Saudi Arabia: Are the Wives Chopped Liver?

Just think about the marriages where a Saudi man has chosen to marry a foreigner.  If the man is a Saudi student and out of the Kingdom on a government scholarship and marries a foreigner, he will probably not receive permission to bring his foreign wife back into the Kingdom with him.  It is against the regulations for a student to marry a foreigner.

If a Saudi man is under 35 years of age and marries a foreigner he will not receive permission to bring his foreign wife back into the Kingdom with him unless he has some connections (WASTA) which can help him.

If a Saudi man, regardless of age, works for certain employers such as Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Guard, Armed Forces or Intelligence Services, he is “technically” prohibited from marrying a foreign woman and would not receive permission to bring his foreign wife back into the Kingdom.  (there have been special exceptions made)

Yet, if a child results from a marriage between a Saudi student and foreigner or a Saudi man under 35 years of age and a foreigner or a Saudi man who is employed by certain government organizations and a foreigner, that child would be recognized as a Saudi and receive citizenship.  It would be viewed as okay for a child to be separated from its mother and travel to Saudi Arabia with its biological father even though the Saudi government would not recognize the marriage itself.

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14 Responses

  1. Tell us what would be the regulations if a Saudi woman married a foreigner. What if she had a child by a foreign father.

  2. we, in UAE, share some of the rules (regarding marriage to a forigner)! but do they follow the rules nope !!

  3. Can the wife enter the country on any other visa?

  4. If a Saudi woman had married a foreigner and had a child, that child would not be recognized as a Saudi. Even though it is the woman who gives birth, in Saudi (and many other countries in the world), lineage/parentage is traced through the father.

    Could the wife enter the country on another visa? Yes; if she is a muslim she could enter on an umrah visa. However, if the government does not recognize or have given approval for the marriage, the husband and wife are not supposed to be together for they would be viewed as unrelated and therefore in violation of law.

  5. Well that’s good news, even though she’s not Muslim (I doubt they would know). I was just wondering in case we ever planned to visit my family in the future.

  6. Actually if a Saudi women is married to a foreigner and she has children, then those children will be saudi citzens once they get to be 18 years of age. It’s a long complicated process, but as far as I know this is the case.

  7. Thank you for the info, Anon Saudi. I was not aware that children who had a foreign father had any kinds of options pertaining to citizenship.

  8. In 2005 i was in the situation where i was trying to get married to a saudi national who worked in the military hospital of riyadh but on a civilian contract not military.. a certain prince of saudi made our life a living hell to the extent they jailed the saudi man i was engaged to, took his passport from him and told his father who in turn threatened to remove him from the family. The reason i was not allowed to marry him was 1- his place of work, 2- i was a revert and 3 – i was british and white not arab and arabs are better than whites.
    Till today i hold a grudge on the prince who destroyed my happiness in 2005..i shall not forgive these 2 faced evil so called muslims. they are the reason so many people in the world are suffering while they enjoy wasta and 5 star facilities of luxery. Allah will deal with them and their evil racism and fitnah.

  9. rejected by saudi gov,

    Are you still in touch with him? Can he leave?

  10. Carol,

    I love the picture of the little boy. Too cute. I’m sure that he’ll grow up to be a real heart breaker someday.

    The fact that the government is now accepting these children as Saudis and going after the fathers to pay child support is a big step forward.

    Laws should be set up to help support the mothers in these situations as well. Until then, women will have to depend on the kindness of the fathers of their children.

  11. No Saudi woman would be permited to marry a foreigner, alomost imposible, most marriages the girl is promised to her first cousin.
    In Muslims families the children belong to the father, if the father dies to the eldest male in the husband family, and beware that if one gets married with a Muslim man, one has to convert and if one goes to his country , she dosent have any rights.
    I know I have lived in Iran, Yemen, the Gulf, etc.
    And the worst would be for a mother to allow the children to visit this countries,they might not see them again.
    To be a Muslim is to live it.

  12. @Karla,
    i know several Saudi women married to foreigners- but yes it isn’t common. And why would they not have rights in “his” country? If his country is the US or Uk they certainly have rights there. But yes she would have no rights if his country is KSA.

  13. Hi, just to say to everyone here offering information/advice, you’re all amazing!!! This topic is such a rare one, it has been hard to know where to turn……. And here i am! So thank you very much to everyone in advance for your ideas/opinions if you can help me…

    Firstly, i was born here UK, i’m female, 24years.
    December 2010 i met the love of my life. Cant begin to describe how life has been since he’s been around, we’re like hand & glove. The most patient, loyal, honest, caring, understanding guy i’ve EVER known. Despite our mistake, he’s really a VERY good muslim. & it opened my eyes to life. I’m now after reading/studying a lot, ready to convert to Islam…. I can honestly say Islam has changed my whole life.
    My only problem– He was sent here to U.K by SAUDI AIR FORCE to study (aircraft engineer from Riyadh but he’s based in Taif)
    A very innocent boy at heart, we knew we were doing wrong- just couldnt stop seeing each other. But from day 1, he was so honest/open & explained his impossible situation to me. I’ve had endless tears from him. Wishing he never signed that contract. Regrets. I feel very sad for us both.

    It’s been 11months, we’ve been everywhere together but in July he got sent back to Taif. That was worst thing i’ve ever gone through in my life. Not knowing when we’ll see each other again. But he was sent back here again last friday al hamdullah!!!
    We had a great weekend reuniting but there’s a mood that comes over us as if someone has died, he’s crying wanting us to be married. I feel the same. But his hands are tied!!!
    I believe his contract is 8-15years i’m unsure but he’s put money into a family home & being 24, saudi air force is his only qualifications— & certainly will be after 8years. Which means even if he did manage to get out after 8years, he’d have nothing to show for it.

    I’ve been willing to wait for him, but i’m aware it sounds ridiculous. 8years a lot can happen. Im not so worried about him getting married. He said it will be a long time before that happens. His 2 older brothers a 30, 32 i think, but they’re not yet married. He also says his family are no issue for us, as his mom just recently mentioned an example like ours to him out the blue, about a distant neighbour who married a foreign girl & how wonderful it was that she’d moved there, they’d married & she’d converted…. My guy held his tongue as he’s like that anyway but we agreed not to tell families until we can find any kind of chance to stay together….My dad is not disimilar to an arab, he’s very strict (perhaps it’s the roots that go back on his mother’s side) but i certainly havent broke the news & dont intend to until there’s some hope for us 😦

    So anyway i’ve just left it in God’s hands…. But we had words last night. My mood has been very tense. He’s noticed my changes. It’s because in back of my mind, i know he leaves again the end of this November. It’s hurting us both. Massively. He’s such a good guy & i’m a good girl it just feels so unfair :(((((
    So… We pretty much ended it last night.
    Today i cant stop crying. Couldnt even go to work. Cant eat. And i can see by his laptop being on he hasnt been able to go to work today either…..

    Does anybody have any ideas??? Any loopholes??? answers?? Ways to be together? Please help!!! But be gentle!!

    Thanks everyone !!

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