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Foreigners getting married in China


Romeo Tango

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Ni hao,

I'm currently working in China and have the residence permit. I'd like to bring my girlfriend to China and marry her here. I've been told by the Chinese embassy in her home country that she will be given a tourist visa to enter the country. So my question is;

1. Is it possible (and is it easy) for two foreigners to get married in China? (My partner and I are not from the same country)

2. If she comes here on a 30 day tourist visa, will be it possible for her to get a residence visa after marriage?

Xie xie ni

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I'm not sure what the regulations are for two foreigners getting married in China, other than the two of you going to your embassies to take care of the legal stuff there. Who provided you with the residence permit? Are you here teaching English, or working for an international company? I think large international companies help their employees' spouses get visas, but if you're just teaching English it might not be so easy. Although this is an issue of debate, all the information I have about marriage visas one acquires through marrying a Chinese says that kind of visa is just a glorified tourist visa. It is a "L" visa in fact. Besides what I was told by the 公安 themselves (it's not legal to work on that kind of marriage visa), I have a friend who has been living and working in China for several years, is married to a Chinese woman, and who is changing his visa type from marriage to work so that he can work legally. Other people have debated this with me, but despite what information people may quote from websites, the rule on the ground is that you can't legally work with a marriage visa gained through marriage to a Chinese national. If one meets the requirements for the residence visa gained through marriage to a Chinese national then maybe things are different. Anyway, my point is that if one is married to a Chinese national and isn't allowed to legally work, I wouldn't expect much from a foreigner-foreigner marriage.

Are you aware of the difficulties foreigners face in getting visa right now? If your fiancee comes to China on a 1 month tourist visa, and isn't able to get a residence permit through your marriage to her, she may be stuck with going to Hong Kong every month to get another 1 month tourist visa, at least until October (I've heard). You'd better make sure you're clear about this before she comes. This is a bad time to be making bets on what kind of visa you can get. She might be better off waiting until October to come to China.

Go to the local gongan (公安)and ask, that's your best bet.

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two foreigners marrying in china may be a problem. consulates (american anyways)

are not authorized to perform marriages, as marriage is a state, not federal, function.

about five years ago (i'll look for a reference link.....) china stopped registering marriages

of foreigners if both were (i think the wording was) "foreigners temporarily residing" in china.

i'm unsure what they mean by temporary......but i think this is just to exclude tourists, that if

one of the parties is here long-term with a valid residence permit, then they can register.

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From the UK Consulate:

In accordance with the requirements of the Chinese marriage authorities, two foreigners can marry in China providing that one of them is in possession of a valid Chinese residency visa.

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Thanks all for the information. Roddy's post sounds promising. :)

Who provided you with the residence permit? Are you here teaching English, or working for an international company? I think large international companies help their employees' spouses get visas, but if you're just teaching English it might not be so easy.

Nope, I'm not an English teacher. The company I work for employs many expats from around the world and they have assisted those who are already married, to bring their spouses here. As I'm not legally married yet, they are not obliged to provide the same level of assistance to me.

A colleague suggested that we get married in Hong Kong, as it's a lot easier and a lot closer than my home country and once we have a legal marriage certificate, then it's much easier for her to come and live in China with me. The only problem is that it takes at least 3 months minimum. Any thoughts on this option?

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