Jakarta Post, October 10, 2005
Muninggar Sri Saraswati, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
If you happen to be a not-so-rich foreign gentleman
who plans to marry an Indonesian lady here, you’d
better tie the knot quickly as the authorities may put
an expensive price tag on Indonesian women in the
Unknown to many, the Supreme Court is mulling
requiring foreign men to deposit some Rp 500 million
(about US$50,000) before marrying Indonesian female
The idea was recommended during a recent Supreme Court
national working meeting, which was attended by the
Supreme Court leadership and top judges from across
the country. It was not immediately clear how the
proposed scheme would be implemented.
But according to a document studied at the meeting,
such a regulation is applied in Egypt, where foreign
men are required to pay a sum of money into a state
bank before marrying Egyptian citizens.
“In a bid to protect women, the state of Egypt
requires every (male) foreigner who plans to marry an
Egyptian citizen to pay 25,000 Egyptian pounds into
the Nasser Bank as a bond,” said the document, a copy
of which was made available to The Jakarta Post over
The Supreme Court may likely follow up on the idea by
submitting it to the government or the House of
Representatives, which would draft the ruling.
The recommendation by the male-dominated Supreme Court
will add to the complications faced by transnational
couples wishing to register their marriages here.
Many consider the current Indonesian law on
citizenship as failing to protect transnational
couples, particularly marriages between Indonesian
women and foreign men.
Such couples must go through lengthy and complicated
immigration and other processes to legalize their
marriage under Indonesian law.
More problems usually occur later since the
Citizenship Law (No. 62/1958), which applies the
outdated bloodline principle, does not allow foreign
men married to Indonesian women to change nationality,
while any children of the marriage will automatically
take the same citizenship as the father.
The non-Indonesian husband and children are then
treated in much the same way as foreign tourists or
visitors. It means they must fly to neighboring
countries to renew their visas should the family
decide to live in Indonesia.
According to the law as it now stands, when an
Indonesian woman who is married to a foreign man dies,
her name cannot be inherited by her husband and
The Indonesian government instead auctions off the
property within one year, leaving the mourning family
The unfavorable situation has forced many Indonesian
women to marry their foreign fiances abroad, although
this does not actually solve the problem should they
decide to live in Indonesia.
The Ministry of Justice and Human Rights has submitted
a bill to amend the 1958 Citizenship Law to the House
of Representatives. However, the House has yet to list
it for further deliberation.