Singapore to propose law to enable virtual marriage solemnizations amid COVID-19 outbreak
SINGAPORE – Couples may have their marriages solemnized virtually from next month amid the coronavirus outbreak, if a coming Bill gets passed by Parliament.
Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee wrote on Facebook that a Bill will be introduced at the next Parliament sitting on May 4 to enable civil and Muslim marriages to be solemnized remotely. This means that the couple would not have to be present at the Registry of Marriages or the Registry of Muslim Marriages, nor need to be in the physical presence of a marriage solemnizer and witnesses.
During the circuit breaker period, marriage solemnizations have had to be postponed.
Mr Lee wrote: “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.”
If the Bill is passed, couples – where at least one party is a Singapore citizen or permanent resident – will be able to have their marriages solemnized virtually. The process will be made available only to couples who present Singapore-issued documents for verification, “to ensure that proper safeguards in place”, said Mr Lee.
The couples, their witnesses and in the case of Muslim marriages, the wali, must also be physically in Singapore so that they can sign the statutory declaration. During the solemnization of the marriage, the couple, solemnizer and witnesses must all be physically in Singapore as well.
Mr Lee said that virtual solemnizations can start from mid-May, if the law is enacted. He added that the option may extend even beyond the circuit breaker period.
“We will also resume solemnizations that are conducted in person, when it is safe to do so,” he said.
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