Lift of Ban on Foreign Marriage Acknowledged by Authorities

Despite the marriage ban being officially lifted when Prime Minister Hun Sen signed a sub-decree on Nov 3, authorities only started allowing foreigners to marry Cambo­dians this week, officials said Tuesday.

The Ministry of Interior issued a new directive on Jan 12 on how pro­vincial authorities should implement the new sub-decree, ministry Se­cretary of State Sak Setha said. The procedures have changed and marriage applications will now take two weeks to process, he said.

According to the directive, foreign applicants must provide a series of documents including two marriage application forms along with two 4 cm by 6 cm photo not older than six months, a copy of the applicant’s passport with valid entry visa, and documents issued by the applicant’s home country, including health record, criminal record, job record and a letter of freedom to marry.

The marriage ban was imposed on March 29, 2008, following a report by the International Organi­zation of Migration highlighting the vulnerability of Cambodian women who marry­ing South Korean men in in­creasing numbers and often through unregulated broker agencies in Cambodia.

Foreigners must submit two cop­ies of their marriage application forms, which can be picked up at the Ministry of Interior, to the Phnom Penh municipal registrar of­fice, office chief Uk Kheang said. The application must then be filed with the Mini­stry of Foreign Affairs, which will forward it to the Ministry of Interior before it is sent to local authorities for final processing, he said..

“In Phnom Penh, we officially allow­ed marriage to foreigners since [Monday],” Uk Kheang said.

In Pursat province’s Krakor district, Ansar Chambak commune chief Lanh Sithon said that he had yet to receive the new directive, and until he did, no foreigner could marry a Cambodian woman.

“I still ban my people from marrying foreigners, as I have not received information of the lift [of the ban] and the approval of the sub-decree,” said Lanh Sithon. He added that he would lift the ban in his commune as soon as he received information about the new directives.

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