A religious ceremony is considered a legal marriage in India. At present, marriage registration, however, becomes a legal requirement in the country. A formal marriage certificate from the Registrar of Marriage is mandatory for non-resident Indians (NRIs) when they try to move abroad and apply for visas.
India, being secular and diverse, has so many religions. With people from different cultures and religions, the government of India offers various marriage acts so that they can register their marriages accordingly. The acts include the Hindu Marriage Act 1995, the Christan Marriage Act 1872, the Muslim Marriage Act, the Parsee Marriage and Divorce Act 1936 and the Special Marriage Act 1954.
How to register Indian marriage in the USA?
You are an Indian living in the United States for several years, and now you want to get married to someone from your host country. You may not be aware of the procedure. You have to issue a ‘no objection letter’ from the Embassy or Consulate of your host country in such a case. The Embassy may ask for proof of termination of any past marriages (if any) before a marriage certificate is given.
If you’re a Hindu and want to register your marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act, follow the below process:
- Download the Miscellaneous Application form separately and fill it out carefully with you and your spouse’s documentary proof of date of birth.
- Affix both of you and your spouse’s photographs and one marriage photo together in different forms.
- Before submitting the form, ensure that you and your spouse are not related to each other as the Hindu Marriage Act, or Special Marriage Act prohibits marriage within the same gotra, as well as inter-caste and inter-religious marriages.
- Attested copy of separation order in case of a divorced person and death certificate of the previous partner is widow/widower.
- If your spouse belongs to another religion like Jain, Buddhist, Sikh or Christan, a conversion declaration from the priest who solemnized the marriage is needed.
- A Gazetted officer must attest all the documents except receipt.
- Your spouse and you can separately submit a duly signed Self Sword Marriage Affidavit.
- Both of you have also to submit the original and copy of the current passports (Indian and American) you hold. You also have to provide an original and photocopy of the document illustrating the applicant’s valid US Visa status.
- You are also required to provide original and photocopy of any of your proof of residence of the applicant, e.g., US Driving License, Utility Bill, Lease Agreement, State Identity Card or Mortgage Deed.
- Submit all original supporting documents to the Consular Officer. Attach photocopies of these documents with the application.
- You have to pay $25 per copy and an additional fee of $2 towards the Indian Community Welfare Fund per application. You may pay the fee in cash or as two separate money order/cashiers’ cheques, drawn separately to fee and ICWF, favouring the Embassy of India, Washington DC.
- The application generally processes within the same day; however, it may take some more time due to technical errors and an issue with a document provided.