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Author Topic: Marriage in China v Marriage back 'home'  (Read 7472 times)

Dex

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Marriage in China v Marriage back 'home'
« on: February 25, 2010, 10:47:14 AM »
Hi

OK, cry for help to salooners...

Now thinking about getting serious with my Chinese gf. However, as the title implies, there are two routes to take and was wondering if anyone has had to go down this sticky road of info (or lack of...).

Most laowai get hitched in China and I know all about the usual marriage rules (proof you're not already taken, passport, translations, gf's hukou in her hometown, etc).

But my long term aim, more than likely, is to settle with her in the UK (3 guesses where I'm from). Now, would it be better to get marriage sorted here, say later this year, then begin to apply to just settle in the UK?

>>>OR, wait a tad longer, take her back to the UK on an 'unmarried partners visa' and get hitched there - which could be easier in terms of documents required? Would the UK gov say after the UK marriage 'right, well done, now sod off back to China, the pair on ya' and we'd have to go through the settlement process all over again from China to the UK?!

Basically, what would allow her easier and smoother entry into the UK and jumping through the hoops, the former or latter? Has anyone done the latter or come up against a brick wall?

Of course, not just Brits, but anyone is welcome to reply and divulge your deepest  afafafafaf

Btw, you're all invited to the wedding (see thread on Chinese beer for after party celebrations if it's in The Rep!)
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LaowaiSaosao

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Re: Marriage in China v Marriage back 'home'
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2010, 03:19:20 PM »
My husband and I got married in China then moved to the UK within a year of getting married and it was all pretty straightforward, not a lot of docs needed, just the Certificate of no impediment from the British embassy (or consulate if that's closer). He came from the sticks and wasn't able to get a passport until we were married (this was 11 years ago too) so we got married, which was dead easy, then he applied for and got his passport. Visa to UK was slow cos British Embassy in Beijing was totally incompetent but it did come through.

 I think (but this is only my opinion) that you are better doing it all here as it looks more valid if you get married here and then apply for visa to UK rather than go to UK, get married and then try to change your visa. My experiences applying for visas tell me the fewer visas you have to apply for the better!

The Local Dialect

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Re: Marriage in China v Marriage back 'home'
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2010, 05:03:28 PM »
I agree with LSS too. Getting married in China is really easy -- getting the forms and everything is really not as big a hassle as you'd think. My gut feeling (and nothing else) also says that it is probably a bit easier to get an immigration visa for your spouse than for your fiance. My instinct is that American immigration scrutinizes the fiance visas a bit more than they do straight up family visas. I'm not sure about the UK, but I also know that in America if you marry your partner and then wait for two years before applying to immigrate then your partner can be eligible for an automatic greencard once you arrive. So if you're not sure when you might want to return home it might be a good idea to get married here and start the countdown in the meantime (assuming the UK has a similar rule, that is).

I do know that for Americans, whether you're married or engaged, you have to prove that you have a real relationship with the person you're bringing over and provide evidence of this relationship. I think the visa officers deal with a whole lot of internet romances though (mostly guys chatting up Chinese women online, coming over for a few visits and then wanting to bring them back home), and they are much more wary of those, so if you've got a wife that you met in China and your relationship has developed in person rather than over Skype or whatever, you're probably good to go either way.

Dex

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Re: Marriage in China v Marriage back 'home'
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2010, 05:41:58 PM »
Thanks guys.

I also have the feeling it would be far easier to marry here and then move back to the UK.

Naturally, I'm working here and have a degree of PRC 'status'. My gf in the UK has no status (despite having visited a couple of years ago), so based on logic alone, it makes sense to wed over here.

The crux of what I am asking is essentially this: marrying in China or marrying in the UK = which would make it easier for her to gain an 'Indefinite Leave to Remain' (the most illogical title for any kind of document!  mmmmmmmmmm) which means she'd be able to live permanently in the UK? Actual marriage is easy... China is best (for reasons I said above), but then getting the ILR/permanent status in the UK? Mmmm. Think I agree with you guys.

As for marrying in the UK (hence using the 'fience' visa - which I believe is valid for six months and may not be able to convert into the ILR or something more permanent), we can get a "cohabitation affidavit" for now (we both have to visit a British Consulate in China, sign a form and give some proof that we've been living together for some years... thankfully I got my old employer to write a letter to confirm our cohabiting status some years ago). So that'd help with getting the fiance visa... but not necessarily with changing/updating her status to settle in the UK afterwards!!! Arrgh!

Funny thing is; "cohabiting" with an unmarried partner is still technically illegal in China!

Thanks >>> more digging to do tomorrow!  ababababab
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china-matt

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Re: Marriage in China v Marriage back 'home'
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2010, 05:44:45 PM »
It's definitely easier to get married in China and then apply for visas to your home country. I had a co-worker who applied for a fiance visa and it was far more complicated than what I went through for my wife.

For future visa applications, save photos, letters and cards between the two of you as proof of your relationship. It's annoying, but you'll need it.
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Noodles

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Re: Marriage in China v Marriage back 'home'
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2010, 10:58:59 PM »
HongKong - it's a breeze and your marriage is automatically registerd in the UK.
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LaowaiSaosao

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Re: Marriage in China v Marriage back 'home'
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2010, 11:22:51 PM »
Noodles, are you sure marriages of UK citizens in China are automatically registered in the UK? I ask because mine wasn't but that was 11 years ago so very possibly things have changed since then. The British Consulate then were useless and "forget" to tell me when I applied for my Certificate of No Impediment that I should go back with proof of marriage within 3 months of marriage in order to get said marriage registered in UK, so we never did it and hence, it isn't.

Dex, going back a few years but once you are married and decide to move to UK, your wife applies for one year residence visa. After that one year she can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, you have to provide a fair bit of paperwork ie proof of residence, employment etc, but for us it was also very straightforward as we knew it was coming so had kept every bit of paper we got. My husband applied by post and a few weeks later he got his passport back with ILR, no interview, no phone calls, nothing. Fingers crossed it will be that easy for you.

Dex

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Re: Marriage in China v Marriage back 'home'
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2010, 05:04:37 AM »
Thanks.

HK eh? I'll check that. Seems too good to be true, but being British there could be that system in place. The other problem would be getting a Chinese into HK and able to marry there.

So laowaisaosao, you got married here first and then went to the UK?

Glad the process was smooth for you, but can't help but think that to have a cohabitation affidavit can only be an advantage if and when we settle in the UK and she goes for the ILR.

As for the consulate failing to tell you about the CNI, I have my own experiences of embassy staff from all over the world being not quite with it. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

This opens a second issue... maybe you guys can help me with...

I am supposed to show I can support her in the UK (for that two (or one) year period until she becomes 'permanent') but how can I do that if I haven't got a job lined up in the UK - especially when you have to be in the UK and attend job interviews and so on? It states that I should show I can support her without recourse to public funds.

Seems like a catch 22.

Experiences?
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AMonk

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Re: Marriage in China v Marriage back 'home'
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2010, 10:34:55 AM »
Never needed to do this, but...maybe give info about bank account(s) and/or investment details to "prove" that there's enough money in the kitty mmmmmmmmmm 
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teacheraus

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Re: Marriage in China v Marriage back 'home'
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2010, 11:18:32 AM »
A few years ago when I was getting an Ancestory visa (grandfather English) to work in the UK needed to prove similar thing - as in being able to support myself.  It ended up being a combination of having some money and proving I had qualifications/experience to get a job and had started trying to find one.  By the time I went I had a job. But I could have still got the visa without actually having the job. 
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Dex

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Re: Marriage in China v Marriage back 'home'
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2010, 11:32:11 AM »
That's yet another concern - showing I have enough cash in the box... which I don't! But for a short time we'd crash at my folks' place until we get properly set up so I'm kinda hoping their bank statements and 'place of abode' will suffice. Or is that too lame???

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The Local Dialect

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Re: Marriage in China v Marriage back 'home'
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2010, 02:25:22 PM »
If the UK is anything like the States then you can have family members co-sign saying that they'll help support your wife if anything goes wrong, and then you have to show the financial statements of your co-signers, sort of the same as if you were buying a car or a house with their help. The income requirements are pretty low too, you just have to show that you'll be above poverty level. In America, for two people, that is less than 20K (USD) a year, which isn't actually all that hard to prove. I make more than that at my teaching job in Beijing actually (too bad we're a family of four so the requirements for us would be higher). Like I said, this is for America, but I bet the requirements for the UK or similar if not less strict. The UK seems to be a bit less uptight about the visas if anything (?).

Noodles

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Re: Marriage in China v Marriage back 'home'
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2010, 10:09:42 PM »
LS - I'm not totally sure about my marriage being automatically registered in the UK as I haven't tried to check, but I was told this is the case when I was making the arrangements. Although I am talking about marriage in HongKong not the mainland. I beleive the system in place is a throwback to colonial times.

Dex - when I got married in HK we were able to get my wife into HK because we were going to Thailand for a short honeymoon, if a Chinese national has a flight out of HK airport they are allowed to enter HK 7 days prior to their departure date, visa free. Obviously she needed a visa for Thailand, but these are incredibly simple to get, the travel agency will sort this out for you when you buy your flight tickets.

For me this was the simplest option but then I live about 20 mins from HK, but I found the whole process very simple to arrange and was able to have the registrar ceremony in HK park which was nice.
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Fozzwaldus

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Re: Marriage in China v Marriage back 'home'
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2010, 09:40:53 AM »
Hi all,

me and wifey got married here in Ireland. She had originally come over on a student visa, then after we got married she was immediately given a 5 year multiple entry spouse stamp.  ababababab

My question is this - how easy is it to register this marriage back in China? I'm assuming we need to go to the place of Hukou and get it translated by a notary etc etc...

Any experience of this? 
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Dex

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Re: Marriage in China v Marriage back 'home'
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2010, 12:14:55 PM »
Thanks all...

The HK idea sounds appealing. I've yet to look into it but it's on my list of things to find out. We also went to Thailand in 2008 and had to get the visa, blah blah... but via Shenzhen.

Dialect - yeah, I took her to the UK in 2007 so they'll see she's had the right of entry before, which should help a tad. I got my folks to invite her (as well as writing a letter outlining everything myself). I stopped short however, of showing my own accounts, and showed my folks' accounts instead - along with a bit of cash from my gf - and that seemed fine (despite the actual visa centre in BJ saying our application would fail... which only goes to show how unconnected to the actual consulate staff they are)!

Still, my plan would be the same... show my folks' accounts mainly and say she'd be staying there, all under the same roof, for a year or two. That should suffice. But the UK gov consulate and UK gov back in the UK both state I must show my own finances as well as having a job to support her - which is the other worrying aspect, seeing as I am here, employed here and earning here, which means in the UK I'm not employed or earning!

I have a friend who will take his Chinese gf to the UK on a settlement visa but she'll study at some institute in the UK, hence showing she's going for ligit reasons. Then they may convert it. But I still think it'd be better to marry here first.

I'm sure non of this will cause any major headaches and it's just the slight worries anyone would have with such a big project to undertake. But useful to get your views anyway (didn't think of the HK plan for example)!

 bhbhbhbhbh
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