How to Apply for an Egypt Marriage License

Abu Simbel Temple on the west shore of Lake Nasser, Egypt

 

 

George Steinmetz / Getty Images

Getting married in Egypt as a foreigner has become much more complex. If you are planning to get married in Egypt, make sure you understand the requirements and marriage regulations.

The only legal marriage for foreigners in Egypt is a civil ceremony performed at the local marriage court, which is in accordance with Islamic practice. Persons wishing a religious ceremony may arrange for one separately, but it is the civil ceremony that establishes the legal marriage.

Americans wishing to marry in Egypt must take the following steps in order to marry:

Step 1:  Make an appointment with the American Citizen Services Unit, U.S. Embassy. The address is 5, Tawfik Diab Street (formerly Latin America Street), Garden City, Cairo.

At American Citizen Services, you will sign a marriage affidavit that will be notarized by the U.S. Embassy. This affidavit includes your biographic data and your religion. Interfaith marriages are permitted by Egyptian law except in the case of a Muslim woman and a non-Muslim man. The affidavit also mentions that you are free to marry and that the Embassy has no objection to the marriage.

Step 2: After obtaining the notarized statement from the U.S. Embassy, you must visit one of the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Authentication Offices, at 96 Ahmed Oraby St, Mohandessin, Giza; or Sabak Street next to the Maryland Gardens in Heliopolis, Cairo or Awkaf Building, San Stephano, Alexandria. Hours: Saturday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will certify the statement for a fee.

Step 3: After obtaining the certification from the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, you must visit the Egyptian Ministry of Justice. The address is Egyptian Ministry of Justice Annex (Office of Marriage of Foreigners), 4th floor, Lazoughly Square, Abdin, Cairo. Open Sunday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The Ministry of Justice will register your marriage. Forms to be completed at the marriage court can only be obtained on the wedding day or the day before. 

You should consult an attorney or the services of a notary since May 12, 2007, news from the U.S. Consular Section of the Embassy is that the Consular Section is not providing the affidavit required by the Egyptian Government to authorize the marriage of a foreigner in Egypt.

You will also be asked to state whether you are Muslim, Christian, or Jewish. This document then has to be certified by the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Egyptian Family Law

Americans considering marrying an Egyptian citizen should learn about Egyptian family law aka personal status laws.

"Especially for women, their rights as both spouse and parent would be very different in Egypt from those in the U.S., as would the rights of any children resulting from the marriage."

ID Requirement and Ceremony

Proof of citizenship or a valid passport. All documents need to be translated into Arabic. You need to have two male witnesses who have identification papers with you when you apply for the marriage license. There is no residency requirement.

Ceremony

Marriage in Egypt is legal only if it is a civil ceremony performed at a local marriage court. You can have a religious ceremony later.

Waiting Period

There ​is a three month waiting period if you've been divorced.

If you are a widow, you will need to wait four months and ten days.

Previous Marriages

You will need to show proof of termination of any previous marriages. The original or certified copy of the divorce decree must be authenticated.

As mentioned previously, the Office of Authentications, U.S. Department of State, does not guarantee that the Egyptian government will accept the paperwork. We recommend consulting an attorney in Egypt.

Physical Exam

Sometimes a routine physical examination by an Egyptian physician is required.

Interfaith Marriages

Interfaith marriages are allowed except if the bride is Muslim and the groom has a different faith.

Under 18

If either of you are under the age of 18, parental consent is required.

Fees

Approximately $100 in US funds. There may be additional fees depending on whether you are Muslims or Christians.

Polygamy

Yes. Although less than three percent of Egyptian men have multiple wives, a law passed in 1985 that allows a man to have four wives.

In 2000, a new law was passed that permits a man and woman to agree via a signed contract that the husband may not have more than one wife.

Proxy Marriages

No.

Same-Sex Marriages

No.

Cousin Marriages

Yes.

Islamic Marriage in Egypt

Couples must have:

  • Consent of both families to the marriage.
  • Consent of both the bride and groom to the marriage.
  • The groom must have financial means to support a wife and family by providing a furnished apartment.
  • Bride accompanied by her guardian when she signs the marriage contract.
  • Presence of witnesses.
  • Payment of the bride's wedding gift.
  • Public declaration of the marriage.

Note: Marriage license requirements often change. The above information is for guidance only and should not be regarded as legal advice. It is important that you verify ALL information with the local marriage license office before making any wedding or travel plans.