Under Afghan law, civil and religious marriage ceremonies may be performed for some foreigners.  Afghans who are dual nationals are treated solely as Afghan under the law.

It is not possible for a non-Muslim man to marry a Muslim woman in Afghanistan, but it is possible for a Muslim man to marry a non-Muslim, foreign, woman.  Additionally, the court will not register marriages involving Afghans who claim not to be Muslim, unless the couple consents to a Muslim religious ceremony.  Afghan law considers all Afghans Muslim by default.

Marriage Registration

Foreigners who want to marry in Kabul must first register the marriage at the Family Court, located in the Kabul Governor’s House Compound.  In the provinces, outside of Kabul, marriages can be registered at the civil courts.

The couple must appear at the Family Court in Kabul with two witnesses and photo identification (preferably their passports).  Witnesses should also have photo identification.  If one of the individuals who wish to marry is Muslim, a religious Muslim ceremony will be performed at the time of registration.  If both individuals are foreigners and non-Muslim, a civil ceremony may be performed.  After the court ceremony, the couple is considered married under Afghan law; they may then conduct the family or religious ceremony/celebration of their choice.

After the marriage is registered, the court will issue a marriage certificate upon request.  In Kabul, court officials say, it will take about a week to receive the certificate.

Religious Marriages

If both or one of the parties are Muslim, the Family Court will register the marriage and perform the Muslim nekah ceremony.  The nekah is comprised of the igaba wa qabul (acceptance agreement) and the khotba.

When a Muslim man wants to marry a foreign woman who is non-Muslim and the woman is not kitabi (of the book, i.e. Christian or Jewish), she must first convert to Islam.  In either case, the court will only register the marriage religiously, with the nekah ceremony.

Civil Marriages

If both parties are non-Muslim foreigners, the court will register the marriage by performing solely the igaba wa qabul or acceptance agreement without the other half of the typical Muslim religious ceremony.  The court will also seek to apply the regulations governing marriage in the couples’ home country.  For example, although Afghan law permits polygamy, American men will not be allowed to marry multiple women.

Legal Concerns

The Afghan marriage certificate is a legal document in Afghanistan.  If the couple needs to use it outside Afghanistan, it should be notarized at the Embassy or Consulate of the foreign country where the marriage certificate will be used.  Please read the information available on this website concerning notarial services at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

All marriages, civil or religious, performed outside of Afghanistan are considered valid under Afghan law.  A legally issued marriage certificate is required as proof.  Dual nationals may need to have their marriage certificates authenticated at the Afghan Embassy in the country they were married.

Further questions on marriage can be addressed to the Consular Section