After the marriage proposal, most young couples spend a lot of time and thought on the details of their wedding. Everything from the wedding gown, the photo shoot, the venue, the guest list, the dinner menu, the invitation cards and the seating arrangements are usually calibrated, tracked and listed, often with the help of some sort of project management or planning programme. Planning a new home and arranging for a short honeymoon afterwards are also top on the list for many engaged couples.
Whilst these are all meaningful, it is also important to understand the key legal requirements and steps you must take in order for your marriage to be recognised and registered in Singapore. So, as you are plan all those details, don’t forget to add a special task called “marriage registration” to your list.
1. Do You Fulfill the Legal Requirements for Marriage?
Singapore has a few straightforward requirements that both the bride and the groom must fulfill. First, both of you should be over 21 years old. If one of you is between 18 and 21 years old, marriage is still possible, but the marriage will require the consent of either a parent or a legal guardian. For special cases, the Singapore Registry of Marriages (ROM) will review each situation on a case by case basis.
Both of you must also be free to marry. In other words, if either of you has been married before, you will need to show proof of divorce and sometimes some additional paperwork might be required.
If one of you is not a Singaporean or a Permanent Resident, you will have to show at least 15 days of continuous residence in Singapore before filing a notice to get married. Depending on the conditions of your visit or work pass to Singapore, there may also be an extra step which involves getting approval for the marriage from the Ministry of Manpower to consider.
2. Engage a Solemniser
A Solemniser is a special person who leads the bride and groom through their vows, checks the documents required for the marriage and signs the marriage certificates.
If you plan to solemnise your marriage at the ROM itself, you don’t need to worry about engaging a solemniser because the ROM is able to solemnise your marriage for you.
If however, you are not planning to hold your marriage ceremony at the ROM, then you will need to engage a solemniser. The ROM maintains a list of recognised solemnisers. These include not only religious leaders, but a wide variety of other professions which include Justices of the Peace and Grassroots Leaders.
Once you’ve identified a solemniser you would like to engage, you will need to contact them, confirm their availability and obtain their signed consent to solemnise your wedding. You will need to get this done before you can file a notice of marriage at the ROM.
3. File a Notice of Marriage
Before you go ahead and book the date for your wedding, you also need to make sure that it will fall within the date range that the ROM gives to you for your marriage solemnisation.
You should file a notice of marriage no later than 21 days before your wedding. Once it is approved, you will need to plan to get married within 3 months from the date of the notice. What this means is that if you file your notice on the 1st August, then you can choose a wedding date between the 21st August and 1st November.
You can file your notice online at ROM's website, at e-kiosks at the ROM itself, or at any CitizenConnect Centres. ks at the ROM itself, or at any CitizenConnect Centres.
You will need to enter details such as the:
NRICs/passports of both the bride and groom
NRICs/passports of 2 witnesses, both of whom must be over 21 years of age
Solemnisation date and time
Address of the solemnisation venue
Name and license number of your solemniser if you are not getting married at the ROM
Payment arrangements, credit card if you are filing online, NETS or a Cashcard if you are filing at an e-kiosk at the ROM.
Once you have filed your notice, you will receive 2 important pieces of information. The first is a notice number, you will need this if you want to change things like your solemnisation date, time, place, witnesses or solemniser.
You will also receive your filing instructions. This is a list of documents you will need to bring to the ROM and an appointment time and date on which you and your future spouse will need to go to the ROM. At the appointment, the ROM will verify your documents and you will have to make a statutory declaration.
4. Document Verification and Statutory Declaration at the ROM
On the appointment date that you would have received when you filed your notice of marriage, you and your future spouse should bring documents such as your NRICs and passports, your solemniser’s signed consent form and any other copies or originals which the ROM has requested for to the ROM.
Whilst you are there, the ROM will verify your documents and ask you to make a statutory declaration concerning your intent to get married.
5. Solemnise Your Marriage
And now comes the fun part! On the day of your wedding you will go through you planned solemnisation ceremony.
Don’t forget to have the following ready:
NRICs or passports of you and your future spouse
The marriage licence and certificates
And remind your 2 witnesses to bring their NRICS or passports as well
After the solemnisation, your marriage will be legally recognised in Singapore.