Some couples are content to tie the knot at the courthouse down the road. But for those who are more adventurous, a destination wedding -- and an international marriage -- are a must. The Huffington Post's guide to international marriages will tell you everything you need to know to get legally married in Hong Kong. Read on to ensure all of your paperwork is in order before booking your ticket. --Marnie Kunz
Residency Requirement And Waiting PeriodThere is no residency requirement to get married in Hong Kong. After filing a Notice of Marriage, applicants will need to wait 17 days before getting married. During the waiting period, if no objections to the marriage are filed with the Registrar of Marriages, applicants are free to marry.
Intent To MarryAt least one of the marriage applicants must file a Notice of Marriage at the Marriage Registration Office in Hong Kong, at 3/F, Queensway Government Offices, Low Block, Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Immigration Department offers an online booking service to schedule an appointment for filing the notice. To file a notice, an applicant must bring a valid passport and a copy of the intended spouse's identity documents -- such as a passport. Applicants who have been previously married must show documents proving the previous marriages were terminated. The notice is good for three months. After that time, if applicants have not married, they must file a new notice. Applicants 16 to 21 need written consent from a father. If the applicant's father is dead or unreachable, a mother or legal guardian can provide written consent. The cost of filing the notice is about $40. If neither partner can apply at the Marriage Registration Office in person, applicants can write to the Marriage Registry Office to obtain the necessary forms. Partners will need to complete all required forms in front of a notary and mail the forms back through registered airmail. An additional fee will be charged by the Hong Kong government for mailed applications.
The CeremonyMarriage ceremonies may be held at a Marriage Registry Office or a licensed church. If applicants are planning to marry at a registry office, they can set the date and place when filing the Notice of Marriage. Two witnesses must attend the wedding ceremony.
The Marriage CertificateAfter a marriage ceremony, spouses immediately receive a marriage certificate. The marriage certificate costs about $93 on weekdays and $251 on weekends. Extra copies can be ordered for an additional charge. The marriage certificate is valid in the U.S.
Legal DocumentationApplicants must show a valid passport when filing a Notice of Marriage. If only one applicant files the notice, he or she must also show a copy of the future spouse's passport or valid ID. Couples must also show their passports or IDs before the wedding ceremony. When filing a Notice of Marriage, previously married applicants must show proof of past marriages ending as well as fill out a supplementary form.
Same-Sex MarriageSame-sex marriage is not legal in Hong Kong. In June 2009, the Hong Kong government amended a Domestic Violence Ordinance to include same-sex couples and protect them from domestic violence. The Hong Kong government stated the measure does not recognize gay marriage, however, or same-sex unions.
Additional InformationTeens younger than 16 cannot get married in Hong Kong. U.S. military applicants must get written permission to marry from their senior overseas commander in order to apply for marriage. The registration process may take as long as six weeks for military applicants.
View the full set of laws and regulations regarding marriage in Hong Kong.