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Author Topic: Getting Married in Hong Kong  (Read 11418 times)

pangzi

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Getting Married in Hong Kong
« on: April 17, 2013, 05:24:12 AM »
Hello everyone! I'm new here. I joined Raoul's specifically because I heard that this site has an extensive "love and marriage" forum. I'm glad to be here.

I'm an American guy living in Guangdong Province. I've lived in China altogether around 10 years and continuously since April, 2006. (I did go home for 15 days in the summer of 2011.)

My Chinese girlfriend and I have been together since January, 2010 and have lived together since July of that year. (Not in her hometown. That would be scandalous. It's a small, not very sophisticated sort of place.) We want to get married. We're not in any great hurry, mind you, but would like to do it relatively soon. What I was not aware of until recently is that her parents have a local guy picked out for her to marry. He's the son of a friend of her father. He has made it pretty clear he doesn't want to marry her and she has also made it as plain that she doesn't want to marry him, either. Neither of them has any intention of ever moving "home" again but neither can bring themselves to tell the parents this. They fully expect this guy and my girlfriend to return to their home city to settle down forever, marry, and have kids. I've given up trying to understand why they just can't honestly explain to the parents that they don't want to do this. That's a whole other issue. So, in a nutshell, my girlfriend and I cannot return to her hometown and get married. It could quite easily become an ugly scene that both of us want to avoid. We've kicked around a few scenarios where on the day we're ready she absconds the family hukou, we dash to the office in the afternoon and get the deed done before anyone notices. She has concluded it will simply never work because she has an auntie who works in the same building where marriages are registered and there simply aren't many foreigners going in the building getting married. We will undoubtedly draw unwanted attention. What we've decided to do is get married in Hong Kong. From what I have researched it seems like a pretty painless process. Once it's done there isn't a thing her parents can do about it. (Legally at least.)

My question is this: Has anyone here gotten married in Hong Kong? Is the process as simple as it sounds on paper? Any insight anyone has would be welcomed.

As a newcomer here I want to be as polite as possible but I have one small request: Please don't offer advice as to how I can win her parents over. Every time I ask this question anywhere people do this.  My girlfriend has tried and it is simply never going to happen. She doesn't want to "disappoint" her parents because she is, at heart, a "nice" Chinese girl who adheres to all the filial piety stuff but she also wants out of her hometown and, having lived there for a year, I completely understand why.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

The Local Dialect

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Re: Getting Married in Hong Kong
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2013, 05:41:23 AM »
I don't have a clue about the actual marriage in Hong Kong, but will she be able to get an entry permit for Hong Kong without her hukou book?

pangzi

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Re: Getting Married in Hong Kong
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2013, 08:50:06 AM »
Yes. She's getting a passport. Getting the hukou for that will be no problem.

adamsmith

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Re: Getting Married in Hong Kong
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2013, 09:05:08 AM »
the next big question about getting married in HK is, is it possible?? One thing I have noticed is many countries wont let you marry there unless at least one of the people getting married is a resident of the country. Have you checked that out.
Your embassy website should provide good information about marriage requirements in HK.

BrandeX

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Re: Getting Married in Hong Kong
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2013, 10:31:53 AM »
Why don't you just get married wherever you are right now? My wife and I got married in Guangzhou, not her hometown. Depending on where you are exactly, you may need to be in one of the larger cities, there is a special office that does this.

The Local Dialect

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Re: Getting Married in Hong Kong
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2013, 11:04:35 AM »
Yeah good point -- if she can get her hukou book in order to get a passport, and you're going to do a covert marriage anyhow, why not just get married in China while you have the hukou. Like Brandex said, you don't have to be in her hometown to get married, you can go to Guangzhou or another big city.

pangzi

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Re: Getting Married in Hong Kong
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2013, 01:52:19 PM »
Anyone from anywhere can get married in Hong Kong, including mainland Chinese. I've already looked into that. From what I've read it's a somewhat simple process. That is why I'm curious if it is REALLY as simple as it seems. That's why I want to see if anyone has done it.

Guangzhou Writer

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Re: Getting Married in Hong Kong
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2013, 03:58:51 PM »
I suppose that if anyone on this board has done it, they'd likely provide some useful info., but it might take a few days for them to notice the thread if they don't log on every day.
Formerly gzwriter

chanhonam

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Re: Getting Married in Hong Kong
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2013, 04:34:19 PM »
I did not get married in HK but have attended friends weddings there. From what I saw and heard it is relatively simple. The weddings were some years ago so info may be outdated. Seems to be based on UK system and you just register with relevant docs and them select a time. In the UK there is a notice period for people to object (i.e. you are already married). Not sure if this the same in HK and if this applies to non-residents.
You may have to book far in advance as demand is high depending on which registry office you chose. I think the ones on HK island side and TST are in high demand. A weekday very early morning may mean less waiting time.

adamsmith

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Re: Getting Married in Hong Kong
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2013, 01:30:57 AM »
Wow, i took a look at the way things are done there and it does seem pretty straightforward. Hopefully it is that easy. I am guessing that your GF is over 21 so that should eliminate any of those problems that you would run into if she was not. I don't know anyone who has gotten married there so cant help much but it sure looks like an interesting alternative. agagagagag

pangzi

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Re: Getting Married in Hong Kong
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2013, 01:55:14 AM »
I did not get married in HK but have attended friends weddings there. From what I saw and heard it is relatively simple. The weddings were some years ago so info may be outdated. Seems to be based on UK system and you just register with relevant docs and them select a time. In the UK there is a notice period for people to object (i.e. you are already married). Not sure if this the same in HK and if this applies to non-residents.
You may have to book far in advance as demand is high depending on which registry office you chose. I think the ones on HK island side and TST are in high demand. A weekday very early morning may mean less waiting time.

According to what I've read at the HK Government website, the "notice" period after registering is 15 days. I know very little about HK but I'm perfectly willing to get this done anywhere. No need to go to one of the "high demand" sites. It will likely be only my GF and I there. This is no big romantic trip for us. We've been together for quite a while and just want to get this done. We're forgoing all the frills like parties and pictures of the two of us in ancient Chinese garb. We don't want to rub this in her parents' faces, obviously. We're trying to be as low-key as we can because when her parents inevitably find out what has happened the doo-doo is going to hit the fan. It might be a few years before we can comfortably return to my GF's hometown.

BrandeX

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Re: Getting Married in Hong Kong
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2013, 02:26:29 AM »
You might want to work on emigration asap then, it's likely that they will come find you and demand an annulment until their daughter gives in. I have read stories like that online before.

Escaped Lunatic

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Re: Getting Married in Hong Kong
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2013, 03:19:21 AM »
Any chance her patentally-selected fiance has a GF and wants to get married?  Getting him off the table will make the impossible dream her parents hold that much more impossible.  If you can get him married off first, then they can't put nearly as much blame on you or your GF.  Just make sure to marry her within a could of weeks of him getting married so that they don't have a chance to try to match her up with someone else.

Not sure about HK, but to get married in China, I had to visit the US consulate in GZ and get a certificate of eligibility to marry.

If she can find an excuse to get hold of her hukou and you've got a valid eligibility cert, getting married at any Chinese registry office is quick and easy.

Don't let the parents get you down.  Do the whole wedding photo thing at your earliest convenience.  Under the circumstances, I'd wait until after the ink is dry on the marriage certificates.
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Re: Getting Married in Hong Kong
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2013, 04:27:15 AM »
You might want to work on emigration asap then, it's likely that they will come find you and demand an annulment until their daughter gives in. I have read stories like that online before.

That's interesting. I've never heard of state-mandated annulment until I read your post and looked it up, but I don't think it's part of modern marriage law.

I've known instances where that law is completely disobeyed, but that's when parts of it are ignored. I can't honestly see how Chinese parents could get a marriage annulled completely outside the law, and even if they did, I suspect that it wouldn't make the slightest bit of difference to you, as the OP's government would still perceive the two of them as legally married. if you are who I think you are (from the greasy spoon) that's the point of this anyway.

As long as your gf can get a visa for HK, this should be a workable plan.

pangzi

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Re: Getting Married in Hong Kong
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2013, 05:00:31 AM »
Respectfully, I absolutely refuse to spend thousands of yuan to pose in silly clothes and my fiance wants no part of it either. I'm sure when the day actually arrives we'll get her a nice dress and I'll break down and buy a suit and we'll have some photos taken. We don't need pictures of me dressed like a 10th Century emperor with my girl dressed as a courtesan, thank you. Both of us find the whole picture thing an enormous waste of money. We both have cameras and friends who can use them.

Her parents will not attempt an annulment. That doesn't worry me. We'll be able to get this done if the procedure is actually as simple as it appears to be from what I've read. I'm still waiting to hear from anyone who has actually done it.