Foreign Couples Can No Longer Get Married in China

By Naomi Lounsbury, May 14, 2019

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In late March, the Ministry of Civil Affairs in China released a notice stating that they will no longer be issuing marriage licenses to couples where both parties are foreigners.  

What does this mean for expat lovebirds living in the PRC? You’ll have to leave the country to tie the knot (pro tip: Hong Kong still issues marriage licenses regardless of nationality).

When asked if the policy will revert back in the future, Guangzhou’s Haizhu District Ministry of Civil Affairs Marriage Registration office didn’t sound very confident, telling us they’ve received no announcements indicating the policy will change.

But what does this new law mean for expats hoping to marry Chinese citizens? According to the marriage registration office, as long as one party is Chinese and has a hukou, (identification with a registered permanent residence in the district), they can still issue a marriage license.

In case you are planning to marry a Chinese citizen, you’ll need several documents in order to make your marriage legal, according to the US Embassy in Beijing.

  1. A valid passport with a Chinese visa

  2. An Affidavit of Marriageability. You can get this by paying USD50 and swearing before a consul that you are free to marry. If you’ve been married before, bring copies of the divorce papers

  3. Three pictures of the couple taken together

The registration fee for a marriage in China used to be RMB9, but with the new marriage regulations, registration to get married (and divorced) in China is free!

[Cover image by Naomi Lounsbury for That’s]

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