Modern nomad

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A Day in the life of a vegetable vendor in Kuwait

Typical sight inside the Souk Mubarakiya in Kuwait, during the not-so busy times inside the wet market. Almost half of this old man’s life is spent as Expat in Kuwait, inside the souk working as a vendor and rumbling in the streets of Kuwait City. “Baba”  whom I fondly called him as I haggle for the fresh vegetables he is selling. Like the story of one Tea Boy ,life goes on like this, counting the days where a certain “magic”could happen and change the course of his routine, in his life spent as a modern nomad , or also known as Expat.

Do you like visiting wet markets? What fascinates you the most?

 

 

How to get Married in Kuwait? | An Expat’s Guide

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Tying the knot in Kuwait- made possible to make great memories with idyllic Sky Lounge in Radisson Blu Hotel .

Are you in an Interracial relationship-Expat that’s looking into getting married in Kuwait?

No problem, Here I wanna share with you my very own experience & tips how  can Expats can  tie-the-knot in a Muslim country like Kuwait. Believe it or not but we did it only within 2 months of preparations!

Recently, I have been asked many times  How and what is the procedure for Expats to be able to get married in Kuwait? “.I have  friends there who wants  to get married, raise a child & bring their family  there and I think living in this small-oil-rich country for almost 8 years gives me a legit reason to share my personal experience.I tell you, Yes, its possible & it can be done!

About Kuwait & Islamic Law

Kuwait is a Muslim country, in short, Cohabiting & Living-in with your partner, or Children outside marriage is against the Islamic law. It is HARAM and punishable by law. Now maybe you have read lots of news about disgraceful acts of Expats about this, but I’m telling you, Don’t be one.There are strict rules for family, bachelors and housing regulations that is being imposed, especially on Expats.Violating this is punishable by law . You don’t like to get messed up with this for sure. Getting married and the procedure itself is a pain in the ass and time-consuming,  the paper works in Arabic and formalities  done in all the ‘Wazara’ (Ministry ) are all part of the process that you need to do if you want to get married in a legal way. Under Kuwaiti Law, Expats can marry through the Court only if both of them holds a valid residency in Kuwait. If you are holding a tourist visa, you can’t marry there. For Catholics who wants a church wedding, you can get all the information Here. For Consulate/ Embassy marriages,  just contact your Embassy if this service is available. In our case, The Netherlands Embassy doesn’t have this in Kuwait so we opted for a Court Marriage .

Knowing the Requirements

I did my research and made a few calls and I was able to get all the required papers that is needed. This is basically depends on your nationality, Visa Status, Type of Residency & personal preferences. We both don’t have our families in Kuwait so we only opted for a simple yet a memorable wedding. Planning and getting all requirements also takes time so we prepared it diligently .

My husband (now) is Dutch, from the Netherlands and I am Filipino.We are both Non-Muslim, both Roman Catholics and both under Visa-18 (private sector) . So our situation is not-so complicated and but only needs a lot of paperwork. So here’s how we did it through Court Marriage in The Mojama Al-Wazarat / Ministry of Justice in Kuwait City. The schedule of Marriages is only Sundays & Wednesdays. You need to go there together with all the required papers get the schedule,or your  date & time of the intended marriage.If you’re a Filipino couple and wants to get married in the Embassy, you can also find all the information Here. Take note that the Embassy only solemnize only Filipino marriage.

 

Important Note :  Documents should be translated all in Arabic!

It is very important that all documents  should be translated into Arabic , to be  submitted to Ministry of Justice including all the Translations,legalized & stamped, legalized by the respective Embassies and to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFa) before submission to the Ministry of Justice.

There’s always a huge line of people in MoFa so If you wanted to get things done quickly, you need to be super early.If you live in Kuwait, you know how the bureaucracy works in the Ministry and their timings. I don’t know how to explain this, but even a simple stamp & signature could take hours!! I really hate this but either way I survived it.

Sidenote: If it falls during Ramadan, please check their opening times.

Basic requirements for Court Marriage in Ministry of Justice-KW

( Both for Bride & Groom ) :

  1. Original Passports with the residence Visa & copy  (for  visa 20 needs the Sponsor’s consent )
  2. Original Civil ID card and copies
  3. CNI (Certificate of No Marriage or Single Certificate ) -Original copies , translated into Arabic and stamped & legalized by both embassies and Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kuwait, (MoFa) located in Shuwaikh near KUNA or inside the Ministry complex of the Liberation Tower.
  4.  For Filipinos CENOMAR ( Certificate of No Marriage ) – this should be in original, red ribbon & authenticated from the Department of Foreign Affairs in the Philippines. Ordering this from the PH take time so you need to arrange this early.You need to bring this to the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait and they will issue another paper after stamping. There is a fee for these procedures in the Embassy. Call them to check for the cost.Both of these papers then should be submitted to MoFa for stamping & legalized. ( 5Kd stamp each)
  5.  For Filipino Catholics – NOC is required from the catholic church. This ( No Objection Certificate ) should be obtained from the Parish Church where you were baptized in your home country. They need not less than 3 months old. It should be stamped by the Parish church. You need to contact the Parish of the Holy Family Cathedral (Catholic Church) near Sheraton hotel  and arrange for appointment with the priest in charge.Requirements for NOC are the following :
  • Letter from the Parish Priest (where you are baptized/getting married ) requesting for the NOC.
  • Baptismal Certificate with seal & signature of the priest ( Fax copies are not acceptable)
  • Passport & civil ID copies of the person who needs the NOC.
  • Witnesses – 2 persons known to you but Catholics (not Family members ), with their respective Passports & Civil ID copies.

Note : If a church wedding has a legal status in your home country this may also be applied to you. The staff in MOJ will confirm during these things once you have your initial inquiry so make sure to call them first.

6. Bring the NOC /Certificate of Freedom to Marry to the Vatican Embassy (Apostolic Nunciature -Kuwait ) located in Al-Yarmouk.This is as per appointment basis only so you need to call first and schedule the appointment with the them.

7. 2  (Two) Witness to bring along during the court wedding ceremony with their original Passports & Civil ID must be present during the procedures.

 Set up an Appointment with the Ministry of Justice (MOJ)

Once you are all set with all your documents, you need to submit these to the Ministry of Justice in Building #15 , first floor, ( They are just in front of the Liberation Tower ) . You will find many stamp machines there on the ground floor and kind staff who can assist you so make sure you secure it before the date of your marriage.You also need to bring exact bills for the machine.You don’t like to run around and get them on your wedding day!

They will check all the documents and confirm with you the date of marriage.You can contact them through # 22486444.The procedure itself takes only 10-15 minutes depending on the speed of the Authenticator for preparing the marriage contract. Your witnesses will also need to sign on the contract with their respective civil ID’s and passport. The ceremony itself  is very simple and only for formalities. You will get your Marriage Contract on the same day in Triplicate copies ( 1-MoJ copy and the 2 copies are yours) and that’s it! Let a native  check for the spelling, important dates or reference details because the contract is written in Arabic only.

If you are getting married here in Kuwait, do NOT kiss when it is announced you are married at the courthouse.  Public display of affection is illegal and the judge will have no other choice than to have you both arrested (especially since there are appointed witnesses).

Finally, you are MARRIED! Mabrook ! 

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Expat’s marriage -Love makes it possible even you are in foreign ground.

Important Note :

Check carefully the Spelling, dates, and Names because what will be written in Arabic will be the basis of translations in your future documentations.You need to bring your Marriage Contract (Arabic) in Ministry of Foreign Affairs (KUNA-Shuwaikh/Liberation Tower Ministry Complex ) for another attestation before you can translate it on your preferred language and use on your other important documentation.make sure to invest in an accredited tranlator since you will use this document forever. Like us,You can also arrange to register your Marriage in your respective Embassies.

So, it’s not that bad right?

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Expat Marriage in Kuwait- Made possible by Love. Radisson’s Blu intricate interiors accents our exchange of vows. A perfect setting indeed.

It’s tedious but with all these, we had our court marriage in the Ministry of Justice in Kuwait. I have never imagined that I would get married in a foreign country! Photography was not allowed inside the court but our Photographer was able to have his extra camera with him . He managed to get some photos during the ceremony so I am glad about it. I had my Kuwaiti sponsor and few friends come over as our witness. My in-laws flew over from Holland and decorated our apartment with traditional Dutch  Slingers. It was quite a surprise when we got home. We had our reception with our guest in Al Boom, which is one of the ‘Mohammedi ‘type of traditional Dhow boats turned into a one of a kind restaurant. We have visited them first during my birthday and on my husband’s birthday. It is really a special place for us.

We entertained our friends by having them have a glimpse of  the Guiness world record – Al Hashemi  as our backdrop. I have written before our amazing experience while seeing this gigantic boat. Meanwhile  we enjoyed scenic views from  the Sky Lounge of Radisson Blu Hotel overlooking the Arabian Gulf. We got a very good package from them including the dinner & reception in Al Boom . The credibility of Al Boom is again proven and our guests were overwhelmed with the great food– so many choices! excellent personal service and the experience itself in dining in style . I need to mention that they gave us such generous complimentary cake, flowers, VIP access to the Sky Lounge & access to the grand ballroom of Al-Hashemi .

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Our personalized and DIY made Thank you giveaway gift  with all our favorite soundtracks. Photo background was taken during our island hopping trip.

It was indeed a fabulous day .We will cherish this memory as part of our lives and Kuwait will always be close to our hearts where ever we are. If you have any special occasion, don’t forget to check out and consider this hotel. It’s all worth it.

Mabrook ! Gefeliciteerd ,  Congratulations on your wedding and  Good luck on your wedding preparations if you are looking for a marriage in Kuwait.Hope this post have helped you.

Do you have any experience such as these? Were you also married in a different culture ? I would love to hear your stories in the comments below.

You can also follow my Expat practical tips and Survival guides in Expat’s guide to Expating in Kuwait and make sure you hit the follow button below to follow this Blog.

 

 

Becoming an Expat is Hard

Before, I never really thought of myself of becoming an Expat. To travel and visit other places, Ok. But working and living abroad is a different story. An Expat  is someone who lives in another country that is not your home country. Either for work or educational purposes, your life continues, it’s just that it is in another place. So basically, It is a big change. For someone who have never experienced leaving their own country, this idea seems appealing. Most of the time,  others would regard you well because they find it different from ordinary. Little did they know that life abroad as an Expat could pose hurdles in your life, that you should overcome in order to become successful.

Being an Expat for the last 8 years of my life gives me enough reason to share my experience. Aside from the fact that this is my own side of story in internet then let me do so. So why being an Expat is hard? Here’s my thoughts ;

I don’t understand the Language

Ever been in a situation where you felt like your brain bleeds because you don’t know & haven’t got a clue of what that word means ? Or have you been asked to sign a document that has no translation?

Language barrier is far by the most difficult thing to overcome in the life of an Expat. Arabic language is not a typical language spoken so it’s difficult if you don’t know a single word.  It could be a daunting experience to go into a supermarket or just being out and about if almost everything is written in Arabic. The worst part could be when you talk to a local who doesn’t speak English!  At work it could also make you feel like an idiot . Imagine if all paperworks are in Arabic?  I remember my earlier days working here that I could not explain what i wanted to say . Though my Bosses and colleagues knows English, it doesn’t mean that they really get what I meant . It always makes you feel an outsider once you cannot communicate effectively. If you wanted to become at ease in your move, it is always good to learn their language . You can try to learn an online course to let yourself familiarize with the language. It is for your own sanity. Google translate cannot always save your day.

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One fine morning in Green Island ,Kuwait

It can be lonely.

Moving to another country means you leave your family and friends back home. Sure you can patch things up through the ever presence of internet & social meadia ,but its just not the same. Day to day life of an Expat could become a routinary and functional .You go to work & go home to rest . Depending on your lifestyle , you could face a slag in your social activities and you might find it difficult to engage in the things that you do before especially if your new country has limited resources for it. If you move to middle east that has restrictions on so many things, then you might end up lonely  and bored. Making new friends could be difficult because of language barrier and difference in opinions.

Now that I have a child of my own i begin to appreciate more the fact that my own family being together in our Expat Life. I imagine the hardship and emotional struggle of separation of many Expats being away from their Spouses & children  just because of the need to work overseas. I tell you, It can really be lonely.

The culture is different , so as the Rules .

In the middle east,you change the way you dress in modest way for respect of their culture. The working environment is different so as the government, Healthcare, Transportation and the overall social norms. Being in a sponsored residency makes you feel like you owe them your freedom. You cannot make immediate decisions for yourself without consulting your Sponsor first since they are in a legal way responsible for your stay. Most especially if it concerns your work or your residency status. No matter what you do, you will be regarded as a foreigner, an Expat. These are just some of the basic things that could be surprise to you when you moved. Although there are some things that you don’t understand why it is happening, or why things are not the same as you expected, you cannot do so much with it because it has been decided already even before you moved there and there’s not much you can do about it because, as i mentioned above, You are just an Expat. They make the Rules and you need to obey.Kuwait for example is a country who has no program for proper integration of Expats. You need to do the survival for yourself.

Your Life sort of Stand still

Moving  to another country may signal personal growth for others . On the other hand, it could be preceived that your life sort of stand still. Your life is moving sideways but never moving forward. Yes, maybe you are earning much but growing as a person is another thing. Being able to adapt to your new surroundings is personal. It varies from person to person. Homesickness is real. It may come suddenly from the time you least expect it in some degree or another. Your lifestyle had major changes and this greatly affect the way you see things back home. Example, if you leave your family behind in your home country just like most of the OFW’s in Middle East, your life  without them become monotonous. There is always the thought that you are missing something from the life that you left behind. Your relationship could suffer much if you don’t work hard on it. Now depending on the purpose of your move, then you can have back up plans. Most of Expats bring their family with them after settling in, others who cannot afford the cost of it just simply give in to the norms of being away from their loved ones.

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Sometimes Fellow Expats sucks!

When you moved to another country, its very likely that you will be meeting fellow Expats,maybe in the same boat as you. They came from different parts, sometimes same as your country of origin. They are the ones who complains about everything and bitches out about the new country’s customs and its culture, the food, weather etc. , everyday.! This is from a personal experience and although i hate to say this, i just find it so annoying to see fellow Expats behaving like this. It makes me wonder why they come here in the first place. I mean, it is their own choice to be here. The worst part could be that its your own fellowmen who will pull you down. In Philippines,it is known as Crab Mentality. Sad to say that some Expats bring them along with them. You need to develop a tough skin in order to survive when you are surrounded with people like this, or better , remove those from your circle.

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Boats in Souk Sharq

These are just few of the many things I have faced as an Expat . Many times i thought of giving up and i feel lost thinking if I’ve made a complete mistake of moving here. There come a point in time that i need to re assess my goals and reasoning why i have made this choice. On the other side, it have made me appreciate my home country even more and the things i have left behind . Being an Expat has a price, but its up to you to make it through the journey. I have made the decision to embrace the culture of this new country which has become my second home . I got married & had my first child here . I felt alone many times, i have missed being surrounded by old friends. All of these have made me realized that its your choices that define your destiny.

What about you, what is the biggest struggle you’ve faced as an Expat?

Thank you for stopping by  and If you like this post then you might be interested to check out my post about Kuwait : from an Expat point of View  for more up close & personal experience of my Expat Life in Kuwait.

Wishing you the best in your life as an Expat  wherever you are.