I’ve been doing a series of posts on my interactions with Malaysian bureaucracy relating to my visa (how I first applied, how I got permission to work, and how I renewed those). However my first real encounter was when I had to register my marriage to a Malaysian after our wedding in Singapore. This was a non-Muslim wedding; other, possibly more stringent, rules apply to Muslim wedding registration.

At the time, my wife was a Singapore permanent resident on employment pass, which meant that the process for marrying in Singapore was a lot simpler than it would have been in either the UK or Malaysia. Doing so meant that we had to register with the Malaysian authorities within six months (the UK doesn’t require you to register overseas marriages any more).

Singapore marriage certificate

This can be done either at the Malaysian High Commission/ Embassy/Representative Office in your host country, or at an office of the Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara (JPN = National Registration Department). My understanding is two Malaysians who marry overseas can do this at their local JPN office as determined by their identity card (I/C), but as a foreigner I had to go to the head office in Putrajaya.

Please note that this ‘re-registration’ must take place within six months of the wedding date (potential fine of RM100 for first year, then extra RM50 for each year after that); however the clock is reset if the couple enter Malaysia. It’s not clear if you can reset repeatedly; we actually went to register on the house move between Singapore and KL!

Both of you have to go in person. As expected, there is a long list of documents and copies that you need to take with you.

The main application form is JPNKC06. This has sections for personal details of husband and wife, the wedding information, and a declaration that the marriage is legal; there is another section to record any other current marriages for those whose religion/ethics allow them. This requires passport photos; the Putrajaya office has a photographer and copy shop on the ground floor.

This form must be stamped by a registered interpreter of the language the foreigner speaks (even though I could read enough Malay, and my wife could translate for me if needed; actually I think this is an excellent safeguard, if inconvenient for those who are from a less commonly translated country). It must also be stamped by a Commissioner of Oaths.

The form is available at https://www.jpn.gov.my/wp-content/uploads/JPNKC06.pdf – note we were told we needed an original, but actually ended up being given a photocopy.

I/C of Malaysian spouse, plus a photocopy. We didn’t need this to be a certified true copy (CTC) this time.

A very blurry wedding day photo to break up the text

Passport of Malaysian spouse plus photocopies of personal details page and stamps/visa for country where married if applicable. Also not CTC.

Passport of foreign spouse plus photocopies of personal details, latest arrival in Malaysia and stamps/visa covering time and place of marriage. In practice they asked for every non-blank page.

Any identity documents needed in the country of marriage. For us this was my wife’s employment pass.

Foreign marriage certificate and a copy. Our copy didn’t need to be CTC, but some certificates do need either the Malaysian High Commission/Embassy in the country it’s from, or the country’s HC/Embassy in Malaysia to CTC and recertification by the Foreign Ministry at Wisma Putra (in Putrajaya). These countries include India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, but the desk officer can ask for CTC from any country if they want. The Commissioner of Oaths we had stamp the form told us that Burmese/Myanma, Vietnamese and Chinese applicants are routinely asked for CTC, but I don’t know if that is the case.

Birth certificate of non-Malaysian and copy. We were actually asked for my wife’s as well, and they wanted it in the new format, so she had to go upstairs to get a new one. I think that cost RM10.

Decree nisi or death certificate of previous spouse if applicable.

Application fee of RM20.

We were also told we might need some wedding photos or other evidence that the wedding had happened, such as invitations, dinner invitations or invoices. We had our receipts from the wedding and informal evening meal, plus an invoice for deposit on our Chinese celebration, but in the end we didn’t need them.

It took us about an hour to complete the forms, get the photos, copies and stamps needed, and get things tidy for submission. After we handed in the forms, we went away for an hour to get some food. On our return we still had about a half hour wait until we were seen by the registrar. He went over everything quickly, gave us three official copies of the Malaysian marriage certificate to sign (one for the records and one each – also quite progressive), and that was it. We also bought some JPN-branded heavy duty document wallets at the same time at RM4 each – nice little sideline!

Malaysian marriage certificate

In total then it took a bit longer than three hours to sort everything out. Not too bad – if significantly longer than the combined total of all the work necessary in Singapore. This happened a bit longer ago, so I’m not sure if I will be able to answer questions, but I’m certainly willing to try.