Under the Laws of Hong Kong, the minimum age for getting married is 16 years of age (Gregorian reckoning). There are no residential requirements for marrying parties and the parties may be of any nationality. Solemnizing a marriage in Hong Kong will have to go through the following procedures:
If a marriage does not take place within three months after the giving of the notice, the notice and all proceedings thereupon shall be void and a fresh notice has to be given before a marriage can take place.
If you intend to register your marriage in Hong Kong, you need to give the notice in advance to the Registrar. You can use the online service to make an appointment if you choose to give the notice to a marriage registry in person. The website is: http://www.gov.hk/en/residents/immigration/bdmreg/marriage/bookgivingmarriage.htm
You can also make an appointment for giving of notice through the 24-hour telephone booking system (telephone number: 3102 3883 ).
If you have successfully made an appointment for giving the notice at the marriage registry, either one of the marrying parties have to attend the selected marriage registry/office in person to give the notice as scheduled. You have to produce the Hong Kong identity cards / travel documents / identification documents of both marrying parties. The fee is HK$305.
Using the online service, you can:
If you plan to have your marriage celebrated at a marriage registry on a selected date, and wish to reserve a specific marriage hall through the appointment booking system at the time when you make the appointment booking for giving notice, you should make the appointment (on a first-come-first-served basis) and get a priority number within 14 days before the 3-month period from the date of marriage.
To illustrate as an example:
|Planned date of marriage||Earliest appointment date of giving notice of intended marriage|
(1st working day of the 3-month period before the planned date of marriage)
|14-day period during which an appointment can be booked for giving notice|
(01/05/2015 is a General Holidays)
(As illustrated in the example above, the date of appointment given will not be earlier than the first working day [Monday to Saturday, except General Holidays] within the 3-month period before the date of marriage.)
If there are available time slots for marriage ceremony on your selected date of intended marriage at the specified marriage registry, after successfully making an appointment, the system will provide you with:
On the appointment day when you give the notice, you will be arranged in accordance with your priority number to select the exact time slot that may then be available for your marriage ceremony. Please note that you should attend the selected marriage registry/office to give the notice as scheduled. Failing to turn up on time, both your booking made and your priority for selecting marriage hall as reserved through the booking system will lapse.
You will be able to make an appointment booking for a registry / office you choose for giving notice of intended marriage only. On a first-come-first-served basis, the appointment day that may be available to you for giving notice will be within 12 working days, starting from the next working day of the date when you make the appointment.
On the day of giving the notice at the registry/office, you may select the date and time of your marriage at the marriage registry, subject to the availability of marriage quota left at the registry.
Please note that the marrying parties may, subject to the relevant provision of the Marriage Ordinance, contract a marriage only after a notice has been exhibited in the marriage registry for 15 clear days, and the issue of a Certificate of Registrar of Marriages. The date of marriage that you select should be 15 days after the date of giving notice but within 3 months' validity of the notice.
If an applicant from places outside Hong Kong successfully makes an appointment for giving the notice through the Internet, after confirmation of the appointment, one of the marrying parties is required to attend the selected marriage registry/office to give the notice as scheduled. They should also bring with the identification proof or travel document of the other marrying party to give the notice. Otherwise, the booking made through the system will lapse. If one or both of them cannot return to Hong Kong for giving the notice, they have to adopt the procedure of giving the notice from places outside Hong Kong.
If both of you are currently living outside Hong Kong and intend to get married in Hong Kong, you should write direct to the Marriage Registration and Records Office at the address below for a copy of Notice of Intended Marriage form and information sheet "Information Required for Registration of Marriage" for completion. The address is as follows:-
The Marriage Registration and Records Office
3/F, Low Block
Queensway Government Offices
You may also send email to the Immigration Department at the firstname.lastname@example.org requesting for the form and information sheet.
The completed notice form with your signature should be authenticated by a Notary Public of the country where you live. Please note that if you are living in different territories/countries, the form is only required to be authenticated by a Notary Public of the country where one of you lives (i.e. the one who gives the notice).The authenticated notice, the completed information sheet together with the supporting documents and the bank draft being the payment of HK$305 payable to "The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region" should be sent by registered airmail or submit through your contact person in Hong Kong or a civil celebrant of marriages to the Marriage Registration and Records Office. If your bank draft is not drawable in Hong Kong currency, you should pay for an additional bank handling commission of HK$100 for exchanging of currency. Please do not send in cash.
If you intend to celebrate your marriage at the marriage registry, you may indicate your preference about the date of marriage and registry on the information sheet. A reply will be sent to you to confirm the appointment for marriage ceremony after receipt of the authenticated notice, the prescribed fee, and supporting documents. Please note that the marriage registry has quota limit of marriage appointment. To facilitate the alternative arrangement, you may provide several preferences of marriage appointment and your email address for easy communication.
If your marriage is to take place in a licensed place of worship or to be celebrated by a civil celebrant of marriages, you should consult the officiating minister or civil celebrant of marriages for the exact date, time and place of wedding. Please also ensure that a Certificate of Registrar of Marriages has been issued before the ceremony takes place.
Both of you should, after your arrival at Hong Kong, attend the Marriage Registration and Records Office within office hours or meet your civil celebrant, bringing along your travel documents and originals of the documents which you have submitted earlier. The party giving the notice should make an affidavit before the Registrar or the civil celebrant that there is no impediment of kindred or affinity or any other lawful hindrance to the marriage. Ample time should be allowed for the civil celebrant to transmit the affidavit to the Registrar for the issue of the Certificate of Registrar of Marriages. Please note that no marriage shall be celebrated in a licensed place of worship or by a civil celebrant in the absence of a Certificate of Registrar of Marriages.
If your intended marriage is to take place in a licensed place of worship, you should consult the officiating minister for the exact date, time and place of wedding. You will then make an appointment booking for a registry / office you choose for giving notice of intended marriage only. On first-come-first-served basis, the appointment day that may be available to you for giving notice will be within 12 working days, starting from the next working day of the date when you make the appointment.
After giving the notice and exhibition of which for 15 clear days, you have to collect the Certificate of Registrar of Marriages at the respective registry and pass it to the concerned licensed place of worship. Please note that no marriage shall be celebrated in a licensed place of worship in the absence of a Certificate of Registrar of Marriages.
Under the law of Hong Kong, if, on the date of intended marriage, either party is under the age of 21 but of or above the age of 16 and not a widower or a widow, the consent in writing of the relevant person or persons specified in the Third Schedule to the Marriage Ordinance must be produced to the Registrar of Marriages upon giving of notice. The form for giving such consent (Form MR4) can be downloaded from Immigration Department website or obtained from a marriage registry (other than the City Hall Marriage Registry and the Cotton Tree Drive Marriage Registry) or through a civil celebrant of marriages. If the person making the consent is not in Hong Kong, the completed Form MR4 should be authenticated by a Notary Public.
If the written consent is given by the natural parent of the party, the party should provide the following documents upon giving of the notice:
Statutory declaration should be made and sworn or affirmed before a Registrar or a civil celebrant of marriages. If the person making the declaration is not in Hong Kong, the statutory declaration form should be authenticated by a Notary Public. If the required supporting documents are not written in English or Chinese, certified translations of such are required.
According to the law, if, on the date of intended marriage, either party is under the age of 21 but of or above the age of 16 and not a widower or a widow, the consent in writing of the relevant person or persons specified in the Third Schedule to the Marriage Ordinance must be produced to the Registrar of Marriages upon giving of notice. In this circumstance, your fiancée can choose not to give the relevant consent in writing. However, the Certificate of Registrar of Marriages will be issued only when she is above the age of 21. Please note that no marriage shall be celebrated in a licensed place of worship or by a civil celebrant in the absence of a Certificate of Registrar of Marriages.
In accordance with Section 27(1) of the Marriage Ordinance (Cap.181), a marriage shall be null and void by reason of kindred or affinity. The definitions of kindred and affinity provided in Schedule 5 of the Marriage Ordinance are set out below:
Schedule 5, Marriage Ordinance
1. In this Schedule-
"brother" ( 兄 弟 ) includes a brother of the half blood;
"child" ( 兒 童 ) means a person under the age of 18;
"child of the family" ( 家 庭 子 女 ), in relation to any person, means a child who has lived in the same household as that person and been treated by that person as a child of his family;
"sister" ( 姊 妹 ) includes a sister of the half blood.
2. A marriage-
(a) solemnized between a man and any person specified in the first column of Part 2; or
(b) solemnized between a woman and any person specified in the second column of Part 2, shall be null and void.
3. Subject to paragraph 4, a marriage-
(a) solemnized between a man and any person specified in the first column of Part 3; or
(b) solemnized between a woman and any person specified in the second column of Part 3, shall be null and void.
4. A marriage referred to in paragraph 3 shall not be null and void by reason only of affinity if-
(a) both the parties to the marriage have attained the age of 21 at the time of the marriage; and
(b) the younger party has not at any time before attaining the age of 18 been a child of the family in relation to the other party.
5. Subject to paragraph 6, a marriage-
(a) solemnized between a man and any person specified in the first column of Part 4; or
(b) solemnized between a woman and any person specified in the second column of Part 4, shall be null and void.
6. A marriage referred to in paragraph 5 shall not be null and void by reason only of affinity if-
(a) both the parties to the marriage have attained the age of 21 at the time of the marriage; and
(b) the marriage is solemnized-
(i) in the case of a marriage between a man and the mother of a former wife of his, after the death of both the former wife and the father of the former wife;
(ii) in the case of a marriage between a man and the former wife of his son, after the death of both his son and the mother of his son;
(iii) in the case of a marriage between a woman and the father of a former husband of hers, after the death of both the former husband and the mother of the former husband; or
(iv) in the case of a marriage between a woman and a former husband of her daughter, after the death of both her daughter and the father of her daughter.
PROHIBITED DEGREES OF RELATIONSHIP REFERRED TO IN
PARAGRAPH 2 OF PART 1
|For men||For women|
|Adoptive mother or former adoptive mother||Adoptive father or former adoptive father|
|Adoptive daughter or former adoptive daughter||Adoptive son or former adoptive son|
|Father's mother||Father's father|
|Mother's mother||Mother's father|
|Son's daughter||Son's son|
|Daughter's daughter||Daughter's son|
|Father's sister||Father's brother|
|Mother's sister||Mother's brother|
|Brother's daughter||Brother's son|
|Sister's daughter||Sister's son|
DEGREES OF AFFINITY REFERRED TO IN
PARAGRAPHS 3 AND 4 OF PART 1
|For men||For women|
|Daughter of former wife||Son of former husband|
|Former wife of father||Former husband of mother|
|Former wife of father's father||Former husband of father's mother|
|Former wife of mother's father||Former husband of mother's mother|
|Daughter of son of former wife||Son of son of former husband|
|Daughter of daughter of former wife||Son of daughter of former husband|
DEGREES OF AFFINITY REFERRED TO IN
PARAGRAPHS 5 AND 6 OF PART 1
|For men||For women|
|Mother of former wife||Father of former husband|
|Former wife of son||Former husband of daughter|
If the divorce takes place outside Hong Kong, proof of domicile in the country where the divorce takes place is required. Otherwise, a declaration signed by the divorced person declaring his nationality and residence on the date of institution and approval of the divorce should be provided. The statutory declaration should be made and sworn or affirmed before a Registrar or a civil celebrant of marriages.
To proceed with the marriage oath under section 21 of the Marriage Ordinance, the Registrar or the civil celebrant, as the case may be, shall first address the parties to the following effect -
"Before you are joined in matrimony, it is my duty to remind you of the solemn and binding character of a marriage contracted under the Marriage Ordinance, which is in law the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. Know ye, therefore, [ name of the male party ], and [ name of the female party ], that, by the public taking of each other as man and wife in my presence and in the presence of the persons now here, and by the subsequent attestation thereof by signing your names to that effect, you become legally married to each other, although no other rite of a civil or religious nature shall take place ".
The male party shall then say to the female party either -
「 我 請 在 場 各 人 見 證 ： 我 [ 男 方 姓 名 ] 願 以 妳 [ 女 方 姓 名 ] 為 我 合 法 妻 子 。 」
Or in English-
"I call upon all persons here present to witness that I, [name of the male party], do take thee, [name of the female party], to be my lawful wedded wife."
The female party shall then say to the male party either -
「 我 請 在 場 各 人 見 證 ： 我 [ 女 方 姓 名 ] 願 以 你 [ 男 方 姓 名 ] 為 我 合 法 丈 夫 。 」
Or in English-
"I call upon all persons here present to witness that I, [name of the female party], do take thee, [name of the male party], to be my lawful wedded husband."。
The area of each marriage registry and the accommodated capacity for the wedding ceremony of marriage registries are as follows:-
|Cotton Tree |
|Tsim Sha Tsui |
|(a) No. of Hall||1||1||2||2||1|
|(b) Approximate area of each hall (m2)||88(40)||41||Hall(UB) : 75
Hall(3/F) : 50
|(c) No. of guest seat in each hall||45(24)||32||Hall(UB) : 40
Hall(3/F) : 16
|(d) Standing capacity in each hall||Around 30(15)||Around 12||Hall(UB) : Around 25
Hall(3/F) : Around 12
|Around 15||Around 22|
(( ) denotes the capacity of Hall 2)
Section 40 of the Marriage Ordinance stipulates that every marriage must be the union of one man and one woman. In accordance with the Court of Final Appeal judgment in the judicial review case of W v The Registrar of Marriages (FACV 4/2012), if a person has received a full sex re-assignment surgery (full SRS), the person is, for the purpose of the Marriage Ordinance, to be treated as being of the sex to which the person is re-assigned after the surgery.
The CFA Order declares, amongst other things, that:
“…section 20(1)(d) of the MCO [Matrimonial Causes Ordinance, Cap.179] and section 40 of the MO [Marriage Ordinance, Cap.181] must be read and given effect so as to include within the meaning of the words “woman” and “female” a post-operative male-to-female transsexual person whose gender has been certified by an appropriate medical authority to have changed as a result of sex reassignment surgery.”
In paragraph 124 of the judgment, the CFA held that a transsexual person in W’s situation, that is one who has gone through a full SRS, is entitled to be included as a “woman” within the meaning of MO section 40 and MCO section 20(1)(d). In paragraph 125 of the judgment, the CFA held that a transsexual person, who has been issued with a certificate that his or her gender has been changed on the basis that the original genital organs have been removed and some form of the genital organs of the opposite sex have been constructed, ought in any event to qualify as a person entitled to marry in his or her acquired gender.
A full SRS is a surgical procedure that –
Transsexual persons who have received a full SRS will therefore be treated by the Registrar of Marriages as persons of their re-assigned sex at marriage registration and are eligible to marry a person of the opposite sex under the MO.
In the absence of evidence to the contrary, the sex of a party to a marriage as shown on an identification document (i.e. an identity card, or a valid travel document, within the meaning of section 2(1) of the Immigration Ordinance (Cap. 115)) of the party at the time of the marriage will be presumed by the Registrar of Marriages to be the sex of the party.
To apply for licensing a place of worship ("the place") to be a place for celebration of marriages, the Minister-in-charge of the place should submit by post the completed application form (SF/MR/9) together with the following supporting documents :
Births, Deaths and Marriage Registration (Support) Section
7 Gloucestor Road, Wan Chai
Please note that application will be processed after all documents listed above are received.
If you have already registered your marriage in Hong Kong and wish to obtain a certified copy of marriage certificate, you can apply for a search of marriage records and / or a certified copy of marriage certificate.
If you need a document certifying that you have not registered any marriage in Hong Kong, you can apply for a certificate of absence of marriage record (“CAMR”). However, if the search result shows that you are not qualified for CAMR due to the fact that you have marriage record(s) in Hong Kong, a letter of marriage record indicating the date(s) of your previous marriage(s) will be issued.
If you require a document relating to marriage registration for other purposes (such as marriage, reunion, heritage, migration, etc.), you are strongly advised to check with the relevant authority on their documentary requirement before submitting any of the above applications so that the appropriate type of application is ensured.
In summary, the types of applications and the relevant documents to be issued relating to marriage registration are as follows:
|Type of Application||Types of Documents Issued|
|Search of Marriage Records in Hong Kong and / or Certified Copy of Marriage Certificate||
|Certificate of Absence of Marriage Record||
To apply for a CAMR, you have to complete an application form (Form MR35) and pay the prescribed fee for a search of marriage record. You should bring along your Hong Kong identity card or valid travel document and submit your application in person to any of the marriage registries. You may also choose to submit your application by post. The duly completed application form, a photocopy of your Hong Kong identity card and your travel document bearing your personal data and signature should be sent to the Marriage Registration and Records Office, 3/F, Low Block, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong together with the prescribed fee for a search of marriage record. The signature on your application form must be the same as that on your travel document. If your travel document was issued in places outside Hong Kong, the photocopy of the travel document must be properly certified by a notary public.
If you are outside Hong Kong or you are in Hong Kong but with evidence of not being able to submit the application in person, you can submit the duly completed application form through an authorised representative to a marriage registry with the requisite evidence, your authorisation letter, photocopies of your Hong Kong identity card and travel document bearing your personal data and signature. Your signature on the application form/authorisation letter must be the same as that on your travel document. If your travel document was issued in places outside Hong Kong, the photocopy of the travel document must be properly certified by a notary public.
On the date of application, you need to pay HK$140 for a search of marriage record. If the search result shows that you have no marriage record in Hong Kong, you will be issued a CAMR. The prescribed fee for the CAMR is HK$680. The fee will be collected upon collection of the CAMR. Payment can be made by cash, EPS, a crossed cheque or a cashier order in Hong Kong currency payable to "The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region". Post dated cheques will not be accepted. If you have marriage record(s) in Hong Kong, you will be issued a letter of marriage record which is free of charge. For postal applications, you can send in a crossed cheque, bank draft or cashier order in Hong Kong currency drawn from a bank in Hong Kong payable to "The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region" together with the application for payment of a search of marriage record. If the search result shows that you have no marriage record in Hong Kong, you will be notified by post for sending in the payment for the CAMR. An addition of HK$70 is payable if the certificate is required to be posted to an address outside Hong Kong and an airmail postage at the normal rate will be charged if the certificate is to be sent by airmail. Please do not send in cash.
A) Notice of Intended Marriage (Notice) and Certificate of Registrar of Marriages (RC)
Notice given through a civil celebrant of marriages will be exhibited at the Office of the Registrar for at least 15 clear days counting from the commencement date.
To ensure timely processing of the Notice and issue of the RC, civil celebrants of marriages are requested to transmit the completed Notice to the Registrar at the earliest opportunity preferably not less than one month before the proposed date of marriage.
[Please refer to section 9 of the Marriage Ordinance, Cap. 181, and the Guidance Notes for Civil Celebrants of Marriages (Guidance Notes)]
The commencement dates for exhibition of Notice and collection of RC are illustrated as follows:
|Day of transmission of Notice |
e.g. 8 Dec 2015
|Exhibition commences on||Collect RC on|
|Received by the Registrar before 2 pm||9 Dec 2015||24 Dec 2015|
|Received by the Registrar after 2 pm||10 Dec 2015||28 Dec 2015
(25-27 Dec 2015 are Public Holiday and Sunday)
Yes. One of the proposed parties to the intended marriage may give a Notice to the Registrar through a civil celebrant of marriages. The Notice shall be signed by the party giving the Notice. He/She shall also appear personally before a civil celebrant of marriages and make an affidavit under section 12 of the Marriage Ordinance, Cap. 181. [Please refer to Annex of the Guidance Notes]
Both parties are required to declare their marital condition in writing and by circling the appropriate description and appending their respective signatures beside it if they appear personally before a civil celebrant to give Notice. However, if either marrying party is unable to attend in person to complete this part, he/she should complete a separate form - marital condition statutory declaration at Appendix of the Guidance Notes witnessed by a civil celebrant before the marriage ceremony. The completed declaration form should be returned to the Registrar together with the duplicate marriage certificate, the Declaration Form (MR65) and any supporting documents by the civil celebrant of marriages within 7 days after the marriage. Please be reminded that the party who gives the Notice should indicate the marital condition of the absent party by circling the appropriate description only. [Please refer to the Guidance Notes]
Any error on the Notice shall be crossed by drawing a single line through the word(s) and certified by the party giving the Notice and/or civil celebrant of marriages by appending their signatures beside each correction.
Alternatively, if any Notice is erroneously prepared, the whole set (in triplicate) shall be cancelled by drawing two diagonal lines across them and endorsed with "cancelled" wordings. The responsible civil celebrant of marriages shall initial and date the cancelled Notice before returning them to the Registrar with the acknowledgement form at Appendix of the Guidance Notes in duplicate.
B) Supporting documents to be submitted with the Notice
Yes. The party attends in person to give Notice can produce the clear photocopies of the travel document and other supporting documents of the absent party. The civil celebrant of marriages should take effective measures to ensure that the marrying parties are able to produce the original travel document and supporting documents for his/her inspection before the wedding ceremony. All photocopies of the travel documents and supporting documents should be properly certified by the civil celebrant of marriages and returned to the Registrar with the duplicate marriage certificate and statutory declaration within 7 days after the marriage.
C) Celebration of marriage
The date of marriage can be changed to any other date within the validity of the RC.
A marriage shall be celebrated by a civil celebrant of marriages in accordance with the Marriage Ordinance only after the issue of the RC and within the validity of the RC.
If the marriage does not take place within the validity of the RC, the parties have to give another Notice.
D) Marriage Certificate (MC)
No. Amendment on the MC is not allowed. If any MC is erroneously prepared, both the original and duplicate copies of the MC shall be cancelled by drawing diagonal lines across them and endorsed with "cancelled" wordings. [Please refer to Annex E of the Guidance Notes] The responsible civil celebrant of marriages shall initial and date the cancelled certificates before returning them to the Registrar with acknowledgement form at Appendix of the Guidance Notes in duplicate. A new set of MC shall be prepared and checked before officiating the marriage.
No amendment on the marriage certificate by a civil celebrant of marriages is allowed. According to Section 25 of the Marriage Ordinance, Cap. 181, the Registrar may correct clerical error on production to him of the certificate delivered to the parties, and shall authenticate every such correction by his signature, or by marking the same with his initials, and date of making the correction. Thus, the civil celebrant of marriages shall, on behalf of the married couple, submit the original marriage certificate with a covering letter and relevant supporting document to apply for correction of clerical error.
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