COVID-19: Bill to allow virtual marriage solemnisations to be introduced in Parliament

Married couple holding hand.
Married couple holding hand.

SINGAPORE – Marriages in Singapore may soon be solemnised virtually.

A Bill will be introduced in Parliament at its next sitting on 4 May to enable civil and Muslim marriages to be solemnised remotely using technology. There will be no need for couples to be present at the Registry of Marriages (ROM) or Registry of Muslim Marriages (ROMM), or in the physical presence of a marriage solemniser and witnesses.

Announcing this in a Facebook post on Sunday (26 April), Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee said, “The ongoing pandemic has caused many couples to be anxious about their marriage plans. During the circuit breaker period, marriage solemnisations for civil and Muslim marriages have had to be postponed since solemnisations need to be conducted physically.

“Even during a crisis, we should try to enable important life events such as marriages to go on. We should not let COVID-19 hold back those who are ready to start a new life together.”

As such, if the law is passed, couples, where at least one party is a Singapore citizen or permanent resident. will be able to be married virtually. “To ensure that proper safeguards are in place, this process will only be made available to couples who are presenting Singapore-issued documents for verification, instead of foreign-issued documents,” Lee said.

Additionally, “the couples, their witnesses and the wali (for Muslim marriages) must be physically in Singapore for them to sign the statutory declaration and for us to verify the necessary documents”. The couple, solemniser and witnesses must also all be physically in Singapore during the solemnisation of the marriage.

This can be started from mid-May, if the law is enacted, Lee said. He added that this option may continue to be available, and possibly to more couples, after the circuit breaker period.

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