Marrying a Chinese Citizen in China

Information on the marriage procedure for a foreigner marrying a Chinese citizen...

For a foreigner wishing to marry a Chinese citizen in China, the following official documents are required:

  • Statutory declaration
  • Visa

Statutory declaration

The foreigner must complete a statutory declaration in the presence of a registered solicitor. This document states personal details such as name, address, sex, place and date of birth, nationality, passport number, occupation and marital status. This declaration is often referred to as the "Certificate of Marriageability". The Chinese equivalent is the dan shen zheng ming, or "single certificate".

This document must then be authenticated by a Legalisation Office in the embassy of the foreigner's home country, or by the Chinese embassy or consulate. The document is valid for six months after the date of declaration. There is a fee for the document to be legalised by the Chinese embassy or consulate, and the process can take anything from two to ten days.

Visa

If the foreigner is not already a resident in China, it is necessary to have a valid Chinese visa before entering the country.

The marriage application

A marriage application must be submitted by both parties to the marriage registration office of the local government authority. The marriage application must be made in the Chinese citizen's recorded place of residence (hakou).

Required documents for the Chinese partner:

  • The Certificate of Marriageability
  • A birth certificate
  • The Hukou (household registration book)
  • A health certificate (from an approved hospital)
  • A letter from the parents of the Chinese citizen giving permission for their child to marry a foreigner

Required documents for the foreign partner:

  • A current passport
  • A Chinese residency permit or visa
  • A health certificate from a local approved hospital
  • Three photographs of the marrying couple taken together
  • The registration fee
  • A Certificate of Marriageability

Marriage ceremonies

The administration of marriages is handled by the municipal Civil Affairs Bureau (Minzheng Ju). There is no ceremony for a civil marriage in China. After completing all the paperwork, the couple can be legally married in anything between 15 minutes and one hour, depending on the time taken by the marriage registration office to approve the submitted documents. After this, the marriage is legal, and once the application is approved the marriage registration office registers the marriage and a marriage certificate is issued for the couple to collect.

It is normal for a ceremony or celebration to be held after the legal registering of the marriage.

  • For more information about marriage in China: Click here