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Marriage and Divorce

Hong Kong - Marriage and Divorce

Although there are a few steps that you have to take if you want to get married in Hong Kong, it is generally considered an easy process that does not take a lot of time.

To apply for a marriage license in Hong Kong, you need to have a copy of your birth certificate and your passport. You must also be at least sixteen years of age and engaged to someone of the opposite sex. If you are between the ages of 16 and 21, you are still a minor according to the law. Consequently, you must have your legal guardian’s written consent. This is typically considered to be your father, although if he is deceased then your mother can give her consent.

If you were previously married then you must show proof that your spouse is deceased or that you are legally divorced. A sealed certified copy of the court’s final divorce decree, translated into English if it is not already, must be sown in cases of divorce. A death certificate and proof of your former marriage must be shown if you are widowed.

A notice of marriage must be obtained before anyone is able to get married in Hong Kong. To do this, you can schedule an appointment with the Hong Kong Marriage Registration Office. This should be done at least 17 days before you plan on getting married. Appointments can be made through the Immigration Department’s online service. More information regarding booking the appointment and filling out the necessary information can be found here: http://www.gov.hk/en/residents/immigration/bdmreg/marriage/bookgivingmarriage.htm

To expedite the process, you can also go ahead and fill out the “Information Required for Registration of Marriage” form. This form can either be submitted online or brought with you when you go to your appointment. The processing fee for the application is HK$305. After your appointment date with the registrar, your notice of marriage is valid for 3 months. A new application must be filled out after that so file in advance, but not too far.

Once the notice for marriage has been filed, Hong Kong law stipulates that they must be exhibited for 15 “clear” days at the marriage registry. Those who are authorized by law, such as legal guardians, may object to the marriage by writing the word “forbidden” on the notice. This is generally considered a formality and few marriages are contested.

Hong Kong Marriage Registration and Records Office
3/F, Low Block
Queensway Government Offices
66, Queensway
Hong Kong
Tel: (+852) 2867 2787
Email: enquiry@immd.gov.hk

Marriage ceremonies can be held at the wedding registry, a place of worship or another location of your choice. However, you do not have to have a registry wedding as well as a church wedding or civil ceremony. Two witnesses who are at least 18 years old must be present at the time of your wedding and an interpreter should also be present if you or your partner do not understand Chinese or English.

You must arrange the time and date that you are filing your notice if you decide to have a wedding ceremony at the registry itself. You might not be able to get married at the City Hall on public holidays since these are considered to be popular times. The wedding certificate costs an extra HK$715 to HK$1935 depending on the day of the week that you get married, with weekends being the highest.

If you decide to get married at a place of worship then a minister must perform the ceremony. Your marriage will only be valid if the place of worship is licensed by the government to conduct a wedding ceremony. A list of government accredited institutions is available here: http://www.immd.gov.hk/ehtml/bdmreg_4.1_list.htm There are approximately 260 licensed places of worship on the list which cover many different faiths and denominations. The establishment must be contacted directly to arrange a ceremony.

Secular ceremonies are available as well. These are referred to as “civil celebrants for marriage” and are overseen by officially authorized to conduct legal wedding ceremonies. Some of the most popular locations for weddings include restaurants, hotels, and parks. A list of licensed civil celebrants can be found at: http://www.immd.gov.hk/pdf/list_of_civil_celebrant%28e%29.pdf

There are two options when it comes to filing for divorce: attorneys and divorce coaches. A divorce coach can often be cheaper and less complicated if there are not many legal matters to resolve and the separation is amicable.



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