In this article, we will discuss what the procedures are for marriage between Japanese and Chinese citizens, and what the procedures are for filing for a status of residence that allows Chinese citizens to live in Japan.
Foreigners who marry Japanese nationals can apply for the “Spouse or Child of a Japanese National” status of residence, but this is not automatically given even if married. It is required to finish both the marriage procedure and the application for permanent residency at the same time.
- Legal Requirements for Marriage between a Japanese and Chinese National
- Marriage Procedures for Japanese and Chinese Nationals
- Procedures for Chinese nationals applying for a status of residence
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1. Legal Requirements for Marriage between a Japanese and Chinese National
Both the marriage procedure and the application for residency status in Japan and China require the existence of a legally valid married relationship. For instance, as illustrated in the table below, there is a disparity in the age of marriage between Japan and China.
Civil Code of Japan
Chinese Marriage Law
For example, a 20-year-old Japanese man does not meet the requirements of the Chinese Marriage Law, and therefore cannot have a valid marriage under Chinese law.
You should first check the marriage laws of both countries and make sure that you meet the requirements.
2. Marriage Procedures for Japanese and Chinese Nationals
Marriage processes can be initiated in either China or Japan. The following sections provide an overview of each method.
(1) Procedures carried out in China
Both the Japanese and Chinese parties must bring required documents and complete the registration procedures at the marriage registration agency designated by the people’s government of the province, autonomous region, or city under direct jurisdiction where the Chinese person’s family register is kept in order to receive a “marriage certificate.” The documents you will need are given in the table below.
For Japanese Nationals
- Certificate of legal capacity to marry (commonly known as “bachelor certificate”)(*)
- Chinese translation of the above certificate
(*) Issued by the Legal Affairs Bureau and authenticated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Chinese Embassy (or Consulate General) in Japan
For Chinese nationals
- Resident’s household registration
- Resident’s ID card
Submitting the marriage certificate to the Japanese government
Within three months of receiving your marriage certificate, you must submit a marriage notification to the Japanese government. This notification can only be made by Japanese nationals. You can submit the notification to one of the following locations:
Where to Submit : Embassy of Japan in China
- Japanese passport
- A copy of the family register
- Marriage certificate
- Notarized marriage certificate (*)
- Japanese translation of notarized marriage certificate
- Notarized certificate of Chinese nationality(*)
- Japanese translation of notarized certificate of Chinese nationality
(*) Issued by the notary office where the Chinese person’s family register is located.
Where to Submit: The municipal office of the city, ward, town or village in you reside in while staying in Japan (after bringing the marriage certificate to Japan)
Required documents : Please contact the city or ward office for more information.
(2) Procedures carried out in Japan
Procedures carried out in Japan
Both the Japanese and the Chinese national, or the Japanese national alone if the Chinese national is not visiting Japan, should bring the necessary documents to the municipal office, submit the “Marriage Registration” and receive the “Acceptance of Marriage Certificate”. For more information on the required documents, please contact the municipal office in advance.
Procedures for the Family Register Based in China
If you are married in Japan, your marriage will be recognized as a valid marriage in China as well, so you do not need to register your marriage in China as described in (1). However, it is necessary to change the marital status column in the Chinese family register to “married”. The “Certificate of Acceptance of Marriage” received at (1) above must be authenticated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Chinese embassy (or consulate general) in Japan, respectively, and submitted to the police station where the Chinese person’s family register is located.
Differences between applying first in Japan and first in China
There are some differences on whether or not you need to travel to the country you are applying for. Please refer to the table below.
(1) If you want to apply in China first
Travel to China: Japanese nationals must travel to China.
Issuance of Chinese Marriage Certificate: Will be issued.
(2) Applying in Japan first
Whether or not to travel to Japan: Chinese nationals do not necessarily need to come to Japan.
Issuance of Chinese Marriage Certificate : Not issued.
The “marriage certificate” can be used in the application procedures for status of residence as described in the next section.
3. Procedures for Chinese nationals to apply for a status of residence
After you have completed the marriage procedures in both countries, you can move on to the application process for status of residence.
When a Chinese national is based overseas
If you are a Chinese national living abroad, you need to apply for the status of “Spouse or Child of Japanese National” in order to enter Japan. The procedure to enter Japan is as follows.
- Apply to the Immigration Services Agency of Japan for a Certificate of Eligibility.
- Apply for a Certificate of Eligibility to the immigration bureau.
- Prepare the following documents and apply.
Types of Documents:
- 1.) A copy of the family register of a Japanese national
Remarks: Must show marriage.
- 2.) Marriage Certificate issued by China
Remarks: Chinese “Marriage Certificate” etc.
- 3.) Documents proving the cost of stay in Japan
Remarks : Tax Certificate or Certificate of Tax Payment for Resident Tax of Japanese
- 4.) Certificate of identity (*)
Remarks : A Japanese person must act as a guarantor.
- 5.) Questionnaire(*)
Remarks : Answer questions regarding the background of the marriage.
- 6.) Snapshot
Remarks : Multiple photos of the two of you together
(*) To be prepared in the format specified by the Immigration Services Agency.
- 7.) Apply for a visa at the Japanese embassy or consulate in China with the issued Certificate of Eligibility.
- 8.) Present the visa-issued passport and the Certificate of Eligibility to Customs after landing at the Japanese airport and receive a seal of approval on the passport.
- 9.) You will be granted the status of “Spouse or Child of Japanese National”.
Chinese nationals already in Japan with a status of residence that allows for them to work
For example, if you are a Chinese national working in Japan with a status of residence that allows you to work, you may choose to stay in Japan with your current status of residence or change your status of residence to “Spouse or Child of Japanese National”.
If you want to change your status of residence to “Spouse or Child of a Japanese National,” you can do so as soon as your marriage proceedings are completed, or when your current period of stay is about to expire.
The documents required to change your status of residence to “Spouse or Child of Japanese National” are the same as in (1) above.
In this article, we have introduced the laws and regulations that Japanese and Chinese nationals should know when getting married. There are many key areas to be aware of, such as the different ages allowed to marry in Japan and China, and the different procedures to follow depending on which country you register your marriage in first.
Please contact us if you have any queries regarding marriage proceedings with a Chinese national or your status of residence, as we have a lot of experience and expertise in this area.