Marriage Registration For Foreigners in China

Marriage Registration For Foreigners in China

In this article, we will explain how to do marriage registration in China where at least one of the people involved is a foreign national. We will address two situations, as listed below:

–  Both parties are foreigners

–  One person is a foreigner and the other is Chinese

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Before we start covering both scenarios, we will first highlight the marriage registration requirements:

a-  The minimum age for getting married is 22 years old for the male and 20 years old for the female

b-  Marriage shall be based on the complete willingness of both parties and neither shall be already married

c-  Both parties should not be related by blood up to third degree of kindship

d- Both parties shall not be suffering from any disease that can render either of them unfit for marriage

e-  At least one person shall be residing or working in the city where the marriage will be registered

f-  Both people shall be present, in person, in order to register at the Registration Center of Marriage and in order to obtain the marriage certificate.

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Now with that set, we can move to discuss the different cases of marriage registration:

1) If one or both parties are foreigners

The documents required by the foreign party are the following:

–  Valid passport or international travel document

–  Valid proof of legal residence or work in the city to be provided at least by one of the parties

–  Birth Certificate

–  Documents proving that neither parties currently have a spouse, that would be one of the followings:

i.  Single Status Certificate (if either party was married before)

ii.  Finalized divorce papers (if either party has been divorced)

iii.  Death certificate of ex-spouse (if either party is widowed)

The documents along with the birth certificate have to be notarized by the competent authority in the country of nationality and authenticated by the Chinese embassy or consulate in the country of nationality. Some cities may accept that document issued by the embassy or the consulate of the country of nationality in China, but you need to double check with the local Registration Center of Marriage and Adoption.

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–  A Chinese translation of the documents mentioned above. If the translation is done in China, then you will need to provide in addition a photocopy of the translation agency’s business license along with its official seal. If the translation is done in the country of nationality, then the translation will also need to be authenticated by the Chinese embassy in the country of nationality.

With all the paperwork completed, both parties should go to the Registration Center of Marriage and Adoption in the city where one of the parties is working.

2) If the one of the parties is Chinese

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The marriage registration will need to take part in the city or province of the Chinese party’s hukou.

The documents required by the Chinese party are the following:

–  Chinese ID card

–  Birth Certificate

–  Household registration book or hukou

The documents required by the foreign party for marriage registration purpose are listed in section 1 above.

With all the paperwork completed, both parties should go to the Registration Center of Marriage and Adoption in the city where the hukou of the Chinese partner is located.

About the Authors:

Ikbal (known by the nickname “Ikky”) is an R&D Manager working in Shanghai. He has been living in China for over 11 years.

Julian runs a company that works with individuals and organizations doing business between the US, China, and Africa. He has been based in China for a number of years.

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