Say ‘I Do’ in Bali: Your Ultimate Guide to Getting Legally Married
Starting married life together in Bali can be a dream come true for many couples. However, it does come with a few challenges—as with any wedding anywhere in the world! To tie the knot legally on the “Island of the Gods”, you’ll need to do a little research and follow a few specific steps.
Don’t worry. It’s not as complicated as you may think as the rules are pretty straightforward. As long as you’ve got them down, nothing is stopping you from saying your “I dos” and exchanging wedding bands in paradise!
To help you plan your wedding in Bali, we’ve put together this go-to guide, covering everything from the basic rules to the steps you must take to ensure your marriage is legal.
Things to note before planning a Bali wedding
Planning a Bali wedding is a unique experience. We know you’re excited to plan your nuptials, but before we delve into our guide, let us highlight a few important pointers:
You need to have two ceremonies
Most couples who plan destination weddings have the option to have a legal or civil ceremony at home and a religious one overseas. But to tie the knot legally in Bali, both ceremonies must occur side-by-side, meaning at the same location and time. You can’t get legally married in Bali without one or the other.
You must comply with your religion’s marriage requirements
Remember that Bali is part of a religious country, so for your marriage to be considered legal, it must be carried out according to the rules of your religion. This means that if you’re Catholic, you must have a Catholic ceremony alongside your civil one.
In addition to that, the requirements to get legally married in Indonesia will largely depend on your religion. For instance, if you’re Catholic, you must go through all of the steps to have a Catholic wedding, which involves obtaining a baptismal and confirmation certificate, getting married in a Catholic church, and so on.
You and your fiancé must be of the same religion
Couples who want to get married in Bali must register their religion with the Civil Registry Office. Note that Indonesian law only allows people who practice the official faiths (Islam, Catholicism, Protestant Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism) to legally marry.
If you’re of a different faith, you can conduct a symbolic ceremony in Bali and have a civil one in your home country, which will be just as beautiful.
Tread carefully when it comes to same-sex unions
Only heterosexual couples can get legally married in the country. If you’re considering a symbolic same-sex ceremony in Bali, be sure to seek the advice of an LGBTQ+ group or a lawyer. The last thing you want is to get into legal trouble during what’s supposed to be a special time for you and your partner.
Getting legally married in Bali
If you meet the requirements we mentioned above, congratulations! That means you can get legally married in paradise (if not, don’t worry, you can still plan a non-legal wedding that’s just as magical). Below, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide on throwing a legal Bali wedding:
1. Obtain the CNI
All foreigners who wish to get legally married in Bali must obtain a Certificate of Non-Impediment (CNI). This is a letter confirming that there are no objections to your union.
You can obtain it from your home country or when you arrive, but note that not all countries have a consulate in Bali. If that’s the case, you may have to travel to Indonesia’s capital to obtain the CNI from your embassy. (You can take this opportunity to plan a quick road trip!).
To be issued the CNI, you must sign a statement called the “Affidavit of Eligibility for Marriage” in front of a consular officer. It basically confirms that you’ve never been married, or if you’re divorced, that your marriage has been terminated. This will need to be notarized, so be prepared to pay a notary fee of about $50.
2. Submit your documents to the Civil Registry Office
Once you’ve received your CNI, you’ll need to go to the Civil Registry Office, where they will check if you meet the legal requirements to get married in Indonesia. Again, what you’ll need to submit will depend on your religion, but these are the basic documents that you’ll be expected to provide:
- Both you and your partner’s valid passports
- Both you and your partner’s valid visas for entry into Indonesia
- Copy of both of your birth certificates
- Copy of Decree Absolute (if divorced)
- Copy of Death Certificate of past spouse (if applicable)
- Documentary evidence of any change of name
- Certificate of Non-Impediment (CNI)
- Copies of two witnesses’ passports
While we’ve made every effort to ensure that the information in this article is up-to-date, the laws regarding legal marriages for foreigners may change over time. With that being said, it would be wise to contact your embassy to ensure that you meet the country’s current requirements. It’s also a good idea to regularly go over Indonesia’s laws in the lead-up to your day of “I dos”, so be sure to bookmark the U.S. Embassy and Consulates website.
3. Have your religious and legal ceremonies
As we earlier mentioned, Indonesian law requires couples to have two types of ceremonies. With that in mind, your wedding must be attended by one representative from the Civil Registry Office and one from your faith. By law, the religious ceremony must take place first, followed by the legal ceremony. Once your ceremonies are concluded, you’ll receive two certificates: one from your church or temple, and another from the Civil Registry Office.
4. Register your marriage with the Civil Registry Office
Even if you’ve had a civil ceremony, you must register your marriage with the Civil Registry Office to make it “official”. To do this, give them the certificates you received during your day of “I dos”, as these provide that you’ve complied with their requirements. Note that you may need to wait 10 days before you can obtain your Marriage Certificate. This means you may have to stay in paradise a little longer (yay!).
5. Register your marriage in your home country
The United States recognizes the validity of marriages performed overseas. This means that if your marriage is legal in Bali, it will be legal in your home country, as well. However, it would be a good idea to translate your Marriage Certificate in case you need to prove that you’re married, such as when applying for spousal benefits.
Plan the destination wedding of your dreams
Getting legally married in Bali means familiarizing yourself with the dos and don’ts of the land. Once you’ve got that covered, it will all be smooth sailing from there. By using this guide, you’ll be able to put together a beautiful, memorable celebration in one of the most romantic places in the world.
For more tips on planning a Bali wedding, including choosing a venue, a wedding planner, other wedding vendors, and everything in between, be sure to read The Bali Bride blog. Or, if you’re already deep into wedding planning, contact us and we’ll connect you with everything you need for your Bali Wedding. (Including your guests’ accommodation and transfers)