Click for Home Page Click for Contact Us Page Click for FAQ's Page Click for About Us Page Click for Sitemap Navigation
Main Menu
A Letter From China
Image: Crossroads: John 'Jonno'  in Foshan - Click to Enlarge
Infrequent, irreverent, and irrelevant snapshots of daily life in China
Health issues
Chinese Health issues such as: Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease pictured - Click for more information
Chinese Silk Fan

Ancient and Modern Mix in Foshan City

Ancient NanFeng Kiln, Foshan - China's Oldest Working Dragon Kiln

Luxuary Night Cruise, Guangzhou

Terracotta Warriors, Xi'an

Rural Chinese Ferry

Zhaoqing at Night - Seen from 7-Stars Lake and Crags

The Forbidden City, Beijing

Washing Clothes in the Li River, Guilin

Anne and Friend Practice Kung Fu in Foshan


Terraced Rice Fields, Yunnan Province

Tourists Cycling Along The River Li in Guilin

Local Cormorant Fisherman of the Li River, Guilin

The Temple of Heaven, Beijing
Marry in China
This is a quick guide concerning how to marry in China (September 2008)
These notes are current for British citizens. Most Western Countries have very similar criteria
Marriage between a Foreigner (You) and a Chinese National:-

Find full details as they relate to you personally here:

This is pretty simple actually, as all you really need to do is get a certificate to say you are legally eligible to marry; do this via your local Embassy or Consulate, pay the money, wait 21 days. Then take the necessary paperwork to the register office in your partners home city. Complete the processes - and Congratulations! You are married

There are two types of Chinese wedding: Simple Signing, and Full Wedding. Both versions include the same signing procedure

Simple Signing is very quick and done without any fanfare at all - and quite similar to paying your Council Tax bill at a counter in UK. Chinese do not normally regard this as being married, even though for all legal purposes you are. Afterwards the couple return to work, and do not even have a small party to celebrate!

Full Wedding is prohibitively expensive, accomplished with great fanfare, and is normally a 3-day event. Celebrations will include various meals and parties to include virtually every relative and friend of both partners. There are many separate aspects which are too lengthy to describe in full here - just know it is complicated and involves a lot of planning. Later I will provide a link here which describes a Full Wedding in great detail. However the actual registration of marriage remains identical to the Simple Signing

There is no middle version of a Chinese Marriage (Although I personally did manage to invent one that was highly acceptable to all, and gave my new parents in law very good 'Face')


1a. You must apply via your home Country Embassy for a Certificate of Non-Impedence, now referred to (2014) as an 'affirmation for marriage' document. Technically there are several processes involved, but practically it all happens all at the same time via your Embassy

1b. You must have been in China 21 days clear before you go to the Embassy = not including your day of entry into China, nor the day of application = 23 days in normal speaking

1c. You need:
- Passport showing entry stamp
- Divorce / Death / other Certificates = proof you are 'Single' status
- Sign a couple of forms
- Pay the money (Currently Y1, 600 + courier document delivery fee if required Y30)
- Wait another 21 clear days whilst 'The Bans are Read'
- Job done!

NB. You do not need your Birth Certificate (But you will need it to register any subsequent Births)

Click to Download Advice form (pdf)
Can't open it - get Adobe Reader here:   Click to Download Adobe Reader, 33.5 MB

Word Version (Guangzhou Consulate)

Signing Ceremony:

Registering the Marriage is actually a 3-stage process. It is very quick and efficient, and done without much ceremony. The total cost for all 3 processes is about Y2, 000 (Sept 2008). Please allow at least 1-hour to complete all three stages

2.1 - Place of Registration
The signing must take place in the City where the Chinese partner is registered in the Family Book. You do not need an appointment, but you should check the opening hours and days when they are working (Normally 7.30 to 12 and 2 to 5 pm, Monday to Friday, excluding Public Holidays)

2.2 - Documents
     a. Passport
     b. CNI (Certificate of Non Impedance)
     c. Divorce Certificate or similar if applicable
     d. 3 photographs of you as a couple, set on a red background
     e. Chinese persons ID card, passport, etc
     f. The Family Book (Hu Kou Bu)

2.3 - Chinese Family Book
     a. Only someone who owns their own house can have a Family Registration Book. This is often the Father, or senior male of the larger Family
     b. During the signing ceremony, the Chinese partner will have their entry in this book stamped to show they are now married.
     c. Foreign partners are not added to this book
     d. One of the reasons why a full Chinese wedding is so expensive is because you should buy your own home, and thus start your own Family Book
     e. Your offspring can be registered as Citizens of your own Country, or as Chinese citizens - this is your choice. If you register them as Chinese, then they will be entered in your own Family Book if you have one, or otherwise in your partners book. You will need your Birth Certificate to register any children

2.4 - Stage 1
     a. Your documents are checked
     b. There will be a member of staff who understands the English forms
     c. Once the checks are completed you will both have to sign half a dozen forms (All in Chinese)
     d. You do not need to have a Chinese name, and you should sign with your usual signature
     e. By this point there is quite a large portfolio, which is taken along with other forms to the payments area
     f. Pay for this process, (Currently Y180) and stage 1 is complete

2.5 - Stage 2
     a. This is the official signing ceremony conducted with a little fanfare in a special room, overseen by a Registrar
     b. Consider this as being The Official Registration and Announcement of Marriage within China
     c. There is a small stage and podium where you and your partner sign a form
     d. You then add your index finger print over your signature
     e. Official photographs are taken throughout at various stages (Obligatory since August 2008)
     f. Guests may also take photographs during the ceremony, but be very quick if you want family shots on stage - this is tolerated, but discouraged (There are other couples queuing behind you)
     h. You are then ushered out into an adjoining room where your official photographs are instantly processed and compiled into a couple of albums. You again sign these albums, and pay for the cost of stage 2 (Y 320).
     i. These albums can later be used as additional proof of your marriage, and help greatly when applying for visa's for your partner to go outside China
     j. At this point you also each receive your Marriage Licences. These are two books, one for each partner. You will note the numbers are different, and consecutive. These are presented in a special red box decorated with gold lettering and motifs. This box also contains a heart shaped medallion featuring the Chinese wedding symbol plus a Dragon and Phoenix (Yin and Yang)
     k. Stage 2 is now complete and you are officially fully married in China. Congratulations! However the marriage will not be recognised outside of China until Stage 3 is completed.

2.6 - Stage 3
This is called 'The Announcement' and means the marriage is announced outside of China. You need to complete this stage for the marriage to be recognised by your own government. This does have very favourable impact on many related issues such as: Getting a visa for your wife to visit your own Country (It does not confer any automatic Rights of Residency in your Country), Pensions and other personal financial planning, you are regarded as being legally married in any country of the world, etc
     a. This process takes several days to complete
     b. First your Chinese partner is checked under several criteria, and if there are no problems, they are issued with a Certificate of Citizenship, which is valid for 6-months
     c. They must have this certificate to apply for the International Announcement of Marriage
     d. The Announcement is then declared, and presumably your own government is officially informed of your change of marital status
     e. The cost is Y1, 500
     f. This can be viewed as one process, and after a few days you receive the appropriate certificate
     g. This Announcement lasts for life (Or until divorce, etc)

6.a - Under new and simplified marriage rules (2003), you no longer need a Health Check-up and associated Certificate
6.b - A Simple Signing in China means exactly this, a very simple legal signing
6.c - A 'Proper Wedding' in China is very complex and costly. It includes the Simple Signing
6.d - You must complete 'The Announcement' (Stage 3) for the marriage to be recognised Internationally
6.e - Your Chinese partner will require a current and valid Certificate of Citizenship when applying for a British visa
Two (2) Foreigners can also Marry in China:
As above + One of them must have 21 days clear 'Residency' (This option actually gets a tad technical regarding real life situations,but it happens; one way or the other - Here is China!)
The Rules for Marriage in China are slightly different for:
1. Hong Kong and Macao Citizens
Overseas National Chinese
Final Notes:
1. Please realise that Marrying in China is either mundane or exotic; and there are few places in between.
2. Marriage will not be sufficient reason to allow your new Chinese partner to visit most Western Countries automatically - even as a Tourist, but it helps a great deal.
3. We are given to understand that after 3-years of marriage, your Chinese partner will usually be automatically allowed a visa to visit UK (Exceptions and conditions of course)
4. Please remember that Chinese Nationals need both permission to leave China, and permission to enter your home Country - although this is usually one seamless process
This information is as supplied by the Chinese Embassy in UK, as dated 20th June 2008, and/or other reliable sources. Please check this information yourself as it may alter without notice, and whilst we try our best to ensure it is correct, please do not hold us responsible for any errors - this is intended as a simple guide only
Our Friends
Excellent & Free Online Chinese Language Portal
Cantonese Sheik - Free Online Language Resources
Thousands of free print-friendly Chinese reference sheets, tests and revision aids.
Easy Learning format &
Listen to Spoken Words
British Foreign & Commonwealth Office
British Foreign Office

Resource and Advice for Travellers Worldwide
Chinese Embassy in UK
Chinese Embassy in UK

Information About China
International Relations
Visa & Consular
British Consulate General in China
UK Embassy in China

Information About UK
International Relations
Visa & Consular
Down The
How We Traded Our Ordinary Lives For a Global Bicycle Touring Adventure
Tim and Cindie Travis
See Us in China
China Exploration and Research Society
Based in Shangri-la,
Yunnan Province
Dedicated to Exploring Remote Areas of China
Committed to Nature Conservation and Preserving Ethnic Cultures & Traditions
Veg, Fruit & Gourds
Not sure what it is,
whether to eat or cook it?
See our Recipe Index
Image: Wu Tao or Chinese Potatoe - Click for Recipe Index
Image: Sik Juk, Congee, or Rice Porridge - Click to Enlarge

Image: Crabmeat and Sweetcorn soup - Click to Enlarge

Image: Spare Ribs

Image: Chinese Curry Sauce

Image: Mango Soup - Click to Enlarge

Image: Potatoe and Brocolli Curry - Click to Enlarge

Image: Chinese Hot Pot - Click to Enlarge

Image: David Whittall's Butchers Sausages

Image: Chinese Tea or Yeurm Cha - Click to Enlarge

Image: How to cook Toisan Chicken - Click for Details
Page Navigation: Top of Page
Link to: - Excellent Hosting and Support Services
Image for Decoration only
    Copyright Webmaster @ ChinaExpats Links