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Basic procedures for foreign-related marriage registration

(china.org.cn)

1) Application

To apply for marriage registration, partners of the contemplated marriage shall appear together at the marriage registration office (Typically, marriage registration offices are only open Monday to Friday during certain hours, and are closed Saturday, Sunday and holidays). They should be prepared to submit all required documents, certificates, and photographs that establish the identity, residential status, as well as the marriageability of each of them.

Both parties concerned shall respectively complete a form of Declaration of Application for Marriage Registration and read out their declarations in front of the marriage registrar. They must sign their names or affix fingerprints in the column of “Declarer” in person on the Declaration of Application for Marriage Registration.

There will be a fee charged for the registration of a marriage. Besides, all documents in a foreign language must be translated into Chinese at the applicants' own expense. The authenticity of translation shall be certified by a Chinese notary public.

2) Verification

Upon receipt of an application to register a marriage, the marriage registration office will ascertain that both parties have reached legal age (generally 22 for men and 20 for women), and that both parties are single and otherwise free to marry.   

3) Issuance

Upon confirming that the application conforms to the Marriage Law of the People's Republic of China and to the required procedures, the registration office shall give the applicants the permission to register and complete the registration process within one month. Once the registration is completed, one marriage certificate will then be issued to each partner in the form of a red booklet with the couple’s picture inside.

Two foreigners can get married in China if both of them meet the marriage requirements in China (Certificate of Marriageability and at least one of them has a Chinese residence permit). The marriage is to be documented in the Marriage Registration Office, Bureau of Civil Affairs.

There is no preliminary sign-up for the registration, and the registration itself takes about 30 minutes. This includes filling out the application (in Chinese; the assistance from a Chinese speaker will be required because the officials at the Marriage Registration Office do not necessarily speak English); entering your data into the database by the official; and printing out two Marriage Certificates.

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