That was easy!

Great news! I am not getting deported from Nepal. Not that anyone told me that would happen, but I just assumed that happens to people who don’t sort out their residency paperwork in a foreign country. Figuring out how to legally stay in Nepal has been a challenge. There are no real sources of information that you could trust in terms of regulating your stay here. I knew that once I came to Nepal, Mr.B. and I needed to legalize our Croatian marriage certificate and get me a non-tourist visa, but we had no idea how to go about doing that. We asked around and tried to figure out the correct process, but guess what, there is really no correct process. My understanding is that it all comes down to who you know. I might be wrong, but that’s how I see it.

We gathered a bunch of paperwork which Mr.B. filled out because it was all in Nepali; we got many passport-sized photos of ourselves and off we went to a Chief District Administrative Office to submit our case. Fast forward couple of phone calls, and we are now told to wait for 15 days until our certificate was made. We were to come back with three witnesses. 15 days later in we go with some wonderful friends and co-workers (who took time out of their day to do this for us – Thank You!) and, lo and behold, the certificate is not done. Maybe I just had wrong expectations. You see, when they told us to come back in 15 days, I expected to walk in, guy would pull out our certificate, we would all sign in a matrimony registration book and we go home singing. No. That’s definitely not what happened. Here is how it all went down: we walked into a cramped little stuffy office and explained what we needed. After some exchange in Nepali the file was pulled out, dusted off and three separate people took their time going through all the paperwork, only to give it back to the first person who looked at it. Some exchange in Nepali again (be warned: half of the time I had no idea what was going on or what was being said, so all of this is my subjective view of the process). We are given our file and ushered into a room next door. A person sitting there looked at the file, said something, wrote something on a piece of paper, and off we went to a third room. Again more reading and signing. And then a fourth room. No luck in the fourth room – the guy just stepped out for his lunch break. We used the opportunity to get out and get marriage certificate forms. We come back just as the guy came back and in we go. He asks me who found whom, and I, of course, say I was the one who found Mr.B. Apparently that was the correct answer since we got the needed signature and out we went. Back to the first room. We fill our own marriage certificate, but then we are informed we need to go back to room No.3 for some more signatures. Off we go. Signatures are obtained and back to the first room it is. We fill out the matrimony registration book ourselves, sign everything, get some stamps on our marriage certificate and voilà! Done. Just like that. Easy peasy. Not.

Liters of sweat and hours later you are finally in our hands! Yes, sir!

Liters of sweat and hours later you are finally in our hands! Yes, sir!

Next day is the auspicious day for going into the Immigration Office. Again, we are met with lots of desk to desk, door to door shuffling. For me it seems even more obnoxious and useless since I have no idea what they are all saying and I don’t know the reasons for being sent from one door to the other. All of the bureaucrats there looked at our file with utter disinterest, not to say disgust discarding it in a pile of others unfortunate foreigners hoping for a fair process. It all felt like a court trial of the worst kind. Apparently, luckily, the immigration officer took a liking to us and was very accommodating promising that he will speed up the process if we come back tomorrow. Mr.B. went in the following day and I don’t know what he did and how many doors he had to knock on, but I am sitting here on the couch right now looking at my non-tourist marriage visa stamped in my passport. I am a temporary resident of Nepal for the next year.

Now, about that work permit…

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31 thoughts on “That was easy!

    • Thank you! It was a long, long day to have that certificate done. I’m glad i’s all over now 🙂 And yes, it must be the new forms – they’re both in English and Nepali on the inside.

    • Oh the whole process is much more complicated than that and they ask for lots of paperwork. Email me once you’ll be getting ready to start the process and I’ll let you know exactly what they asked from us.

  1. Congratulations! Enjoyed reading your post 🙂 will be going over the rest of the posts too shortly..
    Me and my dear will be doing the rounds soon too.. :/
    Wanted to ask you if you guys having a Croatian marriage certificate help speed up process?

    Thanks in advance 🙂

    • Hey, thanks for your comment! I’m glad your enjoying my blog!
      I am not sure if that certificate helped speed up the process, but it certainly reduced the amount of paperwork needed for a marriage in Nepal. The process still took 15+ days with lots of running around.

      • Thanks for your reply. It helps a lot. We have been trying to figure out whether or not to get a marriage certificate from his country first. From your reply, I can glean that it will definitely aid in the process.

        Even one less paperwork will reduce the running around time significantly, as you already know first hand. 😉

        Once again, thanks for your help. 😀

        K

  2. Hello Ms. Z,

    I have a query regarding the marriage certificate. The date on the marriage certificate, is it the date you applied for it or the date you actually received it?

    Thanks in advance. 🙂

    K

  3. Hi MsZ.

    Thank goodness you managed to legalize your Croatian marriage certificate. My husband and I plan to legalize it too. But ours was registered in the Philippines. Do you think the process would be the same thing?

    Your blog entry did sounded like such a hassle. The reason for us to legalize is so that he could be with me while hes posted in UK (hes an army). Any fees you needed to pay? Thanks

    • Hi, and thanks for the comment! I’m assuming the process would be the same for any country’s certificate. You need to find out what particular paperwork you’d need in your case, and then be persistent and go to the office often, insisting on the process being done. There was some fee involved, but I don’t think it was much. I remember we needed to buy those stamps that go on documents and then buy the certificate form. But I don’t remember if there was anything else we needed to pay. The safest thing to do is to go to the CDO and ask – that’s how you’ll know for sure what the process is. Good luck and all the best!

  4. Hello there, Congratulations on your marriage and visa and great blog.

    Would like to ask you help, I am needing to process my marriage visa now as we just got our marriage document (after a 4 year odyssey/long story). Anyways as you mentioned I saw the disaster of the process at the office in Ktm. We also have a son already and need a visa extension for him as well (I am an American expat and my wife is Nepali). If you could ask your husband if he had anyone help him and the details it would be greatly appreciated. My email is rickcq2 at yahoo dot com and my name is Rick.

    • Hi Rick! Thanks for good wishes. As much as i’d love to help you out in solving your issues, i’m afraid I cannot. It’s simply a matter of going there and hoping for the best. It might sound easy from my blog post, but trust me, it was a month worth of work. Good luck!

    • Rick I just read your comment & it scared me a bit (4 year odyssey??). I’m American as well & planning on marrying in Nepal this year. Any advice for obtaining the marriage cert?

      Nice post Ms.Z! Congratulations!

      • Hi, Matt, and Everyone

        To start apologies for the long post, I just have learned about the subject a bit and can go on and on with it. Also everyone please don’t take anything as an insult or offense, I am very equal rights for everyone (between the sexes and nationalities) and I am just stating the way I see things or the realities on the ground. I lost my tinted glasses a long time ago in relation to most things and countries.

        Matt:

        Don’t lose all hope. When I contracted a good lawyer here referred to me by my friends and pastor at the little local church we are going to the marriage was processed in like 10 days or so with the date of our prior ritual marriage four years ago stated as being our marriage date (as Nepali law allows) Because of my special marriage I had to pay more than normal.

        My situation was unique perhaps in some ways as we have a 1 and half year old son and thus could not per Nepali law do a regular marriage but rather a “post marriage registration”.

        Not mentioned much in this post are the myriad problems of Nepal like changing laws, corruption and cultural biases. I had laws changed on me, refused to pay bribes / extra fees and so on, tried to get married outside of Nepal (and failed with this).

        And, it is what it is, you and me (men) are seen to be stealing the women almost by some as per Nepali culture the women belong to the men (I am again not saying this is right but this is what is, the way things are). On the other hand foreign women are going in the other direction and belonging to the Nepali men to them. This is reflected for instance in Nepali law unfortunately for certain rights like the passage of citizenship to children. A Nepali man can pass citizenship to his children with a foreign wife more easily than vice versa. Currently, Nepali law does not allow for dual citizenship so the choice is not that hard for most.

        So anyhow it should not be so hard for you (I am guessing you don’t have children). Your wife will have to get a CDO certificate (and it says/has to say your wife is a virgin by the way! which was impossible for us!) and follow all the steps. A good friend, lawyer or agent could help you with the process if you wished (and save you time and heartache), the older or wiser the better.

        Now if you don’t plan on ever wanting to live in Nepal or having any existing or future Nepali benefits (like a marriage visa for $10 a month or so) you may do the marriage outside of Nepal. You may be able to get the “benefits” with an outside marriage but maybe not/it is hard to say. Things in English are probably better than in other languages. They may want or make you register the marriage (in effect get married again) in Nepal for the Nepal benefits.

        With the U.S. if your plan is taking her back to the U.S. you can do the U.S. fiancee visa. You have to pay royally for either U.S. process. On a philosophical level I think the U.S. process is not worth it, keep in mind making your wife a U.S. resident you are signing her up to U.S. taxes and regulations for life (as long as she is a resident/green card holder or if she became a citizen).

        Other options in Asia that don’t require Nepal docs may be:
        Singapore or Hong Kong, have some time / a few weeks being there required think.
        New Zeland and Australia both run about $200usd and a few weeks.
        Farther afield Chile I think only costs $.50 cents and there is nil corruption!

        Caveat: Thailand and some other countries require Nepali docs that are a pain to get a hold of / always check on this requirement or lack of it for each country you are checking on.
        In my opinion the good countries are the ones that don’t require any Nepali documents except for an ID/passport and a pulse.

        I got the wrong Nepali docs as was misinstructed by Nepali govt embassy personnel and “a lawyer”. The Nepal embassy rebuffed me in Thailand (and they are not nice).

        And be ready for the hassle leaving by air from the “friendly” airport immigration staff if you don’t have good documents like bank certificates and a marriage doc. They will do their utmost to get your wife to cry discouraging her from being with you and maybe looking for money. Don’t hold any cash (or hardly any I mean). Have bank statements (best with non Nepali banks of course) your’s or hers showing you have funds (that they can’t touch). Some options may be HSBC like in Hong Kong or Singapore or the Euro Pacific Bank in the Carribbean (can be done completely online and via courier/mail). The Eur Pacific bank created by Peter Schiff is only for non U.S. persons is supposed to be very safe (they don’t loan money) and are related to Saxo Bank in Denmark.

        And lastly one other option you could explore ito b a proxy marriage, especially if you are in the U.S. now it may be easier. I think Texas may do it. You in Texas or another friendly state that allows it (legally) and your wife in Nepal like on skype or with a notarized document allowing her to be married to you and walla you have a U.S. marriage document without your wife having visited or being in the U.S. This process is especially being used now in modern times by military personnel but I think Texas allows it for anyone (if I recall correctly).

        Email me to my email if you end up needing/wanting a lawyer (in Nepal) I can give the one who helped me in the end.

        Wish me luck, tomorrow I am off to do “battle” / negotiate / apply for my extended stay visas for son and myself! God give me patience and wisdom!

        Rick C.

      • Rick, thank you so much for this detailed explanation! Wow, i never thought it might be so much more difficult for foreign guys marrying nepali girls, than it is the other way around.
        Getting our nepali documents for a croatian wedding was a huge hassle, and it seems like nepali embassies are generally not very helpful places. However, luckily and thankfully, we did not experience any harassment in the CDO or immigration office in nepal. It might have to do with foreign woman-nepali man thing. Good luck to both you and Matt, and i hope you manage to get things resolved without too much stress and hassle!

  5. Rick C….wow! Great stuff.

    I too thought the gender-based biases toward nationalizing foreigners in Nepal a bit strange. Interestingly, my fiance explained a Newari marriage ritual in which the bride’s family more or less “gives the bride” to the groom’s family…similar to the way you would hand over a family heirloom.

    We plan to marry in Kathmandu so it sounds like a little negotiating at the CDO will get the job done. I don’t expect too much hassle but I marked your e-mail and may take you up on the lawyer offer 🙂

    Well good luck with the recent ‘battle’ Rick, and Ms. Z on your ‘officially sanctioned’ relationship 🙂

  6. Whoa!
    I’m married for a year, got my marriage registered legally and it’s the first time I’m seeing this good-looking marriage certificate! :O
    Mine is totally different. It just says this guy and that girl got married here and here. I hope we ARE legally married! (And I want this certificate, it looks so good!)

    Congratulations, by the way 😀 and I looovee your posts

  7. Hi, I am, exactly in the same situation. My girlfriend is from Mauritius and we want to marry and settle down in Nepal itself. But right now we are waiting for her No Objection Letter, hopefully we can get through all these hectic processes. My concern is if we get marry legally in Nepal, will my wife(Mauritian) able to stay here without any visa and get her nepalese identity?? Please help me with this..
    Regards,

    • Hi Ashish! The No Objection letter was a big one for us too, as my country does not issue one. We managed to get around it as we weren’t actually getting married in Nepal but were legalizing our Croatian marriage certificate. I am not able to answer your question on taking on Nepali citizenship as i have not done so nor have any plans do it. As you can imagine, my EU citizenship gives me more freedom to travel than Nepali ever would. I reside in Nepal on a spouse visa which needs to be renewed every year. Also, if your gf has plans to work, she needs to get a work permit in addition to the visa. You can actually look up all the different visas, rules, regulations and requirements on the website of the Department of immigration of Nepal. It’s quite helpful. Good luck with everything!

  8. Besides the fact that now i’m completely perplexed, I appreciate your prompt response to my concern.
    Thank you for the lovely post.💐

    • I’m sorry if i made you confused. Immigration issues are not as straightforward as a one liner. Basically, before getting married your gf will need to reside in Nepal on a tourist visa. After getting married, she will most likely need a spouse visa while you guys explore the possibility of taking Nepali citizenship. Obtaining a citizenship does not come hand in hand with getting married (in any country) and is usually a complicated and lengthy process. Even though she will be married to you, she will still have a foreign passport which will require her to obtain some kind of visa to legally reside in Nepal. I suggest not trying to avoid this as fines are really high for staying in the country without a visa. If you are really considering trying to get a Nepali passport for her, i suggest you speak with a lawyer. That way you’ll know you’re getting the best info.

  9. Your blog made a real difference. Many thanks for your great help. I will definitely take the best ways you’ve directed…💐

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