Want to Marry a Foreigner? Over Their Dead Body

The Shoura Council is an advisory body comprised of 150 members appointed by the King and serves as a quasi-parliament. Those members are academics, technocrats and businessmen. They are, in other words, the intelligentsia of the Saudi society, the crème de la crème, the elite, the… well, you get the idea.

However, I find myself rather gobsmacked by some of the conclusions they make and the recommendations they reach on some issues. Here’s a recent example: after being equally split over a need to simplify the regulations of Saudi marriages to foreigners, the newly appointed vice president Bandar al-Hajjar rejected the proposal. What a disappointing start for Mr. al-Hajjar who was just a few days ago the president of the National Society for Human Rights.

I do not understand the harsh restrictions enforced on citizens who want to marry foreigners. Why should the government bother with who one chooses to marry? I really do not understand the government’s obsession with interfering in the minutiae of people’s personal lives.

The argument offered by the proposal opponents is embarrassingly weak and wrongheaded they should be ashamed of themselves. “Such recommendations would greatly increase the number of Saudis marrying foreigners while we are fully aware of the complications that such marriages create,” they said. They also said changes would only exacerbate the problem of spinsterhood in the Kingdom. Are they trying to convince us that by taking these unfair measures they are actually protecting Saudi women?

As for the “complications” bit, the best response comes from Sabria Jawhar who says, “Well, those complications are created by the Saudi government in the first place. Perhaps minimizing the complications that exist in the law would help those marriages.”

Now how can a large group of supposedly intelligent people all agree on taking such an unintelligent position is just beyond me. Sadly, it is not the first time and this is not an isolated, single case. Remember the weekend thing?

Around one year ago, my good friend Khaled said that we should not get all worked up over the nonperformance of the Shoura Council because it is nothing more than a dead body that we should respectfully leave to rest in peace. I guess he was right all along.

136 thoughts on “Want to Marry a Foreigner? Over Their Dead Body

  1. The day will come when the Shoura Council will talk and debate if we as Saudis have the right to travel to work outside Saudi Arabia, or if we are in titled to live and enjoy the beauties the life presents, the philosophy of reject is a mindset of a very insecure Saudi elite.

  2. So I can’t marry my British girlfriend ='( ?
    I’ll tell Kate that I can’t marry her cause my government already choose my wife. Who she’s actually married to the government. NOT ME!

  3. I’ve already vented furiously about this before, so I’m so not going to go there again.

    My brand new shiny two cents, though, wonders if regulations would be more effective if they spent their efforts in improving their daughters’ “marriageable qualities” so that they don’t turn into social wallflowers, which requires giving them intelligence and self esteem and oh, how do I say this, some WORTH.

    But that wouldn’t do the boys any good, would it? No, a smart, self-appreciating, independent and intelligent wife is so much worse than a wallflower…


  4. heres a clue, let Saudi women choose to marry who they want, be able to pass on citizenship to their foriegn spouse (like men) and have the ability to pass on citizenship to their children (like men) and perhaps that will ease all problems they think marrying foriegners creates. Would solve the spinsterhood issue all in one go.

  5. I’m not familiar with other Arab countires but in Lebanon as well as Saudia, women can’t pass their citizenship to their children if they marry a foreigner, regardless of religious affiliation. Although a more “liberal” country, the same old rules apply. Don’t expect anything to change since Lebanon is a confessional government. In that regard, I don’t see anything changing in Saudia at all…the chance for change is greater in Lebanon.

  6. @Nzingha:

    Yes, let’s increase the amount of citizens in Saudi Arabia, a country with a huge birth rate and an ever increasing unemployment rate that estimates rate at least over 10% and the need to create 300’000 jobs a year in a one pony economy. Good Job.

  7. *should respectfully leave to rest in peace*
    But they’re probably right…
    Chances are that if it was simple and woman had equal rights in marrying foreigners, they would do just that, and there wouldn’t be a ”spinster” problem, but a ”bachelor” problem; as there would be very few saudi women left for the saudi men.
    Perhaps saudi men could turn the tide by submitting to a very fast re-education-course by non-stop watching all episodes of ”Noor”.
    Until then they have to keep the women from fleeing by making it impossible.

  8. well … it is a farce, obviously

    while our king is ferociously promoting the principles of peace and tolerance abroad …

    maybe it would do some good to the council to try and think about why some saudi women want to marry foreigners

    a frighteningly large proportion of divorced saudi ladies who i have had some sort of contact with told me that they would never ever marry a saudi man again, now there’s some food for thought for the council

    obviously, as long as the regulation of male spouse behaviour is out of the question (as we, males, have the right to do whatever we want with the household item that we call our wives, obviously), the only way to regulate this is the forceful prevention of international marriages

    i am ashamed to be associated with these people and their backward and arrogant ways of thinking (thinking ,,. far from that … the lack of thinking, rather)

    • Man…u got that right! & to tell u the truth, I am a Saudi woman who is married to my beloved Jordanian & I am so proud of this marriage. However, when I hear anything concerning these regulations & how unjust thy are, I feel furious! cuz this filthy government is not protecting Saudi women! NO! they r just bossing around every woman in this stupid country as if we are their slaves or something!” they actually believe that they have all the right to do so”!!( can u imagine this lousiness)) !!! that’s why I’ve always hated this country & never felt that I belong here! these rules reflect the huge mass of ignorance within this failing & good-for-nothing country which I hate to be part of it!! I swear its a shame….

  9. @Mohamed S

    Shame on you! you haven’t tasted how it feels like being born and raised in a country for more than 25 years and they you are banned to be a citizen, and not only that but people justify this with ISLAM!!! pity!

    I really want to know how would it feel to have this with your children, at the time you’ll realize that you have gone north, and that these “racist” ideas will not prevail.

  10. by the way, i must add though that as far as i know, it is more difficult for a saudi man to marry a foreigner than for a saudi woman to do the same, but this thought is only based on what i heard from friends etc, so this may not be the case generally

    whatever the case is, this regulation is severely obsolete and embarrassing and gives the system the power to interfere with something that they have nothing to do with

    but they do like to interfere with things that they have nothing to do with, don’t they?

  11. @brownie

    Absolutely true, a Saudi man can’t marry a foreigner without a permit from the Saudi Minister of Interior and that is not issued unless the Local Emara approves a letter request from the Saudi guy “explaining” why he would marry a “non-Saudi”! and if it was a girl her father has to write down a letter explaining why his daughter wants to marry a “non-Saudi”.

    And yet, welcome to the Kingdom of “Humanity” = )


  12. There are several points here worth pondering.

    The Kingdom prides itself on the fact that all laws, and especially family law like this, are based on the Quran as defined by the ulemaa. The question arises as to what theological basis the ulemaa use to deny one group of believers (Saudis) the right to freely intermarry with believers anywhere else in the world.

    The effect of this law, clearly, is to (1) exclude foreign contaminating influences from Saudi society, on the premise that foreigners would bring in ideas that could threaten the monopoly on power of the ulemaa, (2) to maintain a concentration of power and wealth, without dilution, among the Kingdom’s citizens; and (3) to petrify the existing social hierarchy in the Kingdom, inasmuch as already there exist practices in which Saudis are not socially free to marry any other Saudi, but can generally only marry others within a few socially “acceptable” groups. This also has the effect of retaining all power to the ulemaa.

    Finally, by denying a fundamental human freedom — freedom of association, the right to freely associate with and marry one’s own chosen spouse is severely curtailed.

    A logical corollary of this new law would be to actually require that the Kingdom approve of, and provide permission to marry those who are Saudi citizens. Or perhaps, to eliminate the pretense and simply have the ulemaa assign spouses to one another?

  13. Ahmed, this means we can’t get married! Quick! you have to do something before I get impatient and said yes to someone else..


    love your writing, btw…

  14. Hello Ahmad,
    One thing to mention on the government doesn’t stop , the government blocks a long list of names that parents are not allowed to give to their child. Well, the reasons why they do that are many, so the list is so long.

  15. @ Mohamed S

    Dude, you’re missing the point. The Saudis who complain about the regulation are the ones who want to Marry-out, not Marry-in. Bi-national couples don’t marry and then stick to their marriages for the sake of a career boost, man!

    And you can’t control the ANY economy by forbidding people from marrying their loved ones. Look at it this way, if Saudis were allowed to marry other nationalities, maybe THEN they can learn a thing or two about birth control. Hence providing leverage to that economy you were worried about, ya?

    • God bless ya man ! I’ve really liked most of the replays here…it’s like u have written or said what’s in my mind!
      I really don’t know what to say but,,its really sad to feel that u truly don’t wanna belong to your country & I wonder if the government would give a s*** about it !!
      cuz I’ve never heard from anyone in the world who deeply hates his/her own nation! I’d rather be anything but Saudi!
      its like they enjoy watching us struggling psychologically just for the sake of settling things down which actually these things dont worth any teeny tiny bit of trouble!!
      only God knows what they deserve for stealing the inner peace from our souls..

  16. This is rule of forbidding people to marry foreigner is at best a blasphemy when joined with the issue of not giving citizenship to the children born from that holy matrimony between 2 people of a very different countries.

    First, Salman Al-Farisi was accepted by Rasullulah SAW as a friend and confidant. He is a farsi/foreigner call him what you like. He get the citizenship of Medina.

    Secondly, Rasulullah had preferred us to marry people we don’t know. He preferred that we make new blood ties instead of marrying our cousins or relatives.

    Thirdly, Rasulullah SAW himself married foreigner.

    I could go on and on with more examples, but it will bore all of your reader ;)
    So, have you no shame O Shura Council?

    Anyway, same problem here in my country. No ikhwanul muslimin, just ikhwanul Malaysian!

  17. @Loay:

    I have never mentioned Islam anywhere in post nor anything racist at all. The sole reason for this is decreasing spinsterhood and the fact that Saudi Arabia simply can not support anymore citizens then it already has.

    And if I was in this situation? I would have moved away from Saudi Arabia a long time ago. It has limited opportunities for anything (employment,education..ect.) either for citizens or spouses of citizens.


    Why would Saudis marrying non-nationals make them learn about birth control?

  18. hey ahmed you just making me happy every day :( , and you know where i stand , god damn it !!! i think it’s a shame that our won people treat us this way .

    it’s been said the kingdom of humanity ;)
    i’ll read the whole article later , so busy at the office now

    see ya

  19. Ahmed,
    I have never believed in this Shoura thing nor in any other council in this country (KSA indeed)

    and I am not surprised from the conclusions they reach.. I am actually AMAZED that they DO REACH ONES!!

    As you said.. they are the ELITE.. and they can never reach conclusions or take decisions that can do well for the lower class.. because they simply have no idea how do we Normally Live!! They live in their own Crystals!

  20. It is actually more restrictive and prohibitive for a Saudi woman to marry a non-Saudi spouse. I have written on this topic as well as the timely process and requirements for a Saudi man to marry a non-Saudi woman.

    However one thing should be made clear….it is not that the man and woman are prohibited from marriage per se. An Islamic marriage or even a civil ceremony can take place but without the governmental approval, the couple cannot live together as husband/wife in the Kingdom, the husband can not be the mahrem.

    If interested, please visit my blog (http://americanbedu.com) where you can do searches on marriage, saudi marriage and find the various postings I have done on this topic.

  21. They are living on another planet.. I already commented about how pissed I am on Al Watan website.. I can simply put it to the following question.

    Why don’t they ask are Saudis marrying foreigners and not Saudi Girls?

    I am quite positive if they ask the right questions.. they will have the right answers.. other than that.. they are choking society into finding its own alternatives out of the mess they create.

    Misyar, Marrying foreigners, sex toursim… all of these are symptoms to a root problem.. young Saudis.. Men and women.. are trying to find alternatives.. how can we not see how simple it is that those two see a dead road togeather with the way things are? we just have blind gophers for a council.

  22. o..m..g…wsh da5alhom bilthab6..ana illy batzawajah mo hom!!..

    they have to butt in everything…OMG IM SO FURRRRRIOUSE RIGHT NOW…we cant even choose whom we can marry !!…niiiiiiiiiiiice!!! =D!!
    dude im like fuming over her!!…

  23. even though I would love to get married to a Saudi woman (beauty/lifestyle/cuisine, etc..) I can understand the Govt.’s heavy handedness with regards to this.

    See, in Canada, they allow easy marriage to foreigners and I have personally seen many cases where the spouse comes over to Canada, gets his/her paperwork done (so basically after 3 years they become citizens) and they leave the spouse!

    Can you imagine the pain and suffering the victim goes through?

    Saudi women can still get married to foreigners but I read the process takes close to 1.5 years to 2 years.

    Oh well, such is life I guess.

    • oohhhh for crying out loud !!!!!!! Sarah I swear u drive me mad!!! what r u so0o anxious about!! if u didn’t wanna marry someone from a cleaner & better society that your , then FINE !!! just try not to justify for this filthy government of yours !! they already bullying and making their way & they don’t need our support believe me!!!
      I am so0o happy for the change in my life that I am married to a non-stupid Saudi…sorry Saudi guys I’ve offended u big times but I meant the bad ones honestly not the educated,intelligent and open-minded ones.

  24. I think this is another reason why I don’t like to live in Saudi Arabia….Human rights violation. What if the Saudi will marry a Muslim Jordanian, Palestinian, Egyptian and worse a Christian just like Prohet Mohammad, is that a crime? I think there was better human rights in Jaheliyah and Prophet Mohamad days than it is today. Alot of change is needed in KSA, and there are many well educated Saudi intellectuals who can make it happen

  25. @Ali Dada

    When the Canadians and American decided to ease marriage to Foreigners they knew that some people might take advantage of that, so what did they do? put heavy restrictions? NO, they enlighten anyone who wants to marry a Foreigner and then “leave them the choice”, they don’t babysit them in every decision they make.

    And if 1 or 2 or 3 cases happen the way you said it still wouldn’t be reasonable enough to put a restriction on easing marriage, people there think differently, while we are so good in talking about Islam and the freedom of choice it provided when it comes to the ground the s*** hits the fans.


  26. “a large group of intelligent people all agree on taking such an unintelligent position ”

    this is a definition of goverment workgroup ….

  27. **Update**

    A friend of mine last night was talking with me about this issue, he is Egyptian born in Riyadh and he resides now in Riyadh as he works, he said that he married his co-worker friend and she is Saudi, it took 8 months to get the permit from the Ministry of Interior.

    Maybe the “born-Foreigners” take faster processing than normal Foreigners, he said the same applies to the Foreigner girl who was born in Saudi.

    8 months is good but still..there is no need to make it through the Ministry of Interior.

    The strange thing he mentioned was that her father in the proposal had to write “reasons for his daughter to marry a non-Saudi” !! I mean WHAAAAAAAAT ????!!! It’s not like she is gonna marry an INFIDEL to give reasons!!! GOD !!!

    When guys want to marry their compatriots the families put a HIIIIGGH “Mahr” and things get so complicated and when they want to marry non-Saudis the GOVERNMENT bothers!!!

    I guess they want us all GAYS and vote against Prop 8 in California :P LOL

    Things are very complicated here, and that fact is undisputed.


  28. Have the Shoura Council considered that there highly regarded Saudi Men (or Women) will, instead of staying in the Kingdom move to the country of the foreign wife and NEVER return to Saudi Arabia?
    With intelligent Saudi men and Women moving to different countries, paying taxes and beefing up the economy of the foreign spouses country. How will this reflect in 10 years time on the Saudi Governments decisions, with the population getting older and no Grand kids there to support the ageing?
    Forget the emotional aspect of this ridiculous decision, consider the economic side. With the Saud Government increasing payments for students studying outside of the kingdom I have a hunch we will be seeing a lot more inter racial love affairs and marriages as time goes on. Where will these so called intelligentsia be then?? And will there decisions be different??

  29. @Web0908:

    A huge amount of Saudi Arabia’s population is under the age of 20. Not 10 years, think 50 years and a lot could happen in that time period.

  30. I wonder if anyone of these couples have attempted to apply to the UN on grounds of deprivation of Human Rights?
    Particularly Article 16
    Everyone shall have the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law and
    Article 17
    No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honour and reputation.
    Just a thought….

  31. And of course…
    Article 23
    The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
    The right of men and women of marriageable age to marry and to found a family shall be recognized.

  32. @Loay:

    Personally, I find all this immigration/citizenship kinda unnatural. The more open the World’s system, the better it would be for humanity.

    Oh well, can’t change the laws.
    FYI I have seen many many cases where such immigration fraud occured. There is no enlightment, etc. given to those Canadians who want to marry foreigners.

    At the end, I guess really Allah SWT has a fate written for all of us and that fate is for our own benefit even if no benefit is visible to us.

  33. @Ali Dada

    I agree with you, and I’m aware of these frauds, and no one can EVER agree with that, but should we ban a citizen to marry a Foreigner because there are some wackos that take advantage of that? This is not the way that we should think, I guess that marriage is a tie that has no boundries and no limitations and goes far beyond that, everyone should be responsible for their call.

    An American girl or a Canadian girl can fairly determine on her own who wants to take advantage of her and who doesn’t. Believe me, they can.

    Off the record:

    ya a5i elli yesma3ak yegol alzawaj sahl fel so3odeya, shoof bass keef almohoor wal3aadaat alqabaleya almota5alefa

    Sorry for the Anglo-Arabic statement up there, I couldn’t put it better in English :D LOL

    Best Regards,

  34. I was shocked to read that Mr. Al-Hajjar used to be the president of the National Society for Human Rights! He above all should have firsthand knowledge on how hard these regulations can be on Saudis who wish to marry foreigners. Well for those who don’t have wasta that is. Maybe his decision was influenced by the numerous cases he witnessed of divorce and child custody disagreements between Saudis and foreigners and Allah knows best.

    I linked your post to my blog for further reading…


  35. The goverment of KSA can bann or allow inter cultural marriages, but…is the Saudi society ready for accept this kind of marriages? A Saudi woman and her family will accept a foreign man as husband for their daughter? A Saudi family will accept with any problem a foreing wife for their son? Do you really think that the law is the problem?

  36. Sarah,

    The problem is the government’s intervene, we want to be given the choice, and we can carry out the consequences ALONE

    I’m really amazed when I see people talk this way and then later on claim that all what it matters is that we all be Muslims! CUT THE CAP we live in a hypocrite world, we are two-faced, and what we see is not what we get.

    Racism still rules…that is a fact…Look to the Muslims before 1923, we were all one, but now that failed, absolutely.

  37. Loay,
    In my comment I didn’t mention Islam or muslims. If you study Islam in deep, you will find that every muslim can marry with the person they choose, but what you can never forget is that in every country exists traditions, values and practices beyond the law. It’s not bad or good. It’s just the reality we live and I open the question for think more in that. The changes in the nations never happens if the citizens are not prepare or claiming for new standars of life.
    Kind regards,

  38. Sarah,

    I don’t mean to make an argument wallah, but your point emphasizes the problem, that traditions are stronger than religion in many countries! that what really makes me so mad and furious!! We can’t neglect the fact that we are all Muslims, a Muslim can marry any Muslima even if she doesn’t know her lineage or she doesn’t belong to a tribe.

    We have traditions in our tribe, and you know something? our traditions might be the most restrictive traditions in all Arab tribes, but guess what?! some members managed to fight and they prevailed over those traditions because those simply didn’t relate to Islam, we have many branches in Saudi, Egypt, Syria, Iraq and I can tell you that when everyone “applies” Islam with all the teachings it encompasses all the problems will fade away.

    But we just “pretend” and don’t actually “act”, that is what I call “Pretending but not acting syndrome”, Allah ye5arejna.


  39. Loay,
    For solving a problem you have to see what is the problem, then it comes the solution/s. Changes in societies will not occur in 1, 2 days…takes long time. Ahmad in his blog for example, is giving to their people another point of view. That is a very important and beautiful thing.
    Dear Loay, getting angry does not solve anything. In KSA maybe this tradition of getting marry between Saudis will change through the years…or maybe not, but for sure if this way of behave doesn’t change, how it can be possible that most of the Saudi citizens complain about the legal procedures of getting married with foreigners in KSA?

  40. Complications? As an American man married to a Saudi woman I can tell you first hand that the only “complications” we have come directly from the Saudi government themselves.

    So much for the land of Islam. Anyone care to come up with an Islamic reason to ban marriages to foreigners? There isnt any.

    This is about sexism, racism, xenophobia and insecure men.

    To this day I cannot even travel to Saudi with my wife, my wife cannot visit Saudi without the permission of a Mehram (male member of her family) even though she is a married woman.

    Our two boys do not have the right to Saudi citizenship, as is the case in every civilised country in the world. Too bad most of the Middle East doesnt fall into this category.

    My wife cannot get a passport, she is not eligible for the scholarship, all because she is married to a non Saudi Muslim man.

    We have both spent hours and hours trying to get help from the Saudi Embassy here, with no avail.

    Meanwhile, the trade in foreign wives for Saudi men grow. The same men unwilling to marry widowed and divorced Saudi women. If they were more willing to follow the example of the prophet and marry widows and divorcees maybe there wouldnt be so many Saudi women wanting to marry non Saudi men.

    I have been blogging now for almost 4 years and I get e-mails all of the time from Saudi women wanting to know how to marry foreigners, how to get their families to accept it, you name it.

    More insanity that is the culture of Saudi Arabia.

  41. stupid people. they should go back to learning the basic islamic principles at the nursery level.
    our Prophet actually encouraged us to marry ppl from other culture so muslims from 2 different parts of the world can come together.
    why th does saudi arabia have to claim to be the guardians of islam. please stop saying that and do whatever the heck you want, just stop using islam w/ every action u take. you guys give islam a bad name.

  42. “To this day I cannot even travel to Saudi with my wife, my wife cannot visit Saudi without the permission of a Mehram (male member of her family) even though she is a married woman.”

    wow abu sinan, i read the story of a saudi woman who wasnt allowed to travel b/c she had the *permission* of her dad to travel. the authorities pointed out shes married and needs herh usband approval! talk abt double standards. no wonder ksa is in a mess.

  43. @Sarah,

    I’m not mad nor angry, I might be a bit enthusiast, I respect all opinions but as I said to you, when we can’t intervene in the changes in our society nothing will happen, we must take a place in the process.

    And then the people can speak and determine by their own what is the best for them, right?

    @Abu Sinan

    I think there is an amendment about that, go and check with the embassy again about letting your wife to get a scholarship, I know someone whos his wife studies in Canada with him and he is non-Saudi.

    Sorry to hear your suffer, but God willing the change will surface soon on our beloved country.


  44. I am engaged to a saudi for four years now and we’ve been waiting for that permit to marry (from saudi government) seems like forever!

    We can’t proceed to marry outside of the kingdom because according to some muhamis, there’ll be more complications with the release of that tasreh. I am an expat, so if we marry outside of the kingdom, we travel back like we’re not together, and if he would visit me in my accomodation, would it mean like he will come like a thief in the night?

    So this is really a hopeless case for us!

  45. Assalamualikum Wa Rasmatullah wa Barakatuh

    This issue is a huge dilemma…I am originally from Venezuela leaving in the UK, I met a Saudi bother 3 years ago here, his mother and his father were happy with his choice of marry me, so we did marry here in England and alhamdulillah we have a successful marriage life.

    However we request to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia the permission (iqama) to legalize our marry there. My mother-in-law passed away last year, I couldn’t go to Saudi to support my husband and in-laws because our situation.

    so my father-in-law was alone there and my husband and I decide to bring him here with us, but my father-in-law just stay with us just in the summer he can not cope the winter… poor thing

    I still waiting for Saudi Arabia allow me to get into the country, my husband come to UK every 4 weeks to see me and on top of that we can not have children till the kingdom give us the permission.

    that is not Islamic that is extremely unfair and I think the Saudi national they can marry anyone the want.

    [49:13] O people, we created you from the same male and female, and rendered you distinct peoples and tribes, that you may recognize one another. The best among you in the sight of GOD is the most righteous. GOD is Omniscient, Cognizant.

    I just wonder how can the government of Saudi Arabia manage all those students that are in the south of England and most of they are all ready marry here with lady’s from everywhere around the globe? and not just here in UK, Canada, USA, Australia and everywhere.

    I hope Allah (swa) mercy enter in the heart of those who make the decision of our life’s and allow all of us to be happy with our own choice…

    • Hey Sarah, I wonder if you re still waiting for the approval from the Saudi government. Im facing the same situation. For me he’s the best person I ever met. We re very happily married too. Of course we do argue at times as any other but we do love each other very much.Im really hoping we get the permission so I dont need to worry anymore about him with all the flights he takes and driving for so long after a flight and also having the opportunity of being next to his mum and sisters and brothers.. I really hope all went well for you and please give meany advice that you have. Thank you so much!!!!

  46. I do not understand. Is Saudi Arabia not based on Sharia law, and in Sharia Muslim women can marry any man as long as he is a Muslim. It does not matter if he is English, Moroccan, Pakistani or Nigerian as long as he is a Muslim then there is no restriction. Any this is interesting, because Saudi claims to be a country governed by Islam, yet how can they have restrictions like this?

  47. yes it is very sad, that Saudi Arabia have so many restriction with the Saudi national…myself I didn’t believe it. but now I am in the situation and it is very frustrating to see how life is passing and we still waiting for a decision of someone who is not even part of my husband family. the life of Saudi man depend in how much money he can pay for that permission or how many friends he knows in the office minister. I think is not human right at all… but I feel more sad for the Saudi lady’s because for them can be even worse and sometime the woman leave Saudi Arabia to be with their love one…subhana allah. that is not islam

  48. Hello everyone, little update… after 5 month of waiting for the permission, we received the news …
    The people in charge to ruin my husband life and mine decided to reject our application… that means the Imara office in Jeddah take part in my life and they are not even related to us to make such of decision …my husband and I are very breakpointed for this outcome. so I am marry officially by the United kingdom law and the rest of the world except to Saudi Arabia are this people normal??? that is the most anti human right action I ever see in my life also anti Islamic,,, that is ridiculous. we need to appeal our case and guess what ?? they don’t even know how we can do it… this people are jokers Estafirullah

  49. Dear Sarah,

    Last year we are waited for 7 months and after all in-out to Saudi (as we are living and working in Qatar) even i forgot how many time my fiance he went to Riyadh, so in the last step, in last 5% in order to reach 100% – they denied. :( And its was last bad news in year 2008 as they refused on 29th of December.
    From next day we started another tactics and till mean time waiting, insha`Allah we will get it.

    Wishing you all the best and let Allah to bless your efforts.

  50. Thank you Dear Lana,

    I Know how bad is the feeling to not be able to be with your love one.

    Lana did you make new application?? or your fiancée appeal the old application??

    My husband and I we married here in England UK 3 years ago and in our application, we said the truth that we were married here and they know we are married, so that is very bad and cruel of this people in charge of this matter to said not to us or anyone who is marry non Saudi. people have the right to choice their husband or wife, at the end of the day is people life not the minister life.

    we need help… how can we understand the Saudi law, How can we appeal a case???
    I want to be with my husband that is very upsetting ..

    Allah (swa) guide us and help us in this agony to be patient and tolerant …


  51. Sara and Lana,

    It seems that my little hope is fading. i read your problems because we are on the same boat. My fiance is a saudi national and im a foreigner. We met when i was working in the kingdom.I went back in my country so he can prepare his papers and same here too. When I read your comments dark clouds hover my hopes.I feel weak now and almost to give up.







  53. Dear Sarah,

    Ameen, ya Rabb.

    We are not married yet as he wants to obtain permission first and as in ur case he wants to get it and then to have a kids ( and i do agree with him).

    During last 3 years we tried 3 times and this time is the 4th one.
    Even earlier he tried to make it with wasta and its ended with cheating, nothing done/happened only we got some more problem on his head.

    Recently he discovered the main reason of our refuses, as 8 years back he got a permission but than time i left him coz of my silly mind.

    Anyway we are still waiting and praying for the positive result, insha`Allah.

    Julie T,

    I felt hopeless too but still have power for waiting and hope. These clouds are temporary and its the matter of time.

    Girls, insha`Allah we will get it. :)







  55. Good evening Sarah, :)

    There is always a way and we (girls) are never looking for the easy/simple way, specially in LOVE. :)
    And 100% agree with you regarding support to our man, as they really need it.

    Kind regards,

  56. i want to marry a foreigner from tunisia caled ahmed…am i allowed to marry him if im from the uk ?

  57. Hi vicki,

    I am living in the UK too, I have a lot of friends married with Tunis man.

    so far I know there is not problem to marry him, congratulation and go for it.

    here the main trauma is marry Saudi Arabian man, that is my case, I did married him any ways here in the UK but I am not recognize as his wife in his country and I am not allowed to visit him there as his wife and on top of that we can not have children till the permission from his government is approve it … so perfect nightmare.

    have a good wedding take care

  58. Salyam Sarah,

    How is going your things with the permission, hope at least some1 getting good news. :)
    Our procedure seems will slow down as now is a time for the vacations, after that Ramadam and Eid (nobody working :( ) hopefully by October will get an updates, insha`Allah.

  59. Salam dear lana,

    nice to hear from you, I still in the waiting nothing so far, my husband is coming to the UK to see me and stay the summer and Ramadam here inshaallah. After that Ramadam inshaallah we hope to have news. inshaallah I hope that you have news soon inshaallah



  60. Sarah and Lana, Salam to you both!

    I am in a similar predicament as the two of you. I was curious as to how far your processes have gone to. Specifically, in terms of paper work and procedures, what were the last step or two that your fiances took?

    Thanks :)

  61. salam, Add

    I hope you are ok, I am fine alhamdulillah, in the waiting like everybody :(
    I hope to hear from you soon

    Salam Sarah

  62. Thanks Lana, I’ve emailed you.

    Sarah, what was the last piece of paper work that you and your fiance filed? Are there any more paperwork required? Or have you submitted absolutely everything but are still waiting?


  63. One would think it wouldn’t be as difficult for a citizen to apply for leniency in such cases, amazing when you realize you’re no different than a foriegner in this regard. I’m a Saudi citizen ( of Somali heritage )and am engaged to a woman who has a yemeni passport ( Somali/Syrian ). She was born AND raised here, feels Saudi, and is a cultured and bright woman. Abusinan had hit the nail on the head, without Wasta, you’re pleas fall on deaf ears, which is why I’ve had to bribe my way through all the processes, as I work in Dhahran ( Eastern Province ), I had to outsource my request by handing it to a Muraji ( Man who deals with government institutions in place of people who have not the time/tolerance to do so for a fee ). Started with this process late march, and if any of you are looking at todays date, June 28th, I still have not gotten my approval. What does that tell you, Ladies and Gentleman. I’m actually a citizen living WITHIN the borders of the country, wanting to get married to a woman who ( had things went right ) would have been born a Saudi citizen with ties to this country.
    Is it a hassle? Yes. Is it frustrating? Yes. Will it be worth it when I eventually get the permission? Absolutely

    Stay patient people and may Allah bless all those who believe and persevere

  64. assalam every1, i’m an irani muslim,not an arab, i’ve met this saudi girl over a year ago, and it’s been a while that we fell in love and we’ve decided to get married. both agreed…we know each other well enough to do so.and she wants to live outside saudi, with me. so no worries about living there. or getting married in saudi. just to convince her father is what my problem is. not to mention that he himself married a western, but he doesn’t approve me for some reason! he hasn’t even attempted to meet me, kept making excuses.even tho i am willing to convert to sunni. willing to do anything to change his mind…but what i want to know from every1, from ur experience, & knowing your own ppl, 1st of all are there any chances, if so, what can i possibly do to make him approve of me. just him tho, the rest of the family is ok with it. so i need your help asap….contact me plz… thx every1.

  65. Faris, not to discourage you from following through with this, but I’m certain as you’re aware of the cultural aspect that attempting to ask for the hand in marriage of the woman in question you had to speak with her father first. Sure it might not seem to be difficult with her mother being a westerner as you say, but as her father is a Saudi Arab, did you not suspect that his preference for his daughter would also have to be an Arab first and foremost. Plenty of my friends are Saudi citizens but of ancestry outside Saudi Arabiua and eventhough they are seen as Saudi by society as a whole, Saudi Arab families would not even entertain mixing their bood with outsiders, not even other Arabs from different clans, tribal culture reigns supreme, I should know, I’m Saudi but of Somali ancestry and this is exactly what led to the strife in my ancestral home. I appreciate your efforts to convert to Sunni Islam, but know it is greater than that, some Arabs harbour animosity towards Iranians. Anyway, I wish you the best of luck and I hope you dont let this lead you to cynicism.

  66. For the story of an Iranian American family rejecting a Pakistani American suitor, read the blog “Broken Mystic” started because of his broken heart. One year on he is doing alot better. Also a generally interesting blog on a variety of cross cultural and socio-political topics, and his more recently started more socio-political current evets one “Muslim Reverie”.

    Tribal cultures are even less likely to intermix than Arabs from countries where tribes are less important, at least in the major cities–then you just have to deal with ethnicity, religion, nationality, and Mother’s other plans!

  67. A word of caution to all the Saudi gentleman who are in a situation as myself, hoping to marry a non-Saudi woman. If she is born in the kingdom and resides there, the process is sped up at an exponential pace. I handed in my request in April and should get the permission sometime in the next couple of weeks. Best of luck to all the people out there.

  68. Assalamualikum Azis,

    Can you tell me if you don’t mind of caurse how can someone applay for the permission? whish one is the procedure? where to go? is there a solicitor that can do the request? sorry to ask you to much but My husband request the permition last dicembre and their refuced our application, that take nearly 5 month, so now we are thinking in make apeal or make new request but w are not sure what to do, because there is not one who can help with this essue, please brother if you have any idea how can my husband make this aplication all of us will be greatfull for that.

    thank you very much


    • Sarah–I’m sure Aziz will reply more knowledgeably but based on the responses to similar questions on other blogs, a lawyer is a good idea, and so is wasta (influence).

  69. Alsalamalaikum Sarah,

    A sort of solicitor ( Mukhalis ) as your husband will be familiar with, is the best route for your application. I’ve run my request through him, ofcourse, it would’ve yielded faster results had it not been for lack of farsight on both of us. When I had him act on my behalf the first time, and issued a paper giving him right to handle all my dealings with the ministries of : Foreign Affairs, interior and the National ID Agency, it came back within two weeks and was rejected because his full name was not there, I was shocked and said it was, he said no as his name on it was : name, fathers name, Family name. It should’ve been : name, fathers name, grandfathers name, family name. Again, taking a couple hours off work to issue a new one.
    You will need, as I’m sure your husband has supplied :

    1. Your UK marriage license
    2. Your proof of faith ( it does help, as most court officials are religious clerics as well and will look favorably on this )
    3. Copy of original passport
    4. Testimony from your Husbands family members claiming you are your husbands wife ( this doesnt happen often but has been asked in the case of some, including two of my uncles )

    Chiara – A wasta will only get you so far unless you’re intimately close to the person acting on your behalf, otherwise it will always require greasing the wheels a little. The man I know is decent, but, as a Mukhalis and one who does this for a living, he will want money, and I’m paying him 15000 Riyals for his services. I’ve already paid him 4000 and he has been ever diligent and he has been told that the remaining balance will be paid when I do travel to Riyadh after he calls me and see AND read the contents of the permission and be satisfied with said paper.

    Sarah – If your Husband has relatives who can handle this, it would be better, or at least that they would know people who can, and through their knowledge, be able to exert some pressure on them to facilitate moving the process forward. I’m praying that your new appeal will find better people involved in the process and who will make it possible for your marriage to be recognized here, as its a shame when people cannot be allowed to marry who they wish.

    Best of luck

  70. Aziz–Thanks for your knowledgeable comment. I tend to roll influence (knowing people), being on the ground, and “monetary grease” into “wasta”, especially when for some reason I can’t find a more diplomatic word than “bribe” LOL.
    In my case (in Morocco) when we went to have my official documents translated to Arabic (required) the translator offered to also have them certified by the 5 necessary Ministries (Justice, Interior, Foreign Affairs, Habous and Islamic Affairs, ?) for an extra fee. We thought about it and my husband (who was taking time off work) decided it was worth it, and it was. Since we had further paperwork glitches, and had to visit the Ministry of Justice we were able to confirm how much time and energy it would have taken to try to do it all ourselves.
    At the actual niqah I was required to have a translator, and a mahrem or father substitute of the Christian faith (since my own father was not in the country, and I didn’t convert). Mine was a member of the Spanish diplomatic corps, an elderly man who agreed at the request of a mutual professor friend, and left his tapas making for an embassy reception to come and do it. All names were required to be registered as you stated above, and once he got though his very long Spanish name, and that of his father’s, he forgot half of his grandfather’s. The very nice adoul who kept the hood up on his jellaba so he couldn’t be seen laughing (or only barely seen laughing), at various points in the ceremony, did laugh along, and waved it off.

    The online magazine “Telquel” in Morocco (slogan “le Maroc tel qu’il est” ie Morocco as it is) did publish a guide in French (and Moroccan?) on how to negotiate one’s way through the bureaucracy (everything from birth to burial, and driver’s licences etc in between) in Morocco– like the list of requirements you gave above, expected time frames, and fees, including how to get around the quasi-legal prohibition of berber names for children. Anyone interested in doing something similar for Saudi (sounds like it would be helpful)?

    All the best to you and your wife, and Sarah and her husband, with the paperwork, and, more importantly, for a long and loving marriage.

  71. Hello guys!!

    after reading all what you wrote…I was so depressed and almost lost hope!! My case is the opposite ( I am a Saudi girl)…

    I thought its not that hard for Saudi men to get married to a non-Saudi women, or should I say easier? actually my uncle and cousin are both married to non-Saudi women, however their wives are from Arab countries. I am not sure what to do, so confused and scared!! I agree this is totally unfair, I mean if the family approve it, Allah approve it, why the government doesn’t??!!

    • Again from information on other blogs, it is definitely harder for a Saudi girl to get a Saudi marriage approval to marry a foreigner, and increasingly harder for anyone now. Tara Umm Omar’s blog “Future Husbands and Wives of Saudis” addresses marriage issues of how to marry a Saudi as its primary purpose, inspired by her own travails (American Muslim woman married to a Saudi, living in Riyadh).
      My understanding is that as unfair, or even unIslamic as it may seem, the government is concerned about demographics and encouraging intra-Saudi marriages.

  72. Thank you Chiara for your wishes, I really hope that all of us get the permission Inshaallah. Chiara you from Spain? sorry to ask…

    I think we should organize a human rigth campaing regarding basic rigth, we all know that it is not islam and I beliave the kingdom of saudi arabia have the best intention to protect their affairs but marriages is a personal choice of everyone.

    sometime i feel depress and also sometime i want to give up but it is very important to all of us to stand up and continue our process on this unjutice situation.

    I think also it is important to understand the saudi rules and regulation and of caurse the burocrasy.

    i am waiting for my second application results and I hope to have positive result but if is not I am really considering to appeal to the international Humand Rigth Comission and make the case public to the whole world even if this cause my divorce I will go for It, I want every men and women of Saudi arabia feel free to marry anyone of their choice. so all of united agains to the foreign marriage police and inshallah we will win this battle.

    also I would lik to share with you all one of my favorite ayas of the Quran.

    For his sake there are angels following one another, before him and behind him, who guard him by Allah’s commandment; surely Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change their own condition; and when Allah intends evil to a people, there is no averting it, and besides Him they have no protector. (Holy Quran 13:11)

    May Allah help us, Ameen

  73. Salam Me!

    Please do not feel depresed Habibty Inshaallah you will have the permision. take time but you need to stand strong again to this unlogical foreign marriage police, don’t get weak always remember there is a lot of girls like you also waiting for this rigth and may Allah help you and all of us that are in th same situation.

    best of luck


  74. Sarah,
    I am a Canadian of Italian origin who has lived in France and for a briefer period in Spain–although I would love to live there! Also I have spent holiday time in the Caribbean but have not been to your appealing home country of Venezuela–yet!

    I think it is important to keep the paperwork hoops separate from the relationship as much as possible–although it does have concrete implications (eg. on willingness to have children, ability to travel together to Saudi, to have the children recognized as Saudi citizens, financial ones,etc), and emotional ones on each person in the couple and the couple itself.

    Sometimes I think all countries put a delay on the approvals, whether for marriage or citizenship, to deliberately test the relationship, and have heard of deliberate delays including by the Canadian government, eg. for people applying from within the country and marrying shortly after arriving here. That was not our case but we had a mysterious 4 month wait between paperwork completion and immigration interview by the Canadian embassy. I used to rant about how it was ridiculous that there wasn’t a single officer available to do the interview over the summer months in Morocco. Recently a Canadian friend married an American, and had the same mysterious 4 month wait–and he wasn’t even required to have an interview! They will be one full year from starting the immigration process when he takes the final step today or tomorrow.

    Our Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau famously said that there should be “no state interference in the bedroom” but in fact if you want a legal bedroom in the same state as each other states do interfere–with permissions to marry, immigration laws, citizenship laws, labour laws, etc.

    Our own marriage process (though not Saudi and easier) was full of what I now call “paperwork nonsense”, and ridiculous demands and “misleadings” (lying is such an ugly word and act, even by omission rather than comission) by both governments. Part way through the process we were at the point of saying “Well at least we know how wars get started” (each government pigheadly demanding documentation that the other doesn’t provide), and planning to give up and have the world’s tackiest wedding in Las Vegas (he had a US work visa, but the Canadian gov’t banned him from travel to Canada during our “marriage odyssey”).

    At different points as we drove back and forth between 2 cities over a period of 10 days, each of us was down. Fortunately we took turns, so each could bolster the other. On the final day before my early AM flight home, all paper work finally settled in the one city, we were rejected in the other–at which point I (generally a non-crier) burst into tears and said “You’re not worth all this paper work! (not my finest hour). My husband advised we go to a cafe on the seacoast, where I could have a tea (he knows me well), and then armed with tea, and his coffee, he said “Look I’ve got the afternoon off work and you’re leaving tomorrow, why don’t we kill the time by going back to the paperwork city and try the adouls there”. I agreed mostly under the influence of tea, and sea coast. We were married during the last appointment of the day, 15 hrs before my flight took off.

    The moral of the story–persist, live, and have your relationship live, to tell the tale, to help others, and to work within the system for change. Keep a sense of humour about it. Remember often both countries are up to nonsense (though admittedly Saudi is more restrictive), and All’s Well that Ends Well!

    The best of luck to Sarah, Aziz, Me, Faris, and all the others above and elsewhere in this position. May you all have positive results, and be happily settled in whichever country!

  75. PS Thank you Sarah, for sharing your favourite ayah.

    PPS If any couple is Islamically and legally married somewhere in the world, and biological clocks are ticking (men have one too), it might be wise to put biology ahead of paperwork, if necessary.

  76. Thanks Sarah!!

    I hope things work out for all!!
    Personally…I am not giving up..not at this point!!


  77. Dear Aziz_Mahmoud,

    Salam Alaikum! I read your posts, and being in a similar position as you, I was wondering if I could get in touch with you via e-mail as I had some questions that I hope you can answer.

    Your help will be much appreciated.


  78. Add–I’m sorry to read that you are still struggling with this. I hope Aziz will read this and reply. You might want to leave a newly created anonymous email address for this purpose, so that he might know where to contact you. If you leave it as blahblah AT server.com it will cut down on spam.

    Just a reminder to all that Tara Umm Omar also has an excellent blog dedicated to “how to marry a Saudi”:
    Future Wives and Husbands of Saudis

    Aziz–you might want to comment there with your excellent advice, and desire to encourage others. The most recent post and the 3rd one back would be very relevent:

  79. Thanks Chiara..

    You are right.. I’ll post an email address.. Hope Aziz can get back to me. Thanks for your encouragement :)

    Aziz, if you could please connect with me at addo966 at yahoo dot com I’d appreciate it =)

    • Add– you are welcome! and all the best in your quest.

      Aziz–your story has done much good already, I hope you read this and respond.

  80. Add, Aziz & anyone else who is going through the marriage permission process or had completed it, please feel free to email me your story/advice to taraummomar at gmail dot com and I’ll post it to my blog so others can benefit from your experiences. That could also include getting support/advice and other readers familiar with the process answering your questions. I always assure confidentiality and allow the use of nicknames or remaining anonymous when posting submissions to my blog.

    Thank you all and thanks some more to Chiara!

    Tara Umm Omar

  81. Hello

    How is everyone? I heard from people that they got the permission in 2 weeks…of course wasta and $$$!!!
    I wish I can get hold of the right people..wasta..

    good luck

  82. Hi Me!

    Are you in the process of seeking permission now, or is it a future project? I hope you weren’t overly discouraged previously.

    Glad to see you back and I hope wherever you are in the process it is going well or will go well.

    All the best

  83. Hi Chiara

    I have not started yet, need to find the right person :)

    I was busy with school and stuff, i wont lose the hope inshallah.

    Thanks and good luck to all

  84. Have not been able to reply as I was incapacitated for a good while, but am now back
    comfortably infront of my pc.

    Chiara I’ve sent an email to add asking how I can be of some assistance, perhaps I can now that my own process has gotten of the ground and reached well past the midpoint.

    If there’s anyway I can help anyone here going through a similar process let me know.



    • Aziz–I’m so glad you are “re-capacitated” and back in front of your p!.
      It was very kind of you to send Add an email.

      I know Tara is/ was very interested in your experience and advice, as she commented above as islamicarticles on Wed Aug 12 at 21:24. You could contact her, or as she is now temporarily offline, and I am temping on her blog at her request
      you could contact me at
      chiaraazlinquestion AT yahoo.com
      to explore how your experience might best be shared at “Future Husbands and Wives of Saudis: Helping you make an informed decision about marrying a Saudi”.
      Whichever you prefer, and glad to see you back in the blogosphere!

  85. Chiara, I’ve sent both add and you respectively

    emails at the addresses you’ve so kindly left

    me here, and have yet to recieve any response

    from either of you regarding questions or

    general queries. I certainly hope that I got both

    your addresses entered correctly before I

    pressed the ” Send ” button.

    • Aziz–My sincerest apologies. I have been regularly collapsing from neophyte blog temping fatigue (LOL :) just kidding Tara) and just checked that public email address, where I indeed received your email message, thank you. As soon as the server/computer jinn sees fit to make it appear in my inbox in my regular email, as forwarded, I will respond (ie today).

      As far as commenting on Tara’s blog, the Name/URL option is really Name only (unless you have a website you want to include) as the URL bit is optional, no email address required either.

      Thank you very much for replying by email and Saudi Jeans.

      I hope Add finds your email too.

      Shokran wa hasta pronto!

  86. Hello everyone…

    I hope things are going smoothly for you who started the process! I’ve noticed that all the posts are Saudi guys marrying non-Saudi girls…right?

    • Hi Me!

      So, have you found “the one”? LOL :)
      There seems to be a mix here of Saudi men applying for foreign wives, and foreign wives whose Saudi men are applying for them

      It seems it is harder for Saudi women to marry foreigners but it happens, and there are stories about that, in fact 24 posts on them, both personal stories and ones from news articles, with the government’s various actions and commentators responses listed here:


      I hope to do a post there in the near future summarizing where things are at with Saudi/non-Saudi marriages to follow on the Royal Saudi mixed marriages posts Tara asked me to do while I temp in her absence.

      As others said above, don’t let the process discourage you, there are success stories after the bureaucratic headaches.

      From Lana much above in this thread:

      Please have a look on attached article and there is a sentence, such as:
      “Despite these strict regulations, the ministry issues about 25 permits daily for Saudis to marry foreign women.” – which is giving hope to me.
      Best regrads,

      In the same way, Saudi women do get permission to marry non-Saudi men, or find an alternative interim solution, like Alyamar at:


      Hope this helps you, whether or not you have found “the one” yet. LOL :)

  87. There is general misconception about a Saudi

    woman attempting to marry a foreign man

    being harder, back when double standards

    used to apply, this rung true, however these

    days it is the easier of the two.

    The main reason for this is to solve the

    problem of a huge # of young women of

    marriagble age and avoiding spinsterhood.

    I only need note our neighbors as an example.

    Thier eldest son used to study in Canada as

    part of the Scholarship provided by a well

    known company here, he met a Canadian

    woman of Egyptian ancestry, they didnt apply

    for the permission as he ( naively ) thought

    that it wouldn’t be a problem, they wed in

    Egypt and went back to completing their

    studies. Lo and behold, as he wished to

    enter through Bahrain, he was told his wife

    was not welcome. He’s been living in Bahrain

    and driving every morning 240 kilometres

    both ways to go to work and get home, and

    its been 4 years since he applied for

    permission to have his marriage recognized.

    Meanwhile, his sister was approached by

    an Egyptian man, and they begun the

    process through the normal channels, 3 months

    later, she was married and had her marriage

    recognized by the Ministry of Interior. Some

    say its all dependent on luck, but that is

    only one or two isolated incidences.

    The major differences between the two cases

    are this :

    1. The man did not apply first and foremost.

    2. His wife had NEVER been a resident or

    born in Saudi Arabia, both of which play

    a huge role in the grant of permission, if she

    was only born there and resided infrequently,

    they would’ve hassled but eventually assist.

    If she had resided and not been born and no

    record of her existed in the archives, they

    would’ve hassled but eventually assisted.

    If she is both born and raised ( resided here

    for her entire life ) its very straight forward,

    as they see this as a sign of serious intent

    on settling down in the country.

    3. He didnt hold the marriage ceremony ( as

    much as it was unofficial ) in Saudi Arabia,

    or even Canada ( where both resided and

    one was a citizen ), instead they chose a

    third country, Egypt. This I’ve learned to be

    a problem as well. Had they been married in

    Canada, they would’ve at least had the

    benefit of being informed, as he was a Student,

    surely the Saudi Cultural Mission would be

    interested in such news that a student abroad

    got married. They would’ve gotten wind of it

    and reported it back, had that happened, at

    least he would be registered with the Minsitry

    of Interior as married but unofficialy.

    I hope this has helped shed some light on the

    process and the dos and donts of it.

  88. Aziz–thank you for sharing this information and your examples. I’m sure Saudi women are much relieved, and Saudi men and women would be wise to heed your adice.

  89. Thanks for both of you..

    Chiara, I knew it was confusing when I said the right one, just to clarify..what I meant is (the right person to help us in getting the permission, which is called WASTA or MOAGEB).

    I do have the right person already (5 years, and he converted)

    I have been searching online and asking friends about those MOAGEB, I found some online and they are asking for around 40,000 SR. To be honest, if I know for granted that its true, I wont mind, yet many people warned me and said that they might take the money and run.

    My problem is, how can a Saudi girl marry a non-saudi guy if he is not in Saudi?

    I wish I can go to the MOI myself, and try to convince them.

    Good luck for everyone!!

  90. Me!,

    Regarding the Moageb, I’ve found one whos

    probably as honest as any. You can email

    me, aziz_somali@yahoo.com so that I may

    give you his cell # and you can discuss with

    him your situation, he doesnt ask me for money,

    and he works within the Emara in Riyadh.

    So if you’re interested, let me know.



  91. More on the marriage process for the Saudi/non-Saudi marriage, and then the iqama process for the spouse to be able to reside in Saudi.

    A la recherche d’une iqama/In search of an iqama

    Anyone good at writing letters in English/Arabic to Saudi Princes, your help would be most welcome for the non-Saudi husband trying to join his wife. Or anyone with a suggestion better than “Dear Prince….Thank you in advance your Highness” LOL :)

  92. I agree with one of the posters at the beginning. Laws won’t change unless society does first. It happens all too often. Saudi society is exposed to a whole new world, which they are encouraged to learn from and bring their experiences back to their country. However, in the process, naturally, they will meet people from other countries and cultures. For sure some will want to marry this new love.
    The problem is not just whether they get the permission from the government, it’s from the Saudi families themselves and from the children who are afraid to go against their parent’s wishes. It’s the broad xenophobia that exists within the country; the fear of change; the fear of being like “the rest of the world.” Nothing will change until 1stSaudi society can embrace cultural differences and judge a person from the inside rather than where they come from (none of us can help where we were born, can we?)
    It’s not fair to so many young foreign females out there who fall in love with Saudi men, when he knows the end result. I applaud the Saudi men who fight to keep their women, but they are rare.

    So, until Saudi’s change, men (in particular get guts to fight for what they want, no matter how difficult) Nothing will change, and everything will remain the same and more and more young foreign, intelligent, and loyal females such as myself will end up broken hearted. :(

    • Sad girl–so well said, and such a moving comment. If you would like to expand your comment and/or share your story at “Future Husbands and WIves of Saudis”, I’m sure it would be invaluable to others. I would be happy to help you with it, and you could be as anonymous, or pseudonymous as you wish.
      You can contact me at chiaraazlinquestion AT yahoo.com.

  93. hey sad girl…I totally agree with u, i’, in the exact same situation, but once you read my blog(comment), you’ll see what i mean. the first & the biggest problem is the saudi parents, because the girl i want to marry, its her father that disagrees with our idea, without even having to met me :( we dont even care about the government, cuz she doesnt even want to live there anymore. she want to come to canada, that’s where i live, & since she is half american, thats not the problem, her dad told her b4 that whoever she marries, she will go to north america to live, so that’s not our issue, the problem is how to convince him….:( now i would like to talk more about this with u, cuz seems like ure somehow in the same shoes as i am, so u know what i’m going thru. so u can email me at: ferry54@live.ca

    • Faris–the same offer as above applies. Many who have posted on Tara’s blog have received a lot of good advice and support, including Alyamar whose post comments contain alot of info (from myself amongst others) on how to deal with the father’s refusal of permission, and how to get a study visa, to leave KSA, and scholarships, particularly to Canada (I am Canadian). Check out her post and the comments at:


      And do email me if you are interested in an anonymous or pseudanonymous post about your own situation, at chiaraazlinquestion AT yahoo.com.

      All the best to both you and Sad girl

  94. Since long time no any posts over here.

    Let’s share you experiences/status about obtaining marriage permission procedure.
    Keep up posted.

    About myself can add, that we are still waiting (which is already over 1 year) and as per latest updates it is in the way from Riyadh to local office. So every week my good half has to go to Saudia for checking (going from Qatar to Saudia) and till mean time, so far, no any news.
    As I know, if documents will reach local office then everything will be good, inshaa`Allah. But sometimes the documents can get lost in this path and I heard about these cases too. :(

    May Allah bless all yours efforts and patience. Ameen.

  95. Lana–thank you for updating. I wish you had been able to share that your wait is over. I hope it will be soon.

    I also meant to let everyone know here that I have my own blog now, Chez Chiara, http://www.chezchiara.com, and the marriage permission process is one of the major themes, along with cross cultural Saudi/non-Saudi and Arab/Muslim/Western relationships and the cultural backgrounds to them.

    All of the posts I have done previously on the topic of marriage permission are there and can be found easily by the category in the side bar.

    I will be posting soon a synthesis of the procedures that were learned through these posts and the comments, and a lot of input from Aziz above (whose successful story is there in 2 posts).

    I hope you will come and read these, and the other topics which are related to bi-cultural Saudi/ non-Saudi relationships, and that others who reconnect with this thread will do so as well. And of course comment! It could be an additional place to have a group of readers who are sharing this process, as some are (including Add above)

    If you are interested in sharing your own story as a post there I would be happy to help you with it and confidentiality is guaranteed. Those who have done so welcome the support and advice that their post elicits. You can contact me at chiaraazlinquestion AT yahoo.com

    I do hope that things speed up for you, and keep us posted on your progress, as I hope others will too.

    • Lana–you are welcome! Looking forward to your visits and feel free to comment.

      Check also the Personal Stories category for more bi-cultural relationships, and of course the
      Bi- X-cultural relationships one!

      All the best

  96. I think they should permit the saudi women to marry foreigner since there is huge quantity of umarried women in Saudia. Also there are Widows and divorcee.

    I am also looking for Saudi orphan girl or Widow to marry .

    I am responsible man looking for saudi women age must be 25 to 34

  97. It is sad, that all governments get involved with this personal aspect of peoples lives. I resent the U.S. for having ANY say in who one decides to marry. 200 years ago, you traveled as you may find means, you feel in love with whom God ordained, and you started your life together with NO government interference. I know this wasn’t necessarily so in the old country, but I do not know the history of government interference in marriage in other countries?

    Of course we were still young then! lol. More public outcries please. :-)

  98. Hello.
    I have a question since u guys seem to know so much about Saudi regulations.
    My bf is Saudi born in Kuwait, i am 22 he is 26, however in Saudi he was told he cannot marry me unless he will be 34 years old.
    Do you know if it is possible for us to marry somewhere else?
    I am a muslim too, i was born in Muslim country of Kyrgyzstan.

    • Hi Sabrina,

      You could marry somewhere else, but even an Islamic marriage would not be legal in Saudi unless you had Saudi government approval for the marriage. It is easier to get it prior to marriage, rather than after, but difficult to obtain at any time.

      More information and more personal stories are on my blog under the categories Marriage Permission/Visa/Iqama and Personal Stories.

      If you want to do a post there on your own particular situation to get more responses please contact me at the blog address chezchiara2 AT yahoo DOT com. You could look at the other stories for examples or what your post might look like and also consult the page Personal Stories about privacy, confidentiality, and final say on all content of the posting.

      All the best!

  99. Hi guys :) i really like this blog and the comments of all the people. actually i need help from you people.. i am british pakistani and wants to get married with my Saudi boyfriend.. im intreasted to know whether he has to follow the same instruction OR what else he has to do in order to get married with me??

  100. Pingback: Anonymous
  101. Thanks , I’ve recently been looking for information about this subject for a while and yours is the best I’ve found out till now. However, what in regards to the conclusion? Are you positive concerning the source?|What i don’t understood is if truth be told how you’re now not actually a lot more neatly-liked than you might be now. You are very intelligent.

Comments are closed.