Link to our previous article: Marriage Registration for Foreigners in China
We would like to remind our readers that in the above article two foreigners can no longer obtain a marriage certificate in China, as of April 1, 2019. The information about a foreigner marrying a Chinese national remains correct. Some consulates or embassies can provide marriage certificates for their citizens. If this is not possible, some foreign couples got married in Hong Kong. In this article, we will explain how to register a marriage in Hong Kong.
Please note that this procedure refers to heterosexual marriage, as same-sex marriage is still not legal in Hong Kong.
What are the required documents for the application?
To file a marriage application, the marrying parties only need to show their passports.
If one of the marrying parties has been previously married, he/she must also provide valid documents showing that the previous marriages had been terminated.
In case of widow / widower, a certified or sealed copy of the death certificate and marriage certificate should be forwarded together with the notice of marriage.
A death or divorce certificate would need to be notarized and apostilled back home. Hong Kong S.A.R and Macau S.A.R. recognize the apostille system. Mainland China is not part of this system, but a local notary in Mainland China should suffice if the divorce or death happened in Mainland China. This process is similar to the authentication and notarization of documents, but instead of needing a Chinese consulate or embassy stamp, the highest national level of government stamp in the related country can provide the appropriate apostle. (e.g. Secretary of State for the USA).
Please find a link to our previous article regarding notarizations and authentications overseas
Hong Kong is a member of the Hague Apostille Convention and any official document destined for there requires an Apostille from the Secretary of State. Hong Kong joined the Hague Apostille Convention on April 25, 1965.
Mainland China does accept a sworn bilingual statement that is issued by some consulates or embassies for their citizens to prove single status, but it is unclear if a such a statement is acceptable in Hong Kong.
The minimum marriage age in Hong Kong is 16, but for those aged between 16 and 21 years old, written consent from a parent or legal guardian is required.
Procedure for giving notice of intended marriage:
One of the marrying parties should write, in not less than 15 calendar days and not more than three months before the wedding day, to the Marriage Registration and Records Office at the address below to request a copy of Notice of Intended Marriage form and information sheet “Information Required for Registration of Marriage”:
The Marriage Registration and Records Office
3/F, Low Block
Queensway Government Offices
You may also send an email to the Immigration Department at the [email protected] or hotline at (+852) 2824 6111 (between 7 am and 11 pm daily) requesting the form and information sheet.
Once both parties completed the notice form, it should be signed and authenticated by a Notary Public of the city in Mainland China, where both parties live. If the marrying parties are living in different cities, then the form only needs to be authenticated by a Notary Public of the town where the party who gives the notice).
The authenticated notice, the completed information sheet together with the supporting documents and the bank draft being the payment of HK$305 (The fee for giving notice of intended marriage) payable to “The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region” should be sent by registered airmail or submit through your contact person in Hong Kong or a civil celebrant of marriages to the Marriage Registration and Records Office.
If the bank draft is not drawable in Hong Kong currency, you will need to add an additional bank handling commission of HK$100 for exchanging of money. Sending cash by airmail is prohibited.
You can inform the Hong Kong Government of your upcoming marriage by following these steps:
Request in writing a Notice of Intended Marriage form from the Hong Kong Marriage Registration and Records Office
Organize a Notary Public to authenticate the signatures of both you and your fiancé on the completed Notice of Intended Marriage form
Arrange a bank draft for the prescribed fee to be made out to the ‘The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’
Write a letter to attach to the completed Notice of Intended Marriage form that requests a marriage ceremony appointment:
Send by registered airmail to the Hong Kong Marriage Registration and Records Office the completed Notice of Intended Marriage form, bank draft and letter
The Notice of Intended Marriage will take effect the day after it is received by the Hong Kong Marriage Registration and Records Office. The Office will also send you a letter confirming the booking of your wedding ceremony.
Where can you get married in Hong Kong?
There are three places to celebrate a marriage in Hong Kong S.A.R:
- At the marriage registry and the ceremony is celebrated by the Registrar of Marriages.
- In a licensed place of worship celebrated by a competent minister
- At any other place in Hong Kong and the ceremony is celebrated by a civil celebrant of marriages.
If you intend to celebrate your marriage at the marriage registry, you may indicate your preference for the date of the wedding and registry on the information sheet. A reply will be sent to you to confirm the appointment for the marriage ceremony after receipt of the authenticated notice, the prescribed fee, and supporting documents. Please note that the marriage registry has a quota limit of marriage appointments. To facilitate the alternative arrangement, you may provide several preferences for marriage appointment and your email address for accessible communication.
If your marriage is to take place in a licensed place of worship or to be celebrated by a civil celebrant of marriages, you should consult the officiating minister or civil celebrant of marriages for the exact date, time, and place of the wedding. Please also ensure that a Certificate of Registrar of Marriages has been issued before the ceremony takes place.
The registration of marriage
Both of you should, after arrival in Hong Kong, attend the Marriage Registration and Records Office within office hours or meet your civil celebrant, bringing along your travel documents and originals of the documents which you have submitted earlier. The party giving the notice should make an affidavit before the Registrar or the civil celebrant that there is no impediment of kindred or affinity or any other lawful hindrance to the marriage. Ample time should be allowed for the civil celebrant to transmit the affidavit to the Registrar for the issue of the Certificate of Registrar of Marriages.
Please note that no marriage shall be celebrated in a licensed place of worship or by a civil celebrant in the absence of a Certificate of Registrar of Marriages.
Julian is based in Shanghai but often travels for work and 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.
Ikky is an R&D Manager working in Shanghai. He has been living in China for over a decade.
Jatin (known by the nickname “Prince Jatin”) is a Multicloud DevOps Expert working in Shanghai. He has been living in China for over nine years and owns four Indian communities WeChat groups known for “Helping Indians by Indians” with their specific inquiries regarding China affairs, he is also an active contributor to few other expat communities with expat work affairs based his knowledge and research expertise.