Is a wedding in Bali recognized in my home country ? Is it possible to get legally married in Bali ? Yes, it is possible. And in this article I will explain to you how and the ‘paperwork’ involved.
DISCLAIMER: While we have thoroughly researched this article we cannot guarantee that all the information provided here is 100% accurate or complete. Use this as a guideline only. To get legally married in Bali, we strongly recommend that you seek the assistance of a wedding company in Bali.
Here is how to get legally married in Bali
To get legally married in Bali, you are required to have both a religious and civil ceremony. Although in recent years the civil ceremony is often consolidated with the religious ceremony. For further details on this please consult with your wedding company in Bali.
Both marriage partners need to declare the same religion. Please note the word ‘declare’ ! I did not say you must be of the same religion. There can be certain implications with regards to the truthfulness of such a declaration. Suffice to say that depending on what religion you declare your declaration may not be subject to scrutiny.
The following religions are recognized in Indonesia:
The religious ceremony and the legal ceremony must be held at the same location on the same day.
Religious ceremonies under Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christian-Protestant faith can be held at a home, a villa, a hotel, a restaurant, a beach or a purpose built wedding venue. Any venue is fine, except Balinese temples.
Can I get legally married without a religious ceremony?
Many brides & couples have asked if they can get legally married without a religious ceremony.
The answer is a clear: NO YOU CANNOT!
Indonesia is a very religious country and therefore it is an absolute must for a wedding to be legal to involve a religious ceremony.
Also, you cannot have a Balinese Hindu ceremony as a substitute !! You can only have a legal wedding under Hindu faith if you can prove that you are Hindu. The same applies for Buddhism.
You may now ask what about the many photos where you have seen foreigners in Bali wearing Balinese attire and involving a Balinese priest. Those were mostly just blessing ceremonies. And do not count as a ‘real’ Hindu wedding ceremony.
Which brings me to another frequently asked question: Can two persons of the same gender / same sex get married in Bali? Same answer: ABSOLUTELY NOT.
In fact, wedding companies and wedding venues who in the past carried out blessing ceremonies for gay couples have faced strong opposition from society and from politics.
And the local government in Bali is strongly opposed to Bali becoming a destination for any sort of rainbow weddings.
You can also have non-legal wedding
Before we go into the details, you need to be aware that you can also have a wedding ceremony without getting legally married in Bali. Just a symbolic ceremony.
A lot of couples do their legal marriage and the required ‘paperwork’ back home.
They then have in Bali a non-legally binding blessing ceremony or commitment ceremony.
Doing so you do not need to worry about the legal requirements. It is also cheaper to do so. For this kind of ceremony, you do not need any papers, and no authorities are involved.
Such kind of Bali weddings are usually performed by a celebrant, who may or may not be a real priest.
Some couples choose to have a wedding ceremony that closely resembles a Christian wedding ceremony. Others prefer to have a ceremony that resembles a traditional Balinese ceremony.
Weddings where a friend or relative of the couple assumes the role of a ministrant are also common.
For these kind of ceremonies, there will be no questions asked about your official faith.
Muslim weddings in Bali
For Muslims, please note that it is not mandatory to have your ceremony in a mosque. But of course, you can also get married in a mosque if you chose to do so.
For Muslims, it is the easiest procedure because there is no need for an additional civil ceremony.
The religious ceremony is carried out by a member of the ‘Kantor Urusan Agama’ – which roughly translates into ‘The office of religious affairs’. And that ceremony is sufficient for you to get legally married. You are also required to produce a document that proves that you are a Muslim.
I often get asked if it is possible in Bali for a non-Muslim foreigner to get married to an Indonesian citizen of Muslim faith. Sorry, not that is not possible. And simply claiming that you are a Muslim won’t do the trick either.
Catholic weddings in Bali
If you intend to marry under Catholic faith, you are required to do so in a Catholic church in Bali. And there are a few Catholic churches in Bali that officiate weddings for foreigners.
However, the ‘bureaucracy’ involved for having a Catholic wedding in Bali can be ‘tedious’. Don’t be surprised to pay more for a Catholic wedding.
You CANNOT have a Catholic wedding at a villa, in a hotel or one of Bali’s wedding chapels.
The vast majority of international couples get married in Bali under Protestant faith.
Couples are required to file first a ‘Notice of Intention to marry‘. This is done at the Civil Registry Office in the regency where they are staying in Bali.
You are also required to present a ‘Certificate of non-Impediment’. This document is usually obtained from your consulate or your embassy in Indonesia. This is where it can get a bit complicated if your country does not have a consulate in Bali.
You may then need to obtain this document from your embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital. Which happens to be over 1000 km away from Bali. But don’t worry it still can be done and you may not need to visit your embassy there. Remember: this varies from country to country.
A ‘Certificate of non-Impediment‘ can also be issued by the local authorities where the individuals live in their home countries.
In both instances, please do this well before your wedding day in Bali as requirements vary by embassy/consulate. For further and more detailed information regarding ‘Certificate of Non-Impediment’, please contact your embassy or let your wedding planner/coordinator help you.
The following countries have consulates in Bali where you can arrange for ‘Certificate of non-impediment’: Australia, UK, USA, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, New Zealand and many others.
For the Notice of Intention to marry you have to submit the following documents for both partners to the Civil Registry Office in Bali:
- Passport for foreign citizens
- Certified birth certificate
- Certified divorce decree (absolute) or death certificates regarding the termination of all previous marriages if appropriate.
- Four 4×6 cm photos, both partners side by side, bride on right-hand side (with no bare shoulders showing) ( it is easy to get these done in Bali )
- Certificate of Non-Impediment to Marriage’ issued by your Consular Representative for Bali or Indonesia. All foreigners who are planning to get legally married in Bali are required to present this!
Additionally, the following documents are required for both partners:
- Passports that are valid for a minimum 6 months from the date of entry into Indonesia
- Valid visas to enter Indonesia – foreign visitors who wish to get legally married in Bali may enter Indonesia as tourists using the tourist visa that is valid for a stay in Indonesia of up to 30 days.
- Birth Certificates (if a copy, and not the original is presented, then the copy must be legalized by a solicitor or by your countries embassy in Indonesia).
- Legalized written statements confirming the status of each individual (single/ widow/ widower/ divorcee etc.).
- Letter from the couple’s church. This is only necessary if the couple are both Christians and members of a church and wish to be married in a church in Indonesia. If you plan to get married in a hotel, villa, chapel, beach, etc… this is not necessary.