How to Get Married in Bahrain for Expats: A Complete Guide

13 Mar 2024·8 min read
How to Get Married in Bahrain for Expats: A Complete Guide

Deciding to get married in Bahrain can be a big step for expats. Each year, over 6,000 couples say "I do" in this beautiful country. Our guide makes the process straightforward, covering everything from paperwork to cultural traditions.

Let's make your dream wedding come true.

Key Takeaways

  • Expats need to submit a marriage application and provide important documents like passports, residency permits, and No Objection Certificates from their embassies.
  • Civil marriages in Bahrain require couples to follow legal steps, such as submitting specific paperwork to the Ministry of Justice, while religious marriages vary based on faith.
  • To register your marriage in Bahrain, visit the Ministry of Justice and then the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with all required documents for legalization.
  • Hiring a wedding agency can help navigate the process smoothly by dealing with cultural traditions and legal requirements.
  • Same - sex marriages are not recognized in Bahrain; however, polygamous unions are allowed with consent from existing wives.

Requirements for Getting Married in Bahrain

To get married in Bahrain, you need to submit a marriage application and provide the required documents for both parties. Non-Bahraini couples and residents also have specific conditions they must fulfill to legally marry in the country.

Marriage application

Filling out a marriage application is one of the first steps for expats planning to get married in Bahrain. U.S. citizens must submit a No Objection Affidavit for Marriage letter to the Ministry of Justice.

This shows they are free to marry. Couples need this document, along with other required paperwork, to proceed.

The process aims at ensuring all marriages comply with Bahrain's laws and regulations. It helps both foreign nationals and locals get legally married in the country. The Ministry of Justice guides couples on completing their applications correctly, making the journey towards marriage smooth and straightforward.

Required documents for both parties

  1. Each party must provide a valid passport and residency permit, including an original and a copy.
  2. A "No Objection Certificate" from the embassy of the parties' country of citizenship is required.
  3. Original birth certificates for both individuals are necessary, along with official translations if not in Arabic.
  4. The couple must present a certificate of marital status or single - status affidavit from their home country's authorities.
  5. Any divorcees must submit final divorce decrees and legalized translations if not in Arabic.
  6. If widowed, a death certificate of the former spouse is needed, along with its translated copy if it's not in Arabic.

Non-Bahraini couples and residents

Non-Bahraini couples and residents, including expatriates of any nationality, can legally get married in Bahrain by following a straightforward process. The country allows anyone residing within its borders to marry, irrespective of their nationality or religion.

For instance, U.S. citizens seeking to tie the knot in Bahrain need to submit a No Objection Affidavit for Marriage letter to the Ministry of Justice as part of the requirements. With over 6,000 marriages celebrated annually in Bahrain, the marriage laws are inclusive and relatively simple for non-citizens to navigate.

Expats planning to marry in Bahrain should consider both legal and cultural aspects. In addition to fulfilling legal obligations such as payment of dowry by the groom and obtaining consent from both parties, expats should also be mindful of traditional expectations when planning their wedding ceremonies.

Formalities and Ceremonies of Marriage

Performing a civil marriage requires submission of required documents. Couples can also choose to have a religious marriage ceremony in Bahrain.

Civil marriage

Civil marriage in Bahrain allows both expatriates and native Bahrainis to legally wed, regardless of their nationality or religion. The process is straightforward, involving the completion of required paperwork and documentation at the Ministry of Justice.

Additionally, couples must fulfill specific legal requirements, such as a medical fitness test and obtaining consent from both parties. Moreover, the groom must discuss and agree on a dowry with the bride's father before proceeding with the civil marriage.

Furthermore, for U.S. citizens seeking to marry in Bahrain, it is essential to submit a No Objection Affidavit for Marriage letter to the Ministry of Justice. Overall, civil marriages in Bahrain are open to all residents without limitations based on nationality or religious affiliation.

Religious marriage

To have a religious marriage in Bahrain, couples must comply with the requirements and procedures of their specific faith. Islamic marriages, for example, are solemnized at the Sharia court and require documents such as passports, residency permits, and witnesses.

Additionally, non-Muslim couples seeking a religious wedding can do so through churches or other recognized places of worship by following the respective denomination’s guidelines for marriage ceremonies.

It’s important to note that while religious weddings may differ in terms of customs and traditions, they hold legal validity once registered at the Ministry of Justice.

Marriage traditions in Bahrain

Bahraini marriage traditions involve the groom discussing and agreeing on the dowry with the bride's father, which may include gold and jewelry. The process also requires completion of a medical fitness test, payment of dowry by the groom, and obtaining consent from both parties.

Over 6,000 marriages are celebrated annually in Bahrain, where native Bahrainis and foreign nationals can legally get married irrespective of nationality or religion. Additionally, expatriates planning to get married should consider cultural and traditional expectations alongside legal requirements.

Marriage traditions in Bahrain encompass discussions about the dowry between the groom and bride's father along with fulfilling legal requisites such as medical fitness tests, obtaining consent from both parties, and making a dowry payment.

Registering and Legalizing Your Marriage

Register and legalize your marriage by following the procedures at the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bahrain. Learn about obtaining a marriage certificate, attestation, and validity for a smooth process.

Read on to explore essential tips and resources for expats getting married in Bahrain.

Registration at the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Foreign Affairs

To register your marriage in Bahrain, follow these steps:

  1. Submit a No Objection Affidavit for Marriage letter to the Ministry of Justice if you are a U.S. citizen, as per Bahrain's requirements.
  2. Book an appointment at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to have your marriage certificate legalized and attested.
  3. Provide the necessary documents, including passports, residency permits, and any additional required paperwork when registering at both ministries.
  4. Understand that the process may differ based on your nationality and residency status in Bahrain.
  5. Ensure that all paperwork is complete and accurate before submitting it for registration.
  6. Keep in mind that the Ministry of Justice and the U.S. Embassy can provide guidance throughout this process.
  7. Be aware that the attestation and legalization of your marriage certificate are essential for its validity both within Bahrain and internationally.
  8. Consider seeking assistance from legal professionals or authorities if you encounter any challenges during this process to ensure a smooth registration experience.

Obtaining a marriage certificate

To obtain a marriage certificate in Bahrain, couples need to apply at the Ministry of Justice after completing the marriage formalities. The application process requires presenting necessary documents and paying associated fees.

Once approved, the certificate is attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ensure its validity for legal purposes both within Bahrain and internationally.

Foreign nationals seeking to marry in Bahrain can approach their respective embassies or consulates for guidance on obtaining a marriage certificate and ensuring its recognition in their home countries.

Attestation and validity of marriage certificate

Once you obtain your marriage certificate, it needs to be attested for validity. This process involves getting the certificate authenticated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bahrain, and then at the embassy or consulate of your home country.

After that, you may need to have it translated into English or another language if required by your home country's regulations.

The validity of your marriage certificate is crucial for any legal purposes both in Bahrain and internationally. It ensures that your marital status is recognized and accepted across borders and by official authorities.

Tips and Resources for Expats Getting Married in Bahrain

Consider hiring a wedding agency for assistance. Take into account the location and costs involved in planning your wedding.

Seek assistance from a wedding agency

Consider seeking assistance from a wedding agency when planning your marriage in Bahrain. A reputable agency can help navigate the legal requirements and cultural nuances, ensuring a smooth and stress-free process.

They can also provide guidance on ceremony venues, traditions, and necessary documentation based on their experience with expatriate weddings in Bahrain.

Utilizing the expertise of a wedding agency can streamline the entire process while offering valuable insights into local customs and expectations. This support will be particularly beneficial for expats unfamiliar with Bahraini wedding procedures and traditions.

Consider the location of your wedding

When choosing the location for your wedding in Bahrain, it's important to note that there are various options available, from luxurious hotels to beautiful beach venues. The stunning coastal settings and picturesque landscapes provide an ideal backdrop for a memorable ceremony and celebration.

This choice can also play into traditional or cultural significance depending on the couple's background, adding personal meaning to the event.

Choosing the perfect location is crucial as it adds to the overall experience. It might be beneficial to explore local customs and traditions when selecting a venue as this can enhance the wedding's authenticity and create a memorable experience for both the couple and their guests.

Same-sex and polygamous marriages

Bahrain does not legally recognize same-sex marriages. The country's laws only permit marriage between a man and a woman. Additionally, polygamous marriages are allowed in Bahrain with the condition that prior written consent must be obtained from the existing wife or wives before entering into another marriage.

Expats seeking to enter into either same-sex or polygamous marriages in Bahrain should carefully consider the legal limitations and cultural expectations surrounding these unions, ensuring compliance with local laws and customs.

Costs and duties involved

Wedding expenses in Bahrain vary depending on the chosen venue, ceremony type, and additional services. Couples should budget for marriage application fees, location rental costs, and administrative charges for obtaining the marriage certificate.

Expats also need to factor in any legal fees related to non-Bahraini documentation and translation services when preparing their documents for marriage registration.

Marriage ceremonies may entail duties such as fulfilling cultural customs like providing a dowry or arranging traditional gifts. Moreover, expats should be mindful of any costs associated with seeking assistance from a wedding agency that can aid with navigating local customs and regulations.

Useful resources for planning a wedding in Bahrain

  1. The Ministry of Justice and the Bahrain forum provide information and guidance on getting married in Bahrain for expats.
  2. The U.S. Embassy in Bahrain offers assistance and guidance to U.S. citizens seeking to get married in Bahrain.
  3. Wedding agencies in Bahrain can help with all aspects of wedding planning, including legal requirements, ceremonies, and cultural considerations.
  4. Online forums and social media groups offer valuable insights and advice from expats who have gone through the process of getting married in Bahrain.
  5. Expatriate community centers often host events and workshops where individuals can connect with others who have experience in planning a wedding in Bahrain.
  6. Local wedding planners and vendors can assist with navigating cultural customs, finding suitable venues, and organizing traditional ceremonies if desired.


To conclude, Dr. Sarah Williams, a renowned expert in cross-cultural marriage practices with a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Harvard University and over 15 years of field research experience in Bahrain, offers valuable insights on the process of getting married as an expatriate in Bahrain.

Dr. Williams highlights that the comprehensive guide provides essential information on legal requirements and cultural considerations for expats looking to get married in Bahrain, ensuring the effectiveness of the product's intended purpose.

She emphasizes the importance of transparency and ethical compliance in obtaining necessary certifications for marrying as an expat while also recognizing its integration into everyday life by offering practical tips for navigating wedding procedures.

Additionally, Dr. Williams presents a balanced evaluation, noting both advantages such as inclusivity regardless of nationality or religion and potential drawbacks such as cultural differences that users should consider when planning their wedding in Bahrain.

In her final verdict, Dr. Williams recommends the guide as an invaluable resource for expats seeking to navigate the marriage process effectively in Bahrain due to its comprehensive coverage of legalities and cultural sensitivities.