Questions and answers on marriage registration for Syrian refugees who marry in Lebanon

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24.06.2016

Click here for more information on marriage registration.

1. Why is marriage registration important?

Under Lebanese law, the marriage celebrated in Lebanon must be registered with the Personal Status Department. Marriage registration will allow you to:

  • Obtain a marriage certificate,
  • Register the birth of your children,
  • In case of death in the family, ensure access to inheritance and in particular the right of ownership and use of your family house and properties back in Syria, and
  • Preserve your custody and guardianship rights of your children in case of divorce.

2. What are the procedures to register my marriage with the government authorities in Lebanon?

In Lebanon, marriages have to be contracted by an authorised religious authority and must be registered with the Personal Status Department as soon as possible. Before you get married, you should contact the religious authority closest to where you live to obtain a permission to marry.

After the marriage has been celebrated by the authorised religious authority publicly and in front of witnesses, the procedure to register the marriage with the Lebanese authorities foresees the following four steps:

Step 1: Obtainment of a marriage contract signed and stamped by the relevant religious authority.

Step 2: Issuance of a marriage certificate by the Mukhtar nearest to the religious authority that authenticated the marriage contract.

Step 3: Registration of the marriage certificate with the Nofous.

Step 4: Registration of the marriage certificate with the Foreigners' Registry at the Personal Status Department.

If you also want to register your marriage with the Civil Registry in Syria you will have to certify the original marriage certificate obtained by the Foreigners' Registry at the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and take it to the Embassy of Syria in Lebanon.

The following is a detailed explanation of the four steps of the procedure for marriage registration.

Step 1: Marriage contract

  • Where:
    • A religious marriage is only valid if it is contracted by an authorised religious authority. For further information please see the helpline numbers on the back of this leaflet.
    • After the ceremony you will be provided with a marriage contract signed and stamped (authenticated) by the religious authority.
  • Documents required:
    • To get married, you first need to obtain the Permission to Marry from the authorised religious authority. The religious authority can advise you on this procedure.
    • To obtain the Permission to marry you will need:
      • You and your spouse’s individual civil extracts.
      • Medical certificates issued by an accredited doctor, who is registered with the Lebanese syndicate of doctors.
  • Cost:
    • The cost of celebrating the marriage at the religious court is around LBP 100,000.
    • The average cost of medical tests is around LBP 150,000.

Step 2: Mukhtar marriage certificate

  • Where:
    • You should visit a Mukhtar working locally to the religious authority that authenticated the marriage contract to obtain the marriage certificate.
    • The marriage certificate will be signed by you and two witnesses, as well as by the religious authority that contracted the marriage. The Mukhtar will then sign and stamp the marriage certificate.
  • Documents required:
    • You will need to take with you:
      • The marriage contract authenticated by the religious authority.
      • The identity documents of you and your spouse, for example Syrian ID cards, passports or individual civil extracts.
  • Cost:
    • The fee for finalising the marriage certificate varies. However, it should not cost more than LBP 30,000.

Step 3: Registering the marriage with the Nofous

  • Where:
    • You should visit the local Nofous in the district where the marriage contract was authenticated to ‘transfer’ the marriage certificate.
    • Once the marriage certificate is ‘transferred’, you will be referred to the Foreigners’ Registry of the Personal Status Department in the Governorate to register the marriage.
  • Documents required:
    • You will need to take with you:
      • The marriage contract authenticated by the religious authority and the Mukhtar marriage certificate.
      • The identity documents of you and your spouse; either valid passports or individual civil extracts certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lebanon and of Syria.
  • Cost:
    • The fee for registering the marriage is LBP 4,000 (an additional LBP 1,000 after 30 days of the marriage).
    • Stamps costing LBP 1,000 each for copies of documents presented.

Step 4: Registering the marriage with the Foreigners' Registry

  • Where:
    • You should visit the Foreigners’ Registry of the Personal Status Department at Governorate level to register the marriage.
  • Documents required:
    • You will need to take with you:
      • The marriage contract that you registered with the Nofous.
      • Evidence of valid stay in Lebanon for you and your spouse. If you do not have proof of valid residency, please contact UNHCR.
      • The identity documents of you and your spouse; either valid passports or individual civil extracts certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lebanon and of Syria.
  • Cost:
    • If you have new documents that were not presented when you registered the marriage with the Nofous, for instance copy of proof of legal stay, you will have to pay LBP 1,000 each for copies of new documents presented.

3. I do not have all the documents required to register my marriage, what can I do?

Even if you and your spouse do not have all the documents required to complete the registration of your marriage with the Lebanese authorities up to the level of the Foreigners' Registry, it is still important that you start the process. In particular you should make sure to obtain a marriage contract signed and stamped by the relevant religious authority when you celebrate your marriage. If you have the necessary documents it is also important that you obtain a marriage certificate by the Mukhtar and, where possible, register the certificate with the Nofous.

4. How can I know who is an authorised Sheikh?

An authorised Sheikh is the Sheik that has been authorised by the Sharia Court in Lebanon to celebrate the marriage after you and your future husband/wife obtained a Permission to Marry (‘Izen Shar’i) from the same Court. You will not be able to get a marriage certificate from the Lebanese authorities if the marriage contract has been issued by a Syrian Sheikh who has not been authorized by the Lebanese sharia court.

5. What happens if I got married before an unauthorised Sheikh?

In this case, you need to go to the Sharia Court and authorise your marriage, otherwise you will not be able to get a marriage certificate and register your marriage with the Personal Status Department. For more detailed information and assistance kindly contact the helpline numbers on the back of this booklet.

6. Is a marriage contract from a Syrian Sheikh recognized by the Lebanese authorities?

For marriages celebrated in Lebanon, the Sheikh has to be formally recognised and authorized by the Lebanese Sharia Court, independently of his nationality.

Important:

Please do not forget to notify UNHCR of the change in your marital status! It is important for UNHCR and partners to have accurate records of your family composition.

Contacts:

UNHCR Hotlines

  • Beirut/Mount Lebanon: 01-849201 (Monday to Friday 7am-3pm)
  • Bekaa: Protection: 76-611811 (Monday to Friday 8am-4pm)
  • North: 71-911496 (Monday to Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm)
  • South: 76-500370 (Monday to Friday 8:30am-4pm)

Partner Hotlines

Beirut/ Mount Lebanon

  • Caritas: 70157789 / 03310471
  • IRC: 76020061
  • NRC: 76666950

Bekaa

  • Intersos (Zahle, West Bekaa and Rashaya): 70521542
  • IRC (North Bekaa): 76784164
  • NRC (North Bekaa): 76000613
  • NRC (Central Bekaa): 76000614

North

  • IRC (Deir Dalloum): 76064550
  • IRD (Halba): 76591029
  • IRD (Tripoli): 79144688/ 70580631/ 70194364
  • NRC (Wadi Khaled): 78801313
  • NRC (El Minieh): 76700525
  • NRC (Halba): 70800626

South

  • Caritas: 07739607
  • IRC: 70999075
  • NRC (Tyre): 70951978
  • NRC (Nabatieh): 70888265
  • NRC (Bent Jbeil): 78885883