divorce. Since 2000 it has been possible for a woman to file for divorce without the consent of her husband. This divorce is called a “Khul”. To obtain a divorce in this way the wife forgoes her right to alimony and has to return any money she received as a gift that was mentioned in the marriage contract.

Marriage contract

The ‘certificate of legal capacity to marry' and, if applicable, the copy of the court's decision regarding your divorce, must be legalised by the consular section of the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

You can then take these documents (including passport photos) to the office where the civil wedding is concluded:

Shahr’ Iqari, Minstry of Justice Annex
Lazoghly Square, 4th floor
Down Town, Cairo
Tel.no.: 27956059 / 27958108 / 27957180

It is also possible to get married at the office of the Shahr ’Iqari in Alexandria.

Contact?

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. Please send your questions via the contact form.