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Non-Chinese Getting Married in China

Is it possible for two foreigners to get married in China?

Yes, it is possible for foreigners to get married in China; one of the couple must reside in China and present a Chinese residence permit. If the couple are both on L visas, it is unlikely they will be able to register their marriage.

I am not Chinese. Can I marry a Chinese person in China? How do I register my marriage? What are the formalities?

It is possible to marry in China if one person is of Chinese nationality. 

Step 1: Submit the required documents

The Sino-foreign couple must go together, in person to the appropriate marriage registration office and submit a completed marriage registration application form (available at the marriage registration office). The appropriate marriage registration office will be the one in the jurisdiction in which the Chinese partner is registered (the location of the hukou). Together with the application form, the couple must submit a number of other documents:

Chinese Partner
(1) A certificate of marriageability (2) A certificate of birth (3) Household registration book (hukou) (4) A health certificate (obtainable from a regional-level local hospital) (5) A letter from the parents of the Chinese partner giving permission for their child to marry a foreigner (this letter should include the index fingerprint of both parents below their signatures and date)
Foreign Partner
(1) A current passport (2) Chinese residence permit (3) A health certificate from a local hospital designated by the marriage registration office (4) Three photos of the marrying couple, taken together (5) A registration fee (6) A certificate of marriageability.

Item 6 requires further explanation. Basically, the marriage registration office needs a form from the foreign partner's home government stating he/she is not already married in his/her home country. Every foreign government has its own version of this type of form with its own requirements for obtaining one. Couples will need to check the embassy website of the foreign partner's home country in China for details on how to obtain this kind of certification. (Chinese translations must accompany foreign-language documents.)

Application requirements may vary from office to office. When visiting the appropriate marriage registration office to pick up an application form and find out which local hospital the foreign partner must receive a check-up at, also check to see if the office's requirements differ from those listed here.

Step 2: Wait for the good news

It takes the marriage registration office about an hour or so to review the submitted documents and approve the application.

Step 3: Collect the certificate

Once the marriage registration office approves the application and registers the marriage, it will issue a marriage certificate to be picked up by the couple.

Living in China after Marrying a Chinese Spouse

Usually when married to a Chinese you are entitled to a one-year L visa, obtainable by presenting your marriage certificate (or authorized translation and if not Chinese), wife’s identity card, registration of residence certificate (you must register where you live at your local police station), passport and fee at your local visa office. On an L visa you can’t legally do paid work or study an officially recognized course in China, so if you want to do either of these you should apply for the appropriate visa. For more detailed and up-to-date visa information, contact Chinese embassy or consulate in your country.

Permanent Residence in China

Permanent Residence is difficult to obtain. Foreigners who want to apply for permanent residence in China should obey Chinese laws, be healthy and have no criminal records. In addition, they should also meet some other requirements to obtain Chinese permanent residence. Read Chinese permanent residence requirements.

The information on this page is for reference only. For up-to-date and detailed information about China visa, please contact Chinese embassy or consulate in your country.