Everything you need to know about marriage in Algeria
Algeria is a North African country where over 300,000 marriages are held annually. The two major types of marriage performed in the country are civil and religious marriages. Marriage in Algeria is a very important event that is taken seriously by Algerians. The customs and traditions in the country are similar to those of the Arab countries, where the religion and marriage practices revolve around the Islamic faith. Most of the citizens of Algeria are Sunni Muslims, and the laws and beliefs of this faith are generally followed in the country.
A person who plans to get married in Algeria is required to be 18 years old, and the country allows foreigners to marry too. In Algeria, the respective families of the bride and groom play a huge role in the marriage customs, just as it is under the Muslim faith, and although a man and a woman generally have the freedom to marry whoever they like, they must receive approval from their families before they proceed with the marriage. Traditionally, a man expresses his love for a woman and then later goes to meet her family to officially ask for her hand in marriage.
Algerian marriages are usually extravagant, with various types of ceremonial rites. Most times. The bride has to wear multiple clothes on the day of her wedding for different symbolic purposes. Marriage is still very popular in the country, and the registration process usually takes several weeks or even months, depending on all the requirements from the spouses. Let’s go straight to the other parts where marriage traditions, laws, and costs will be touched on.
A civil marriage in Algeria is legally binding under the laws of the country. In general, there are two ways for couples to get married civilly. The first is by performing the marriage before a notary, while the second way of conducting a civil marriage is in a town hall called a daira. The marriage is performed by a state-authorized registrar or notary, and sometimes couples may be allowed to choose the public venue where their marriage ceremony will be held with approval from the notary who will be conducting it. If a foreign national plans to get married in Algeria, permission from the
Wilaya-ie Prefecture must be obtained by the couple. If they do not get permission to go ahead, the marriage will not be officially registered in the country. There are certain conditions that must be met by couples before they are permitted to marry in Algeria, and these are stated below.
Conditions for marriage in Algeria
- To marry in the country, both partners must be of legal age. The spouses must ensure there is no legal barrier or impediment that may prevent them from getting married in the country.
- Two Muslim witnesses must be present during the ceremony.
- The marriage must be freely consensual between both parties.
- The bride must be represented by a guardian, and the bride price must have been agreed upon before the marriage is allowed to take place.
Required Documents (Algerian Nationals)
- National Identity Card
- A government-issued birth certificate. This document must have been issued within a period of three months prior to the wedding day.
- Passport photos. Three are usually required.
- Health certificate from both spouses. This must have been issued three months prior to the wedding day to show both partners are medically fit to marry each other.
- Divorce and death certificate This is applicable to spouses who were previously married.
- The proper certified documentation must be provided.
- Employment certificate or declaration of unemployment.
- Certificate of no impediment to marriage.
Required Documents (Foreign Nationals)
- A valid passport with the visa page
- Three passport photos
- A letter of request
- Birth certificate issued within the last three months. This must be translated by an accredited Algerian translator.
- Divorce or death decree.
- Certificate of no impediment to marriage. This must show there is no obstruction or legal barrier that may prevent the marriage from being lawful.
- Proof of residency or accommodation certificate
- Confirmation of conversion to Islam. This applies to non-Muslim men who want to marry in Algeria.
Religious and traditional marriages in Algeria
Most religious marriages performed in Algeria are under the principles of the Islamic faith. A civil marriage is the only type of marriage that is legally binding in the country, and couples must ensure they have conducted their civil marriage and obtained a marriage certificate before proceeding with other religious or traditional marriages. Couples may only be allowed to conduct a religious marriage before a civil marriage has been held under special circumstances. After the civil ceremony is concluded, the religious marriage may also be registered and given legal validity in the country.
The majority of the conditions for performing a religious or traditional marriage in Algeria are the same as those of civil marriages; however, couples may have to provide some additional paperwork depending on their religious association. The documents required during a Muslim marriage will be different from those required for an orthodox marriage. Once all the marriage conditions are met by the spouses, the marriage is deemed valid and is then registered in the population registry.
Following registration, the couple will have five days to have their marriage publicly recognized. This is to be done in the population registry where the marriage was held. After the period of five days, a court ruling must be made to confirm the marriage. Traditional and religious marriages are often mixed together in the country, and couples can make a decision on what type of ceremonial rites they would like to perform during their wedding as long as every legal marriage requirement has been fulfilled.
Algerian marriage traditions
This is the first step involved in the ceremonial rites of an Algerian marriage. Here, the groom goes to the bride's parents' house to officially make a proposal and ask for her hand in marriage. He is usually accompanied by his own family. In the Muslim tradition, marriage is not just between the couples; it is also a union of both families, and the respective families must be satisfied with each other and approve the marriage before further marriage plans can go on. The groom often presents various gifts to his bride and family after acceptance.
The lehlal refers to the official marriage contract. This is usually the next step after the conclusion of the engagement ceremony. Here, the terms of marriage are drawn up by a religious man, usually a member of the clergy such as an imam. All the terms of the marriage are included in the contract, and after it is fully prepared, both spouses will have to sign it. According to Algerian custom, the marriage contract must be signed in the presence of twelve men.
This is the actual wedding day of an Algerian wedding. Weddings in the country are often lavish, and after the religious rites are concluded, an after-party for a wedding reception begins. This may be held in another venue according to the choice of the couples. During the ceremony, the couple wears various beautiful outfits and gold jewelry and goes around to greet families, friends, and other guests who have come to celebrate her and her husband. The newlyweds usually receive different gift items from the guests during this ceremony.
Marriage Laws and Rights, Costs and Duties
Before you can legally wed in Algeria, there are a few conditions and laws you must be aware of and meet. Islam is the most widely practiced religion in Algeria; hence, Islamic law must be followed while arranging a marriage. According to the law in Algeria, intending Male and female couples must be at least 21 years old and 18 years old, respectively; minors may get married provided they receive permission from a judge. The law does not prohibit Muslim men from marrying non-Muslim women; however, it forbids men from getting married to women who practice polytheistic beliefs such as Hinduism, Mahayana Buddhism, et cetera. Muslim women, on the other hand, are not allowed to marry non-Muslim men, regardless of their religious beliefs.
Forced marriage by any third party is forbidden by the law; marriage is to be contracted with the consent of both the groom and bride and not by proxy. If, at any point, a marriage is discovered to have been forced for the purpose of deception or fraud, it may be annulled by a judge. The wali, who may be one's father or another close male relative, is in charge of arranging a woman's marriage; nevertheless, he has no right to object to the union if it is in the bride's best interests.
There must be two witnesses at the signing of the marriage contract. Close relatives by birth (a direct blood link) or marriage (an alliance link) are not allowed to wed; therefore, a Muslim man is not allowed to wed any female in his family with whom he shares a common ancestor. Same-sex marriages are illegal in Algeria, and offenders are liable to face jail terms. Polygamy is recognized and protected by law; a man may marry up to four wives, provided the husband informs his wife or wives and has the financial ability to treat all of them equally. He must not marry two sisters from the same family at once.
The registration of marriage must be done in the presence of a notary. Marriage between couples who have been previously divorced up to three times is prohibited by law. At the time of marriage, the woman is expected to be single, and if she has been previously married, a certificate of divorce or death would need to be presented to the right authorities showing that said marriage has been nullified. There must be no legal impediment to the marriage; whatever legal obstacle there is to the marriage must be dealt with and resolved before the chosen date. All necessary documents required by law must be submitted to the appropriate authorities before a marriage can be declared valid and legally binding.
In Algeria, the constitution does not make provision for the equal rights of couples in marriage. Algerian men have more room to exercise their rights in marriage than women. Women are subject to discrimination under several traditional and social laws. Irrespective of the woman's age, Sharia law considers her to be constantly under her husband's guardianship. In Algeria, all men have the right to practice polygamy, provided he has the means to cater to their needs equally. However, if he doesn't inform his wife or wives of his intent to bring in another wife, they have the right to file for divorce.
The husband and wife have the right to be involved in any political or social activity. Women have the right to report any form of domestic violence against them; this offense is punishable by law. Couples have the right to work and earn a living, but the right to work for a woman can be infringed upon by her husband. Like any other country in the world, couples have the right to give birth and raise their children according to their religious and moral beliefs.
Couples also have the right to adopt a child; however, the adopted child must still possess all of his or her natural rights. According to the rights of couples under Sharia law, the woman has the right to demand maintenance from her husband, and in return, the husband has the right to demand obedience from his wife in all aspects. The right to own property or assets lies in the hands of the husband. In the case of divorce, also known as talaq, the husband has the right to divorce his wife without reason and claim custody of the children; in cases where the mother gains custody, once she remarries, she forfeits this right.
Marriage in Algeria is a very expensive affair. Many couples in the country have put off their marriages because of the high cost of getting married. The state of the economy is also making it almost impossible for average people to get married. An Algerian wedding costs about 1.2 million dinars, which is approximately around €10,000–€8,000. This is so because of the extensive number of hours or days that these celebrations last for. The gifts, also known as Mahr, given to the bride by her soon-to-be husband are always expensive; they often consist of gold jewelry and other expensive stuff. How lavish a wedding is determines how wealthy the families are, and it positively affects the social standing of the family in society.
Many parents start saving for their children's weddings when they are young in order to alleviate the financial burden of getting married when they are older. The bride price and dowry are always very expensive, and many grooms are terrified by this; many even collect loans to be able to meet expectations from family members; these loans eventually become problems for the new family.
The duties and obligations of couples in Algeria are according to the provisions of Sharia law. Under this law, the wife has more duties to her husband than her husband does to her. It is the duty of the wife to be the homemaker; she is expected to take care of her husband as well as the children in the marriage. She has to be dutiful, respect her husband at all times, and not question his judgment. She is tasked with the duty of ensuring the welfare of the family and putting her husband's interests above hers.
The couple is obligated to provide proper moral and educational upbringing for their children and to ensure that they develop in a conducive environment. He has an obligation to ensure order and respect for his spouse from his family members, and the woman is also expected to respect and take care of her in-laws. The provision of the family's material needs is the duty of the husband; he has a responsibility to provide maintenance for his wife or wives, as the case may be, and his children.
Algeria is generally governed by the laws of the Islamic faith, and civil marriages are recognized and protected by the laws of the country. Since most Algerians are Muslim, polygamy is legal in the country in the form of polygyny. However, a man is allowed to have up to four wives, whereas a woman may only be married to one man at a time. This generally falls under the laws of Islam.
Same-sex marriage is illegal in Algeria.
Two people of the same sex are not allowed to have sexual relations or marriage in the country, and the offense is referred to as bigamy. This also applies to foreign nationals who plan on getting married in the country. Before proceeding with the marriage, couples must ensure that all marriage conditions are met and that all required documents have been completed and submitted. We hope this article has helped you understand all you need to know about marriage in Algeria.
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