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Marriage procedure in Malaysia

There are several requirements for a legal marriage ceremony in Malaysia. Most important part is that the couple must obtain a marriage license from the National Registration Department. To get this license all necessary documentation needs to be in order. In some cases it depends on what nationality you are from. Contact your own Embassy if you are already residing in Malaysia to find out what documents are necessary to successfully get the marriage license.

Getting married but not residing in Malaysia?

In case of a beach wedding there is the need for a special marriage license that can only be obtained via a Chief Minister or District Officer. This is the only way to make sure that the 21 day processing period is not in place so people can get married much sooner after getting the marriage license. Your wedding planner is able to assist you in this. Certain hotels and resorts that offer luxurious wedding packages are also able to help you make arrangements for this special marriage license.

How to get a standard marriage license in Malaysia

Below are the steps we took (both Dutch residents) in order to get our hands on the marriage license.

Step 1: Single Status Declaration

Foreign couples both need to obtain a statutory single status declaration. This can be brought in from their respective home countries, or it can be requested at the Embassies of their home country in Kuala Lumpur. Usually it takes a day or two in order for the Embassy to get this declaration ready for pickup.

In some cases you also need copies of both birth certificates, usually for applicants that are below 21 years old, but this depends on the country you are originally from. Contact your own embassy for more information.

Step 2: Legalization at Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The single status declarations have to be legalized at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Putrajaya (Wisma Putra).

Address Ministry of Foreign Affairs Malaysia:

  • Wisma Putra
  • No 1, Jalan Wisma Putra
  • Precint 2
  • 62602 PUTRAJAYA
Counter Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Step 3: Necessary documents

Get all other necessary things in order. Check out all requirements at the official NRD website.

You will need a copy of all important pages of your passport, including the page that states when you entered Malaysia (or if applicable the page that holds your work-permit or dependant pass).

If you are a divorcee, then proof of Decree Absolute is required. If you are a widow/widower, then a copy of Death Certificate is required.

You also need to bring along one color photograph measuring (32mm X 38mm) against a blue background for each person which is easy to get at every shop that sells photography equipment (requirements may differ when you are applying for the special marriage license).

Fill in the appropriate form to apply for your marriage license. In our case it was form JPN.KC06. You can download the forms here. At the National Registration Department you will find people that are able to help you fill in the form, as the forms are in Bahasa Malayu. There is also a notice board with all the necessary forms filled in already with dummy details (in English).

Example form

Step 4: Applying for marriage license

Head over to the National Registration Department. Their branch nearest to Kuala Lumpur City Center is at Wangsa Maju; within walking distance of the monorail (station Medan Tuanku). Based on all required documents a marriage license will be given out (the marriage certificate costs RM20). This means you are now able to set a wedding date. Registered ceremonies are supposed to take place in a Registration Department but many registrars allow ceremonies in other locations like the beach or at hotel grounds.

National Registration Department Wangsa Maju

The normal procedure involves submitting an application at the National Registration Department; however this requires the couple to have been resident in Malaysia for a minimum of 7 days and the license takes up to 21 days to process.

It is possible to apply for a Special License at the Chief Ministers Department. If the Chief Minister is satisfied with the Statutory Declaration and there is no lawful impediment, he will grant a license for marriage, which must take place within 1 month. For this process, a minimum stay of 6 nights in any one destination is recommended so that there is sufficient time to complete all documentation and bureaucratic procedures.

If you make use of a wedding planner, he or she will assist you in both scenarios which mean you will have to spend less time on getting all the requirements in order.

Address National Registration Department:

  • Wangsa Maju (Maju Junction)
  • 7th floor
  • Wisma Rampai, Jalan 34/26
  • Taman Sri Rampai
  • 53300 Kuala Lumpur
Counter National Registration Department

Step 5: The big day

Marriage registrar

Two witnesses are required for solemnization of the wedding. Witnesses' passports are required. Both parties must be over 18. If you are under 21 you must have written consent from your father in the form of a sworn affidavit. When you obtained the marriage license you already picked a wedding date and time. On the wedding day the couple will firstly partake in the signing ceremony at the Registration Department with all the necessary documents. The registrar needs about 15 minutes to get you both married. The remainder of the ceremony and the reception can be held back at the hotel or resort.

Marriage registrar signing papers

If you are getting married at an NRD branch; please do not expect too much of the wedding venue. The wedding hall at a typical NRD is perhaps not the nicest place to tie the knot, but of course you have your ceremony to compensate this.

Wedding hall at NRD

In case of a typical beach wedding, you will have to check for NRD branches near the location you are residing. For example, if you are getting married on the beautiful island of Penang, you have to register and visit the NRD in Georgetown (3 rd Floor, Bangunan Persekutuan, Jalan Anson).

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