Manama: Top authorities in Saudi Arabia have reportedly endorsed a proposal to include a drug test in the premarital medical check-ups required for foreigners wishing to marry Saudi women.

All health ministry hospitals and clinics have been instructed to add the drug test to the medical check-ups mentioned on the application, Saudi daily Al Madinah reported on Thursday.

Both the would-be bride and groom must undergo the drug check-up.

The call for the drug tests has been made by several families to ensure there are no serious problems for their relatives resulting from a spouse being an addict.

The new requirement will also help reduce drug addiction among young people and will limit the domestic issues impacting couples as they start their lives together, and subsequently decrease the number of divorces, the families said.

Saudi Arabia has been particularly vigilant about marriages between Saudis and non-Saudis.

Under new rules announced in October, a Saudi woman has to be between 30 and 55 years old if she wants to take a non-Saudi husband, while a Saudi man has to be between 40 and 65 to be able to marry a non-Saudi woman.

The 17-point rules governing the marriages of Saudis with foreigners also stipulate that a Saudi man has to earn at least 3,000 Saudi riyals (Dh2,935) a month and to have an adequate house or apartment to have his mixed marriage approved.

The foreign woman whom he wants to marry must be at least 25 years old and the age difference between the two spouses in all cases must not exceed 30 years.

If the applicant is divorced, at least two years should have passed following the separation before he applies to marry a foreigner, and in case he is already married with a Saudi woman and wants a foreigner as a second wife, he must produce a certificate from a public or private hospital stating that his first wife is unable to assume all her marital responsibilities or is infertile. The certificate must be endorsed by the ministry of health.

The applicant must also sign a document stating that the approval of the marriage does not necessarily mean that his foreign wife would be granted the Saudi citizenship.

The rules for Saudi women planning to marry foreigners include a clause that stipulates that the age difference between them must not exceed 10 years.

The condition was set to ensure there is no exploitation of Saudi women.

The only exception for the minimum age for the woman is the existence of a physical handicap or special needs, including being born to unknown parents.

A non-Saudi cannot take a Saudi wife if he is already married, or if he had married a Saudi woman. He must also present a certificate showing that he has no criminal record both in his country of origin and in Saudi Arabia.

He must also present evidence he is not suffering from any infectious or genetic diseases.

He must not have been a member of the military in a foreign country, must not be on the lists of those banned from entering Saudi Arabia, must have a monthly salary of at least 5,000 Saudi riyals and a valid residence permit and must possess an appropriate family residence.

He must not be stateless and must have a specific nationality and must prove it with a passport from his country that has at least another 12 months of validity. He must also clear all security checks to be carried out by the competent authorities in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi woman has to sign a statement that her marriage with a foreigner did not necessarily mean he or their children would have the right to be granted the Saudi citizenship.

The new regulations call for the establishment of a committee tasked with looking into all applications by Saudis to take foreign spouses.

The members should give their opinion on the request within one month of receiving the application.

Around one third of the 28 million people living in Saudi Arabia are foreigners, working mainly in the construction and service sectors.