Wednesday, November 5, 2008

International marriage and legal documents

On 13th of October, hubby and me went to a photo studio in Akita city to have professional portraits of us taken together in ethnic Indian wear. It was our third marriage anniversary and we realized that we did not have any formal photo of us together for keepsake. I could not make this blog post in October as I wanted to upload the portrait photos, which we got just a few days back.

The anniversary day brought back happy memories of the day when we decided to get married about four years ago. However, it also reminded us of the requirement of many legal documents from India and various legal formalities to be completed for an 'international marriage' (kokusai kekkon in Japanese) like ours in Japan. I remember that we started the procedure of collecting the required documents in June 2005 but could register our marriage only in October. I had to make a trip from Japan to India for procuring, attestation, and authentication of many of the documents. In India, I had to go to the city (municipal) hall of my hometown, Home Department of Maharashtra state located in Mumbai, Registrar office of birth and death in New delhi, and Ministry of External Affairs of India located in New Delhi. I have lived in Japan for almost a decade and therefore the procedure of procuring and authenticating the documents served as a shocking, painful, and shameful reminder of the bureaucracy and blatant corruption existing in almost all levels of the government offices in India. Or may be it was just my bad luck that I had to deal with corrupt officials in all the offices that I went. Thankfully, my parents accompanied me to most of these offices and helped me to deal with the officials. After returning to Japan with all the precious(!) documents, hubby and me made a few trips to the Embassy of India in Tokyo to get several more documents, and ultimately we could register our marriage in the city hall of Tsukuba on the 13th of October, 2005. By the time we finished the registration of our marriage, hubby and me were really tired of all the legalities. Our reaction after getting married was not of happiness but rather a sense of relief. When we came out of the city hall premises, hubby exclaimed "Oh! finally we are married." But that was not the case. Next, we had to register our marriage in the Embassy of India in Tokyo. For this purpose, we required a few documents from the city hall of Tsukuba and their authentication from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan in Tokyo, and it took us less than half a day to get the documents. Procuring the documents in Japan was that simple! However, there were several more procedures to be completed in the Embassy of India that officially required about 1.5 months. Here I would like to thank the staff of Indian Embassy who went out of their way and helped us in dealing with various procedures. Finally, we could complete the marriage registration process in the Indian Embassy by the end of December 2005. We were physically, metally, and emotionally exhausted after dealing with all the procedures and legal documents for almost seven months! And therefore we had absolutely no mood or feeling to have a wedding ceremony or even a marriage party with friends or relatives. Also, we had spent a lot of money just in procuring various documents from India. Now after three years, the shock and weariness of dealing with the government officials in India is gradually wearing off and we can even make fun or laugh at several incidences that occurred during the trips to those offices in India. We realized that registration of 'international marriage' is not that easy!
So this year on 13th of October, it was the first time that hubby and me took some professional portraits of us in a photo studio. We wore traditional Indian clothes. Hubby looked very smart and handsome in Sherwani suit. I wore a Salwar-Kameez suit. We enjoyed posing for the photographs. Both of us are a bit camera conscious and the professional photographer probably had a hard time to make us smile and relax during the photo session. The photographer, being a professional, did his job well. We are really happy that we took the professional portraits this year on our marriage anniversary. Below are the photos that hubby took of the portrait photographs bound in hardcover.


Subbi said...

Belated Wedding Day wishes to you & your husband, Manisha. The sherwani fits him quite well & the two of you look very nice together.

Manisha Kundu-Nagata said...

Thanks for the wishes, Subbi.

Neeraj said...

Belated happy anniversary. We also got our marriage registered after 12 years of marraige. Both of u look very good in photos.

Manisha Kundu-Nagata said...

Thanks for the wishes, Neeraj. And thanks for appreciating the photos.
You registered your marriage after 12 years of married life!! Wow!

kunal said...

Manisha. I am about to be married to my fiancee who is from Kazakhstan. I have to produce a document showing that I am un-married. I have got the document from my church. But I am not sure what exactly are the process of getting the government documents on this. I need apostille from Indian government for this. Can you please guide me step by step how to go forward.

Manisha Kundu-Nagata said...

Congratulations Kunal!
Regrading the document, it was a big procedure about 6 years back. Now I am not sure whether the procedure remains same or not....The following were the steps needed to procure a document saying "I am eligible to get married".
1. Parents/or elder relatives had to write on an affidavit (stamp paper) about their relationship with me and that I was eligible to get married under Indian laws.
2. Officer at the municipality office of the city where my parents stay, had to sign and stamp the affidavit.
3. The affidavit had then to be authorized (stamp and signature of some official, cannot recollect who) by the home ministry of the state.
4. This affidavit had to be authenticated by the ministry of external affairs at New Delhi.
5. Then the document had to be authenticated by the Indian embassy at Tokyo.
6. This document was then submitted as to the city hall/ marriage officer of the city where I registered my marriage.

Hope this information is useful for you.
Best wishes.

kunal said...

Thanks a Lot Manisha. Actually I made and affidivit myself and then got it stamped from SDM Delhi, then stamp from ministry of external affiairs and then stamp from Embassy of Kazakhstan. Have sent the document copy to fiancee. She took it to the marriage office. Officer first told that it has to be a certificate. but after Embassy stamping they will tell their judgement tomorrow. I am waiting for it. Other option is to get a certificate from SDM rank govt officer and then Ministry of External Affairs Stamp. Not an easy task :) .... I am keeping my fingures crossed. Thanks a lot for your information. If these two process dont work then I will have to go the way you suggested. But it may take time and I dont have time as we are getting married in June. I dont know whether short cut will work or not .. Thank.. Kunal

Anonymous said...

Hi Kunal,

so did your shortcut work out?