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Govt tightens curbs on Omanis marrying foreigners.

MUSCAT: The Primary Court is planning a crackdown on violators of the law that forbids Omanis from marrying foreign partners without the necessary permission from the authorities, a source at the Ministry of Interior said.

Oman had enforced a law in 2005 that stopped nationals from marrying non-Omanis. The government did not specify the reason for the law but many thought it was aimed at protecting the closely integrated local culture.

The government also forbids Omani men from marrying a foreign woman if he is still married to a local woman, unless his wife cannot fulfil her marriage obligations, the source said.

The law was later amended allowing Omanis to marry nationals of GCC states. It also permitted Omani citizens, who are disabled or elderly, to marry foreign nationals. The law has been relaxed recently to allow nationals to marry foreigners if they seek permission from the Ministry of Interior after many citizens complained.

The Ministry of Interior source also informed that many Omanis continue to marry foreign nationals without informing the authorities. Violators of the law, the source said, face a fine of up to RO2,000. The source confirmed that some Omanis find a loophole in the law by sponsoring their foreign spouses as company's staff or marrying them while employed by another company.

"I was planning to get married to a foreigner two years back but I did not get the approval from the Ministry of Interior. I have to follow the law; although I love her desperately I am helpless " an Omani man, who declined to be identified, bemoaned.

Omanis who are already married to foreign nationals need to apply to the Ministry of Interior and are then referred to the office of the public prosecutor. A court hearing will then be scheduled to decide the final verdict.

Muscat Press and Publishing House SAOC 2009

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Geographic Code:7OMAN
Date:Nov 23, 2010
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