Q&A:Getting Married in China

Lin Yacong

Lin Yacong is a partner and is in charge of the firm’s Family Law.

Recently, we have received many inquiries from our foreign friends about getting married in China. We believe it is important to share them with you.

Q: I am a French, can I marry my girlfriend in China?
A: It depends.

If your girlfriend is a Chinese citizen, then, YES, you can get married in China, as long as both of you have met certain mandatory requirements.

However, if your girlfriend is not a Chinese national, according to Announcement No. 456 from the Ministry of Civil Affairs in 2019, two foreigners CANNOT register for marriage in China. The answer will be NO.

 

Q&A:Getting Married in China

Q: Which law shall apply, Chinese law or French law?
A: Chinese law shall apply if you choose to get married in China.

Q: What is the minimum age to get married in China?
A: The minimum age for men is 22, and for women, 20. No exceptions.

Q: Where do I need to go?

A: The authority for the registration of marriages between Chinese citizens and foreigners is the Civil Affairs Department of the People’s Government of the province, autonomous region, or municipality, and is directly under the purview of the Central Government or the authority determined by the Civil Affairs Department. In some cities, there is only one office open for foreign-related marriage. So, you’ll need to check with your local authorities.

Q: I proposed last year. Does the engagement have any binding effect on us?
A: No. There is no legal effect of engagement.

Q: What key documents do I need to provide in order to get married in China?
A: according to the Marriage Registration Ordinance, the following documents shall be provided:
1.Valid passport.
2.A ‘marriageability certificate’, which must meet one of the following conditions: (1) issued by a notary public or a competent authority of the host country, certified by the embassy (or consulate) of the People’s Republic of China in that country or certified by the embassy (or consulate) of that country in China; or (2) issued by the embassy (or consulate) of the host country in China.

Q: Does a cooling off period also apply to marriage?

A: No. The cooling off period only applies to the registration of divorce, but good job paying attention to our previous articles related to the new Civil Code!

We will discuss issues relating to prenuptial agreements in foreign-related marriages in an upcoming article. If you have questions about prenuptial agreements, feel free to contact DaWo’s family law department, as we have extensive experience with these matters.