I wonder if anyone has been through the process of getting married to a local Chinese peson recently. I'm marrying my Chinese fiancee later this year (in Kunming) and would be interested in any advice/tips about the overall procedure (esp from Brits, as that will be my Embassy etc). Thanks.
Grats man. I'm going to marry my gf next month. I'm just gonna throw some info out there, although you probably know most of it already. Officially foreigners still need a health check to be presented at the place where you do the official paperwork. Over the last couple of years this practice has gradually been phased out so you should contact the area (or county) where your girlfriend's hukou is to find out if you need it or not. My girlfriend is from Tengchong, official hukou in Baoshan, and when inquiring I was told it wasn't needed.
You'll also need to show that you aren't married already. There is a WHOLE bunch of translation and verification in connection with this but generally the Chinese will accept this procedure: Get an official statement from your last place of residence in your native country saying that you aren't already married. Get as many official stamps on it as you can from your local council PLUS a signature. They need to send it to you since you'll be needing the original. After you have received it here you need to translate it - an agency will do that for less than 100 kuai- and then you need to send the original and the translation to your embassy. They'll verify that the translation is correct and give that much coveted official stamp. The Danish embassy charges 210 kuai for this verification, I of course have no idea what the British counterpart wants.
Apart from that you'll need all your papers like residence permit, visa, passport and stuff like that.
Annoying for some couples, but hardly surprising since this is China after all, you HAVE to go to where her hukou is for the marriage registration.
Remember to buy presents for all her close relatives and don't make too much of a fuzz when her family insists on inviting 500 people who neither your nor your girlfriend have any clue as to who are.
Also as I have realized, a wedding is an opportunity for the parents and family to gain a s...load of face and they'll probably insist that no expense is spared,, that means none of YOUR expenses are spared, so be prepared to cough up with just about everything you own. PS. I realize I sounded kinda bitter there. I'm not really, I understand the importance to the family but I kinda wish I had a bit more of a say in my own wedding. Not a major issue though, in most Western countries I think the groom should count himself lucky if he gets to decide what color tie to wear. :)
Ocean check on Raoul's China Saloon there is a whole forum there about it. Also even someone who married a guy in KM
Ocean & Dan
Congrats - economically speaking, I vote for elopement - do the banquet thing up to a year after the formal deed is done - unless of course the day is "special" to the fiancee - in which case you're doomed to your own chivalry.
FYI - the Chinese marriage registration thing also varies depending on hukou - so the rules are somewhat randomly created and enforced - but the embassy hassle is definitely there. FYI the US embassy does NOT issue certificates of "singleness" etc - they only do notarization - so you write your own letter of singleness and the embassy will notarize it after you finish the verbal swearing in process before the certified notary public - so that's actually less stressful - except we have to go to the nearest US embassy or consulate to swear - so I'd plan the pre-nuptial honeymoon around that event (HK?).
IF you're a US citizen - AFTER you get married - you should register the wife and kids with the IRS and social security. It's good for a tax deduction should you ever decide to repatriate with the family - another exercise in potential frustration with INS, homeland security, IRS, social security, et ad infinitum. I won't belabor the controversies surrounding US income taxes, social security, health insurance etc ad infinitum - not to mention your immigration problems - an administration and paperwork nightmare. Better have a WHOLE lotta love.
My personal preference is to marry a simple (but not stupid) village girl (if that's possible) - have the banquet at her parent's place - kill the pigs, chickens, maybe a cow. Invite the neighbors - since the relatives already live in the vicinity and the richer city relatives will probably shun the event as it costs too much to make the trip plus the wedding gift(s) - but again that depends on the family relations, culture etc. Buy several cases of fruit to distribute as favors (I'm a real cheapskate).
Spend the savings spoiling the wife and the future mini Dans and Danettes.
Congrats, Ocean & Dan.
The only most important document you must obtain from outside of Kunming is the proof of singleness as mentioned above. American embassy/ consulate makes you swear your single status in writting, they simply notarize your signature. That's how this piece of document is produced. I think Brits won't do much differently.
The style of the wedding can be very different, depends on where your fiancee comes from. If she is from rural area, the wedding could be very traditional, lengthy, tiresome but splendid all at same time; If she is from a city, the wedding can be a lot more flexible, your fiancee's family will take your consideration more seriously, therefore the wedding can be a lot more quiet or moderate. I have known some one married a local in a short ceremony, followed by a dinner party of 4 tables consisting only family members and very close friends.
Buying presents for close relatives is an act of courtesy and respect, not necessary an expensive bribery, and again it differs greatly from family to family, so you should discuss that with your fiancee.
Wish you all happy ever after!
"Thankfully" my bride-to-be only has one relative, so we are spared the pig-killing and bribery (I assume!). Many thanks to you all for the congrats and the great advice. Much appreciated. All the best to you too, Dan.
The easiest way to go about it is to go to the embassy and get a certificate of no impediment to marriage which the embassy should translate for you it should be a bi lingual document. First you have to sign a statutory declaration saying that there is no legal impediment to your marriage that you never married, or you are divorced or your previous wife is deceased. The embassy then will issue and notarize the document. In Kunming you will require a passport sized photo of yourself and your fiancee and also a photo of both of you together. Your residence permit, passport and visa and if you have more than one nationality inform the civil affairs office which document you would prefer to use. Also your divorce certificate or death certificate of your previous spouse. If you were married in China previously both of those documents will be in Chinese already otherwise get them translated and notarizied at the public notary office not just anywhere . For futher info on official translation and notarization of documents contact the civil affairs office near city hall on Dong Feng Xi Lu. Formalities should take an hour or so if everything is in order.
If you need some info on divorce proceedings I can help out there as well.
I found a zhong gua xiang gang nu peng you that I am falling in love with.
I am thinking of possibly marrying her in the future.
All of you Chinese ladies in Kunming missed out. I am a great guy with a good sense of humor.
I guess we did things the easy way. My wife is a Kunming girl, but we got married in Las Vegas!