Marriage in Qatar
A How-To Guide on Getting Married in Qatar
by Fiona Murray
Congratulations! You're in love, you want to get married right here in Qatar. So this is the lowdown on what you have to do . . .
Getting married is no more complicated than most procedures here, but will involve trips to embassies, photocopying, the digging out of certificates and (for some faiths) the usual handful of passport sized photographs.
Your starting point must be your embassy or embassies if you and your beloved are different nationalities. They should advise you on the procedures and what documents you require, but you may find they just refer you to one of the church ministers here.
Different countries' rules vary but be prepared to show birth certificates, any divorce papers, residents' permits, passports and so on. You may also have to swear a legal document, an affidavit, that there is no legal reason why you cannot marry, i.e. a wife/husband and six kids back in Aberdeen/Manila/Houston.
In addition, some embassies, including the British Embassy, require a notice to be displayed for 21 days declaring your intention to get married, so a Las Vegas-style quickie wedding is out of the question.
It is possible to be married in a civil ceremony by some embassies, including the Indian and Filipino embassies. But you must both come from that country; they can't marry people of different nationalities.
None of the Christian churches are allowed to marry Muslims. If you are Muslim you can be married by the Sharia Court. They will marry a Muslim man to a Christian woman, but not the other way around.
For non-Muslims, a Christian wedding may be the only legal way to get wed here. Certain churches (see below), including the Catholic and Anglican churches are licensed to carry out weddings, and each has its own rules and regulations. They will also charge a fee to cover costs.
After the ceremony the marriage certificate, together with an Arabic translation, must be registered at the Ministry of Justice (behind City Center mall, by Al Fardan twin towers) and then the registration must be attested (stamped and confirmed to be correct) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Al Muthaf St, next to Al Seef Hotel). The church may carry this out for you, for a fee.
Newlyweds are also strongly advised to get their marriage documents attested at their own embassies, too.
There are plans for genetic tests on couples planning to marry, but technical problems have delayed the start of this. However, these are expected to start soon.
Weddings take place at the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary, which is over behind the E-Ring Rd Woqod petrol station.
Anglican Church Wedding ceremonies take place in the Rectory Chapel, which can seat up to 25. It may be possible to be married at other suitable venues, but not outdoors.
If two muslims want to get married they both have to go to the Sharia Court which is on Al Rayan Road. They need two witnesses to go with them. The woman must go with her father (or the man who is responsable of her, so that he can give his permission for her to marry) If he is not here, she has to get a letter from him saying that he agrees to her getting married.
However, your best starting point for information is to visit the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs (on Al Sadd St, at the Al Waab end). Take a native Arabic speaker with you, if you're not fluent yourself.
You could also try the Ministry of Justice (behind City Centre) but you will also need to speak Arabic - and it is pretty chaotic here. The Ministry of Awqaf may be an easier place to start.
Update: As of December 2009 couples must also undergo a medical screening prior to getting married. You should allow plenty of time prior to the planned date of marriage as it can take one to three weeks for the results to come through. At the time of writing the medical tests can be completed in the following locations:
Greek Orthodox church