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Marriage Guidance for Indians Abroad

Marital Problems among Overseas Indians and Government Assistance


Marriage to Overseas Indians

Download this Guidance Booklet (scroll down for link)

Government of India
Several thousand marriages between Resident Indians (RI) and Overseas Indians (OI) are solemnized every year. With the incidents of failed and fraudulent marriages of Indian women with Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) going up day by day, this has been an area of concern for the Government of India.

Who are Overseas Indians?

Overseas Indians are Indian citizens who have moved abroad for higher studies and/or work. These include people who graduated from Schools/Universities in India, and later moved abroad in search of better career opportunities. This group also include foreign citizens whose parents are of Indian origin, i.e., Indians born and brought up in a foreign country.

Marriage between Overseas and Resident Indians

Typically, Overseas Indians try to marry Resident Indians owing to cultural similarity, and expectation of a married life based on traditional Indian values. On the other hand, many Resident Indians look to marry Overseas Indians who are well established and successful in their career or business. Marriage alliances with an Overseas Indian is also perceived as an opportunity to lead a better life abroad and to enhance one's own career potential with help from spouse.

Hindu Marriage Act

Reasons for Failed Marriages to Overseas Indians

Marriages between Overseas Indians and Resident Indians fail in the same way as marriages between Resident Indians that result in divorce. There are several reasons for this, and some of the most common ones include cultural differences not anticipated before marriage; abandonment of spouses for various reasons; domestic violence; pre-marital relationships, delays in the system for acquiring visa or immigration, undisclosed medical conditions, psychological or physical disorders; expectation of a rich and lavish lifestyle abroad; and incompatibility mostly resulting from arranged marriages forced upon by family members.

Concerns about Overseas Marriages

A Committee set up by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs was concerned to note that the incidents of failed and fraudulent marriages of Indian women with NRIs have assumed alarming proportions. The Committee noted that owing to huge costs involved, the victim Indian women are not able to take legal recourse.

The Committee recommended that an effective mechanism need be worked out in order to curb the menace of fraudulent marriages including compulsory registration of marriages and amendment to the Indian Marriages Acts, which may provide for, among other things, the jurisdiction of divorce proceedings to be instituted only in the courts in whose jurisdiction the marriage was solemnized or registered.

The Committee also recommended that the prospective bridegroom should be made to give an affidavit to the effect that he is not married, and that the affidavit must be notarized by the respective consulate/embassy. It further said that government should set up Gender Cells/ legal cells to provide legal aid and counseling to victims of fraudulent marriages.

Polygamy for Hindu

Legal and Financial Assistance for Affected Women

The Indian government launched a scheme in 2007, which was revised in November 2011, to provide legal as well as financial assistance to women limited to US$ 3000 per case in developed countries and US$ 2000 per case in developing countries. The assistance is available to Indian women who have been deserted by their overseas Indian or foreign husbands or are facing divorce proceedings in a foreign country, subject to certain conditions laid out by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs.

'Marriages to Overseas Indian:' About the Guidance Booklet

India's ministry of overseas Indian affairs has brought out a guidance booklet on 'Marriages to Overseas Indians' which contains information on safeguards available to women deserted by their NRI spouses, legal remedies available, authorities that can be approached for redressal of grievances.

This booklet is an attempt to help you prepare with the ground realties of marriages between Overseas Indians and Resident Indians. It provides an insight into some frequently asked questions, to set realistic expectations about life abroad, typical problems and general advice on how to counter these situations and successfully navigate through marital issues.

Download the Booklet

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