Procedures for Non-Muslim Marriage in Sudan
Marriage between a Muslim and non-Muslim is not common practice in Sudan. A Muslim man may marry a non-Muslim woman, but a non-Muslim man may not marry a Muslim woman unless he converts to Islam. Sudanese law recognizes both civil and religious ceremonies, but such marriages must be properly documented to be considered legally binding.
Sudanese Law provides for civil marriages for non-Muslims. Civil marriages are processed only through the Khartoum Province Judge in the court located between Gam’aa and Gamhouria Streets in Khartoum, opposite the Judiciary Building.
Age of Consent
Male applicants must be at least 18 years old, while females must be at least 16 years old. If an applicant does not meet the age requirements, then he/she must obtain the consent of the parents or the Khartoum Province Judge.
Widowed or divorced applicants must present a death certificate or divorce decree from the previous marriage. Persons divorced outside of the Sudan must have their decrees authenticated by the Embassy representing the country where the divorce took place. Because of the Federal structure of the United States, the embassy cannot provide this exact service. However, the embassy can provide a substitute letter that the courts have accepted in the past.
Foreign applicants must present a statement from the embassy of his/her country attesting to the identity of the parties getting married and their marital status. Again, the Embassy cannot provide this exact service, but it can provide a substitute that the courts have accepted in the past.
Notice of Intent to Marry
A Notice of Intent to Marry must be submitted to the Province Judge three weeks (21 days) in advance of the marriage. The Notice will be posted by the Court to allow time for anyone who wishes to object to the contemplated marriage.
Waivers for Expeditious Marriage
Applicants who wish to marry in less than the 21-day waiting period must apply for a waiver from the General Supreme Court. Approvals usually are granted on the same day.
The Government of Sudan has published a schedule of fees for civil marriage. Foreign nationals must pay all fees in U.S. dollars, and not Sudanese Pounds.
- Normal Marriage: $ 100.00
- Expeditious Marriage: $ 200.00
- Copies of Marriage $ 2.00 (each)
All fees must be paid at the Court Registrar’s Office as directed by the judge.
Civil marriage ceremonies may only be performed in the courtroom.
The following forms must be submitted by the applicant:
- Notice of Intent to Marry. (Two copies for normal marriages and one copy for Expeditious Marriages.) Blank copies of the Notice may be obtained directly from the court and most legal offices in Khartoum.
- Photographs. (Three each of the bride and groom are required.)
- Proof of identity. (ID card and/or passport must be presented with the Notice of Intent to Marry and again on the day of the ceremony.)
Non-Muslim Religious Marriage
Sudanese law recognizes the validity of non-Muslim religious marriages, provided that none of the principals involved are Muslim. For additional information regarding the legal and documentary requirements for such marriages, applicants should contact the relevant church officials or Sudanese legal counsel directly.
Common Law Marriage
Unofficial, non-registered marriages — known as orfy or traditional weddings similar to common law marriage in the United States — are valid but do not guarantee the wife’s legal rights. For example, in an orfy customary marriage, a woman is not entitled to alimony or pension, has no judicial protection without official recognition by her spouse, and must file a legal petition to establish her children’s parentage.
Please note that orfy marriages do not qualify for immigration to the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Thus, foreign national spouses in such marriages must remarry in a civil or religious ceremony before they may be issued an immigrant visa to the United States.
- Muslim Personal Matters Act of 1991
- Khartoum, Sudan, 1992
- Nasir, Jamal J. The Islamic Law of Personal Status. London: Graham and Trotman, 1990
- Nasir, Jamal J. The Status of Women Under Islamic Law. London: Graham and Trotman, 1990
- Interview with Dr. Ahmed Ali Hamo, SJD
- Khartoum, Sudan February 17, 2001