Marrying a Non-Lebanese: Official Documents

Many tried to discourage me from marrying Ahmad when they found out he was not Lebanese, but in fact Palestinian. They especially loved using the argument that I would be much better off with ibn baladi, a man from my country. Why should I waste my time with someone who doesn’t even have a country?

But as you probably know by now, we did get married. And we got married with the full understanding that it would not be without its hardships.

I had no idea, though, that the trouble would begin with having our union documented.

We have been married for around four months, and to this date, none of our official documents reflect this fact.  Not my ID, not the ikhraj el keid, not the passport.

As far as anyone is concerned, I’m a single woman.

This should be fun when we try to apply for a visa for our next vacation, by the way.

I’m not even going to mention how illogical it seems that we don’t have the right documentation yet people are asking us when we’ll be having children. Where and how do I register them then?

The only proof I have that we tied the knot was the document issued by the sheikh when we had our katb kteb- which isn’t even a valid proof, according to the Human Resources department at work. They ask for a different assortment of papers so they can change their records (and our insurance coverage) accordingly. I have none of them with me.


But try telling the mukhtar, who is supposed to be getting everything  finalized, that you’re going to be penalized at work for getting married and failing to present the appropriate documents, and he will just shrug you off. He doesn’t care!

So why is something this basic taking this long?

You could say it’s because registering the marriage involves different factions, and becomes even more complicated when the husband is not Lebanese. Under “normal” circumstances, the marriage is registered in the husband’s jurisdiction of birth or hometown, but we can’t exactly go to Acre, can we?

I tried looking up the steps we have to take but no information is available on the Ministry of Interior’s website. In fact, the whole website barely has any helpful information.

But I do know that in our case, issuing individual and family civil status records means that  the UNRWA has to get involved. And because I am a Lebanese woman not married to a Lebanese man, some higher official has to approve the whole thing. But that hasn’t been done yet. 

See even when you’ve gone ahead and gotten married, they still try to discourage you from being together by making things excruciatingly long and painful. I guess this is their way of punishing you for not listening to them earlier.

The mukhtar, who knows about all of this much more than we ever will, should be helpful.

Except he’s not.

After repeated visits, he went with the classic response of he’ll call us when they’re done. As you might know by now, anyone using that excuse means that they’re not going to get around to doing what you want. Let’s not forget that the holidays came around and the whole country came to a stand-still.

So, until we figure out a way to accelerate the process, or find a wasta, we’re still two “single” people who live together.

Thanks Lebanon!




One Comment Add yours

  1. Jessica says:

    Congratulation on your marriage! Hope things will turn out better for you

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