Legal wedding in Bali – don’t get burnt!

By June 7, 2012June 25th, 2012Miscellaneous

Many people from around the world get married in Bali every year, but there is often a question of the wedding’s legality. A legal wedding in Bali is not simply a matter of booking a package online, turning up to the ceremony with friends and family and then returning home married. It is actually more more complicated that and we will try to point you in the right direction so that your wedding in Bali is legal.

Non-legal wedding in Bali

To get a non-legal wedding in Bali is pretty easy. Simply sign up to one of the many packages online that offer you to get married in Bali. They will arrange all the details for you so that your wedding looks and feels like a real wedding. Except it will not be legal nor have any status anywhere in the world. In fact, it’s a bit of a sham to call it a wedding at all because a wedding is a legal act and many weddings in Bali do not offer this legality.

A non-legal wedding in Bali will often have a priest present going through the motions with you in a chapel with all your friends and family witnessing it. It will feel real. You will even sign certificates. But unless an official from the Kantor Catan Sipil is present, it cannot be legal anywhere in the world.

Our legal wedding in Bali

Our legal wedding in Bali

Legal wedding in Bali

Ok, so you want to have a legal wedding in Bali. What do you have to do? First things first. You need to have a religion. You cannot state your religion as atheist even if you have never stepped inside a church in your life.

Once you’ve decided what religion you are going to be, you need to arrange a person from that religion to marry you. If you are Christian, you will need to find a priest. Many wedding organisers can arrange a priest for you as one part of your legal wedding in Bali.

Letter of no impediment to marriage

Next, if you are a foreigner, you need to obtain a letter from your consulate in Indonesia stating that you are legally allowed to be married. The letter is called “a letter of no impediment to marriage“. To get this letter, you will need to go to your consulate in Bali with appropriate documentation such as your passport and death/divorce certificates if you have been married before. This letter is mandatory for foreigners wishing to have a legal wedding in Bali.

Kantor Catan Sipil

The next step when arriving in Bali is to head to the Kantor Catan Sipil either in Denpasar (for wedding in Kuta/Legian/Seminyak) or Gianyar (for wedding in Ubud). The staff here don’t speak a lot of English, so you are going to need to take someone with you who can translate for you. At this office, you need to do a few things in order to make the wedding legal. Firstly, you need to submit a range of documentation at least a few days before your wedding. These documents include photocopies of passports (or KTP for Indonesians), copies of birth certificates, the death/divorce certificates if previously married, a few side-by-side photos of the prospective couple (these can be done by asking a local photo shop for photos for the Kantor Catatan Sipil), the letter of no impediment to marriage from your consulate and “form A” (the form from your hotel which is submitted to the police to prove where you are staying).

Once these forms have been submitted to the officer at the Kantor Catatan Sipil, you have to make sure an officer from the Kantor Catatan Sipil will be at your wedding to ensure a smooth registration process. The official fee is 200,000 rupiah for the registration, but it is widely accepted that if you want an officer to attend your wedding that you should pay about double that for petrol and food money. Once you have an agreement that the officer will be present at your wedding, you are almost there!

Legal Wedding Day!

On the day of your wedding, you will have already arranged the religious side of things by having a priest conducting the service and have already arranged the legal side of things by having a officer from the Kantor Catatan Sipil present. This is almost a legal wedding in Bali. But not quite. There is a requirement from the Kantor Catatan Sipil for more documentation. This documentation relates to certification from the church that you are in fact married under that religion and this may cost money to obtain. Once the officer has this letter, he can then proceed with the official registration which makes the Bali wedding legal. The priest will usually give this letter to the officer from the Kantor Catatan Sipil after the ceremony.

To speed things up, the officer will bring an official marriage certificate to sign on the day of your wedding. Even though the marriage hasn’t been registered yet, you will get the certificate because the officer will head back to the Kantor Catatan Sipil and enter the details into the database AFTER the wedding. You now have a legal wedding in Bali.

Many wedding organisers arrange all of this for your for a flat fee in order to ensure you are having a legal wedding in Bali. They use their Indonesian skills and contacts to make it a smooth process for you, but it can be extremely expensive. Being quoted Rp. 10,000,000 or US$1000 is not unusual. You can do this all yourself for less than Rp. 500,000 or US$50, but it does require you to do a lot of running around and to have an understanding of the correct procedure for getting married in Bali. This is the correct procedure for having a legal wedding in Bali

If you’re looking for hotels in Bali, make sure you check out Agoda first. They guarantee the best price!

Kantor Catatan Sipil Denpasar
Jl. Surapati No.4, Denpasar
Telp. (0361) 237501

Kantor Catatan Sipil Gianyar
Jl Kebo Iwa No.14, Gianyar
Telp. (0361) 943236

Join the discussion 10 Comments

  • Mike Schultz says:

    My future wife is italian and i am a canadian… we would like to marry on a sunday if possible in Bali and i can not find any info if we can marry on a sunday legally…
    Best regards

    • Adam says:

      @Mike – I don’t think there’s any barrier to marrying on a Sunday. Just make sure you have all your paperwork sorted out well in advance so that the marriage ends up being legal. If you’ve ever dealt with the government in Indonesia, you will already know that it requires patience, persistence and a little bit of cash to grease the wheels.

    • Re Artù says:

      Since the week in Indonesia ends on Friday, Sundays are probably considered weekdays.
      Remind your wife-to-be that she will have to get an “Akte Perkawinan” from the “Catatan Sipil”, get it legalised by the Ministries of Justice and of Foreign Affairs in Jakarta, and then bring it to the local Italian Embassy to have it registered in her hometown.

  • Elle says:

    Hi, my bf is muslim and I am christian. Can we get married in Bali legally? Do I need to convert to muslim? Both of us are malaysian.

    • Susan says:

      @Elle – I’m not 100% certain, but I believe that getting inter-religious marriages done in Bali isn’t permissible under Indonesian law. You can get a civil marriage, but it has no legal authority, so it is useless. Maybe head to Australia or Thailand. 🙂

  • Katie says:

    We found the wedding process really simple using a company called bali weddings international, buuuutttt 5 years later our marriage has fallen apart and I’ve got no idea what to do in terms of getting a divorce! we had the legal and religious ceremonies, does this mean we need to get an Indonesian divorce?
    BTW, if I were to do it again, I would definitely do a registry wedding here in Australia first, then have the fancy ceremony in bali!

    • Susan Natalia Poskitt says:

      No… If the marriage was legal in Indonesia, it’s legal in Australia by default. I would imagine you just go through the same divorce process anyone would in Australia… But I’m not a lawyer, so that is just what I guess would be the case.

  • Joe says:

    Hi. I got married in Bali both with a ceremony and registered at the Catatan Sipil. i now need to get divorced but no longer have the original marriage cert, do you know if i can get another from the Catatan sipil? thanks

    • Susan Natalia Poskitt says:

      Hi Joe. I’m sure you’ll be able to get another certificate there. Just roll up and follow the procedure… It’ll be a hassle, I suppose.

  • Nicholas Marks says:

    Please note that if an Indonesian national goes outside Indonesia and gets married to a non-Indonesian in a wedding ceremony outside Indonesia, then provided that marriage is legally recognized in the country where the wedding took place, that marriage is immediately recognized as legal in Indonesia too. End of. No arguments.

    The passage in law covering this is Undang-Undang No 1 1974 Tentang Perkawinan paragraph 56. You can find books on Indonesian law at Gramedia Bookshop in the basement of Duta Plaza Shopping Mall opposite McDonalds on Jalan Dewi Sartika in central Denpasar.

    If you have married an Indonesian citizen outside Indonesia (say in Europe, the US, Japan or wherever) and that marriage is legally recognized in the country where it took place, then rest assured that you are automatically married in the eyes of the law in Indonesia too. Have no fear about that.

    There is a stipulation in the law (paragraph 57 I believe) that you should register your marriage from outside Indonesia with the Kantor Catatan Cipil in Indonesia within twelve months of getting married outside Indonesia. Indonesian law says nothing about what happens if you don’t.

    Do not allow any one, any Indonesian in particular, to bullshit you that just because you might not have registered your marriage from outside Indonesia with a Kantor Catatan Cipil in Indonesia, that somehow the law in Indonesia does not recognize your marriage, because it most certainly does.

    The law was drafted in a very kindly manner to encourage love, harmony and a place where children could grow up happily. It was most certainly not designed to catch out and exploit unwary foreigners.

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