SINGAPORE — Couples planning to get married will soon be able to choose to complete the steps necessary to apply for marriage online, such as verifying documents and necessary declarations, on a new web portal instead of doing it in person.
The new Marriage Registry (ROM) portal, called Our Marriage Journey, will also provide information and resources to help couples prepare for marriage, among other features.
Minister of State for Social and Family Development Sun Xueling told parliament on Monday (January 10) that the Covid-19 pandemic has shown that certain processes, such as document verification, can be digitized.
Currently, couples must make a solemn declaration of certain matters, such as that they are not already married, before a commissioner for oaths.
Under amendments to the Women’s Charter, which passed on Monday, they no longer have to. They only have to make the declaration in a prescribed online form.
However, the consequences of a false declaration, among others, will be similar to those of a solemn declaration.
Couples can still celebrate their unions in person, but they will also be able to do so via video link, an option introduced during the cutout in May 2020 that will be made permanent.
The ROM Registrar can also cancel a couple’s marriage application if the official is satisfied there is a good reason to do so under the Women’s Charter amendments, Ms Sun said.
In December last year, the Ministry of Social and Family Development piloted a program where celebrants mentor newlyweds in their first year of marriage. The Journey With You (Joy) program started with 20 celebrations.
Ms Sun said: “Many licensed solemnisers develop good relationships with couples and have a wealth of helpful advice.”
Religious ceremonies related to marriage may also take place before, during or after the celebration, as the ROM has received calls about this, she added.
Currently, these religious rites can only take place after the solemnization.
Amendments to the Women’s Charter also include updating safeguards to ensure sacred marriage is not abused.
Ms Sun said: “We do not want to be a wedding hub for weddings where neither party has a Singapore connection, as this could compromise the ROM’s ability to do due diligence and inadvertently undermine the importance of marriage.”
She said the ROM wants to be able to continue verifying that couples “have the capacity to marry and are entering into a marriage of their own free will and in good faith.”