Special Marriage Act Of 1954
Parties who do not wish to marry in a religious ceremony can instead opt for a civil ceremony pursuant to the Indian Special Marriage Act of 1954.
In case a marriage between an Indian and a foreign national is to take place in India, generally its required to file a notice of intended marriage with a Marriage Registrar of your choice in India. That notice is required to be published for the stipulated 30 days. At the end of the 30 days the Marriage Registrar is free to perform the marriage.
The notice of intended marriage can only be given in India, if at least one partner is permanently and the other partner temporarily resident in India.
If one partner is residing in a foreign country then the partner who is resident in India will have to fill out the Marriage Notice collected from the Marriage Registration Office of his/her choice in India and send it to his/her partner in the foreign country who will also have to fill it out. This Notice should then be sent back to the partner in India who will have to re-submit it at the Marriage Registration Office. After the stipulated waiting period of 30 days the marriage can take place in India. Under the Special Marriage Act, 1954 a certificate showing the signatures of the persons married, the registrar and the witnesses will be issued. This Certificate is required as proof of the marriage and when applying for a visa to for a foreign country.
The Following Documents Are Required For Both The Partners :
1. A valid Passport.
2. Original Birth Certificate showing parents' names.
3. If the person concerned is widowed, the original death certificate of the deceased spouse.
4. If divorced, copy of the final decree.
5. Documentary evidence regarding stay in India of the parties for more than 30 days (ration card or report from the concerned SHO).
The American citizen who wishes to participate in a civil marriage ceremony may be required to present to the marriage officer a no objection letter from the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, as well as proof of termination of any previous marriages. Similarly, a citizen of another foreign country may be required to present to the marriage officer a no objection letter from the Embassy or Consulate of his country, as well as proof of termination of any previous marriages.
In a nutshell, under the Special Marriage Act, the parties generally are required to wait at least 30 days from the date of initial application to formalize the marriage so that the marriage officer can publish a newspaper ad allowing for the opportunity for any objections to the marriage to be voiced.
For Registration of Marriages which have already been solemnized, following documents are required:
1. Application form duly signed by both husband and wife.
2. Documentary evidence of date of birth of parties (Matriculation Certificate / Passport / Birth Certificate). Minimum age of both parties is 21 years for male and 18 years for female, at the time of registration under the Special Marriage Act / Hindu Marriage Act.
3. Ration card of husband or wife, at least one should be resident of Delhi for 30 days.
4. In case of Special Marriage Act, documentary evidence regarding stay in Delhi of the parties for more than 30 days (ration card or report from the concerned SHO, Police Station). (NOTE: Delhi High Court in Vikram Aditya Singh & others Vs. UOI & others, CW15079/2006 held that this condition in Delhi Hindu Marriage Registration Rules, is ultra vires and solemnisation is sufficient for registration; see other case - Seema Vs Ashmin Kumar 2006 2SCC 578).
5. Affidavit by both the parties stating place and date of marriage, date of birth, marital status at the time of marriage and nationality.
6. Two passport size photographs of both the parties and one marriage photograph.
7. Marriage invitation card.
8. If marriage was solemnized in a religious place, a certificate from the priest is required who solemnized the marriage.
9. Affirmation that the parties are not related to each other within the prohibited degree of relationship as per Special Marriage Act. For details of such relationships please read below at end.
10. Attested copy of divorce decree/order in case of a divorcee and death certificate of spouse in case of widow/widower.
11. In case one of the parties belong to other than Hindu, Budhist, Jain and Sikh religions, a conversion certificate from the priest who solemnized the marriage (in case of Hindu Marriage Act).