Getting Married In Japan

02/08/2012 05:41 pm ET
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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 Japan. Read on to ensure all of your paperwork is in order before booking your ticket. --Barbie Carpenter

Residency Requirement And Waiting Period

Nonresidents of Japan can marry in the country. There is no waiting period.

Intent To Marry

Couples do not have to post intents to marry in Japan. In fact, they are married the same day they apply for a marriage license. Acquiring a marriage certificate through the municipal government means the couple is legally married.

The Ceremony

A wedding ceremony does not have to take place in Japan in order for the marriage to be legal. Once a couple obtains a marriage certificate at the municipal government office, they are legally married. Couples can hold a ceremony for celebratory or religious purposes, but it is not required to make a Japanese marriage official.

The Marriage Certificate

Japanese municipal government offices issue marriage certificates. Once the couple submits their application and required legal documentation, they will receive a Certificate of Acceptance of Notification of Marriage. This document confirms that the couple is legally married. U.S. couples should have the certificate translated into English.

Legal Documentation

U.S. citizens marrying in Japan must complete a sworn Affidavit of Competency to Marry at the U.S. Embassy, which will notarize the form. They must provide their passport and a $50 fee when completing the affidavit. In addition, couples typically need to submit proof of nationality (passport or birth certificate) and a marriage certificate application to the municipal government. However, couples should contact the municipal government in the area in which they will marry to confirm what documents are required, as requirements can vary among municipalities. All legal documentation must be translated into Japanese.

Same-Sex Marriage

Same-sex marriage is not legal in Japan. Japan's Civil Code limits marriage to a union between a man and a woman.

Additional Information

The Affidavit of Competency to Marry is valid for three months after the U.S. Embassy signs it. Religious ceremonies are not legal marriages in Japan, so couples marrying under the traditions of their religion also must have a civil marriage at a Japanese municipal office. Finally, a woman cannot marry within six months of divorce to avoid any paternity issues in case of a pregnancy.

View the full set of laws and regulations regarding marriage in Japan.