Marriage in China for Foreigners

Marriage in China for Foreigners


% graph of nationals in China


Marriages of Chinese or Foreign Nationals in China states


A Marriage in China between a foreigner and a Chinese citizen, or between two foreigners is considered a “foreign related marriage”. According to Article 147 of the General Principles of the Civil Law of the People’s Republic of China, marriage of a Chinese citizen to a foreigner shall be bound by the law of the place where they get married.

Marriage Requirements for China:

Residency Requirement: At least one member of the couple must live in China Necessary Documents: American partner must submit a valid passport, Chinese residence permit, divorce or death certificate of a former spouse/s (if applicable), and Certificate of Marriageability; Chinese partner must submit Family.

China’s Official Standpoint

However Recent News on China’s legal notice, two foreign nationals cannot get married in China.

Mixed and foreigner marriages

Whether you are an expat living in China and planning to get married or have been considering the country as a wedding destination just consider nearby localities as and alternative


Prior to this annoying announcement, foreigners who wanted to get married in China had a few hoops and bureaucratic steps but could still register their Marital vows in the country, and also the opportunity to (add a link to Getting Married in Chinese newspaper article)



So, What Does this Mean for those expats seeking to proclaim their love and commitment for one another in Marriage?


Best Route for avoiding these regulations is not to get married in china, but take the island hop to its neighbouring Hong Kong. Where marriage licenses are a norm to all applicants and nationalities using a less bureaucratic system.


The Hong Kong Option.

Process To Get Married is by far simpler, compared to using China’s PRC option but to be honest we are looking at two very different governmental approach, Hong Kong with its past links to United Kingdom, more organised and comprehensive managed system. Hong Kong Open border to all facilitates and allows for a more seamless flexibility in such cases.


The Beijing Communistic approach is possible more geared up for a repetitive and large-scale numbers game security based strategy.


wedding in china


Many foreigners for different reasons like location, romantic scenery and ability to hop to a local island from Hong Kong, even before this new policy even appeared.

New laws do not affect expats marrying Chinese nationals. According to the Ministry of Civil Affairs, they issue Chinese marriage license to the couple only if the national of china holds a Chinese ‘Hukou’ (registration document in mainland China).



It involves Traditional Formalities to Chinese weddings including having a link to Getting Married in China article published


They Gave No Official Reason in the marriage policy. However, foreign nationals have assume its part of a change over legislation.But Guangzhou’s Haizhu District Ministry of Civil Affairs Marriage Registration office, it suggest that this change is here to say for the foreseeable future.


Expats Views on the New Law?

According to the People we approached, they don’t consider it ” a problem”, what give rise to concerns are the long-term implications and or agenda set in motion by this policy.


This consensus is a big surprise, but not one of disgust or dismay for expats living in china they come to expect the unexpected and recognise that changes happen for a reason though maybe best suited to the Chinese government’s long-term plans for the country.


There is Nothing Wrong with that is there? after all which other country wouldn’t protect their own borders and citizens? We may not accept how it is enforced or even executed but I guess we have to take it on-board and move on.


MC- African Expat in China States:

Living in China I Never Regret, there is no other place like it, and i have travelled a few places in my time, Russia, USA, France. European attitudes are boring and stayed


When I married in China to a Chinese national admittedly, the process was seamless; I have many foreign friends married to partners from different countries, here in china in past years, this will make little change to foreigners plans.


Arrangements for Foreigners will just move to other local countries, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam or Indonesia, this is a drop in the ocean of changes that will occur for foreigners in time, some don’t even care,  so far my friends see this as nothing more than a minor BLIP on the Radar


William – Irish Expat in China States: 

As I am Already Married and living in Hunan, i consider myself lucky to not face this now, it’s still incomprehensible. Why, something insignificant as to be a reason for china’s local government to implement such changes, after all what does it really matter?


How Does it Impact economy, social or otherwise? these individuals are already part of the community and ”adding” to the resources of the country.


They Conducted National Consensus in China back in 2010, this stated that there were over 600,000 officially registered expats living in the country. But since that has multiplied several folds. The flip side of that is that the number of expats also leaving China has also shown an increased over the last couple of years.


Reasons for this reduction pointed to complaints of

  1. high pollution levels in certain cities,
  2.  together with  a feeling of frustrating bureaucracy, the ”left hand” not knowing what the ”right hand” is doing scenarios”
  3. changes in the visa types and application policies came tops in decisions to leave.


Do Chinese Care about This News


unaware or dont care

Unaware or don’t care

Many Chinese Don’t  seem to even pay attention or follow this ”NEWS” Perhaps only big city folks


However, Expats moving and living abroad, whether singular at first then committing to a relationship to marriage, or arriving as a couple then taking the marriage vows, this is a small setback, realistically the options are many, i.e. leave china on a short holiday and get married, or go to Hong Kong where rules comply more to international procedures and to our normal

There, couples can ”tie” the proverbial knot and hopefully live happily ever after?

We are not at liberty to know the purpose or reasons for these changes and policies but there will be some legitimate reason later on in as we will come to understand, china government do not do things with a good reason, this is what i understand and appreciate year by year.


Foreign Nationals of any country need to be adaptable and resilient living abroad, weathering the sudden changes and method used to execute these measures

  • If you were to move to china would this deter your plans to marry your partner, would you go the extra mile, by doing the nearby island hop and tying the knot?
  • When the time comes for me to marry perhaps i am not in China, but wherever it is it’s all the stops out for my special woman right?


  • What Would  be Your Concerns would you have, given the comments and information in this post for a marriage between foreign nationals under China’s new law?


My Observations and Experiences

As Noted in Observations the Current state of play in Shenzhen, is that many here seem to put marriage behind them, it’s not on the menu and opt for the single, all freedom no responsibility, non-committal lifestyle, but who knows there could be a returning trend to marriage based on comfort, finances and happiness with one person?




  • Did this post offer useful info for you?
  • Is it crucial to have Health or Life insurance as a Expat?
  • Is China now a more interesting destination?




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