China Marriage Registration For U.S. Citizens – Survey Results From Randy & Xiaoying


Recently, Xiaoying and I sent a special request to our U.S. subscribers who have traveled to China for marriage. We would both like to thank all of you for your response.

Also, many of you sent emails telling us you will be getting married in China in the months to come and will fill-out the survey at that time. We ask that you please do, as this information will continue to help our U.S. brothers who are first starting this journey.

As many of you know, current information is sometimes hard to find and discovering data from a group is more trustworthy then the information one may find by doing a Google search.

Must of the questions are mainly about how the different regional Chinese Civil Affairs offices and the Chinese Marriage Bureau are processing marriage registration for U.S. citizens. Survey results list the City or Provence once, although some are represented multiple times.

1. In which Chinese City or Provence were you married?

Survey said: Liuzhou, Jiangmen, Beijing, Zhengzhou, Changsha, Chongqing, Chengdu, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Shenyang, Yunnan, Shanghai, Nanjing, andย  Nanning.

2. When you provided your Affidavit of Single, did the Chinese Civil Affairs Office ask for your U.S. Passport, a Birth Certificate or both?

Survey said: U.S. Passport only, 18 people and both, *2 people

Note* Usually, the U.S. Passport proves date and place of birth to foreign governments. If you were ask for a Birth Certificate could you please leave a comment at the bottom of this post. Since this survey was anonymous I would like to verify which Civil Affairs Office ask for a U.S. Birth Certificate. This is important information as all U.S. notarized documents need to be authenticated by the Chinese Consulate/Embassy here in the United States.

3. Was the Civil Affairs Office and the Marriage Bureau at the same location?

Survey said: Same location, 14 people and different locations, 6

4. Who took the photos for your “Red Marriage Booklets”?

Survey said: The Marriage Bureau, 11 people and a photography shop, 9

5. How much RMB (Yuan) or U.S. dollars, did the Civil Affairs Office charge for translating your English documents to Chinese?

Survey said: On average, 200 RMB or about $29 USD

6. How much RMB or U.S. dollars did the Civil Affairs Office charge for the Notarial books with English translations?

Survey said: On average, 1500 to 2200 RMB or about $300 USD (*on the high end*)

Note* On the high end of this figure is when you include Divorce or Death Certificates and a child’s Birth Notarial for the Chinese spouse.

7. How many days did it take for the Civil Affairs Office to assemble the Notarial books with English translations?

Survey said: On average, 3 to 4 days

8. Did the Marriage Bureau ask for a Health Certificate?

Survey said: No 100%

9. If you could do it all over, would you choose marriage in China or in the U.S.? Why?

Survey said: Marriage in China, 16 people.ย  Marriage in the U.S., 2 people, and 2 people reported both.

Reason given for why?ย  Marriage in China:

“The cost for a nice wedding is much less then in the U.S. Also, it was an adventure I will never forget”.

“I enjoyed being married in China. It made my wife very happy, to have family and friends attend the reception. For me, how exciting to marry in a foreign country. Different customs very wonderful”.

“I would still marry in China. Despite the effort on my part to get everything authenticated beforehand, it was worth the experience”.

“We decided to get married in China due to the difficulty of getting her over to the US, and we’d do that again”.

“I would choose to marry in China. Everything went smooth, and it gave my wife’s parents and family the opportunity to know me better. It was good for them to discovered they could trust me and approve. After all, I would be bringing their daughter, grandson and granddaughter to live in America, this way they could feel secure. The actual logistics of the marriage and reception went well, so I would be inclined to marry in China if I had to do it all over again”.

“In China because it’s important for her family, not because it is necessarily easier for the Visa. That we are still waiting to see which would be quicker”.

“China, we might get married again in the US just for fun”.

“I still would choose marriage in China so the family could have the honor and experience. You can also marry in the U.S. for your family”.

“Yes for it was very easy after getting all my papers done”.

“China seemed our only choice. I didn’t think a I-129f would get her to the USA in less than 2 years. We were married on 5-10-10. Our I-130 and supporting documents have been sent in. Now we are worried that the I-129f forms we have completed, signed and brought back to the USA with me wont be utilized and we will have to start all over with a CR-1 process!! USCIS still is saying the K-3 is not dead???!!!??? Who knows? We will see”.

“If the man goes there and marries the Chinese woman it will make her feel happy and more confident they are getting married and not feel it might not happen. I think the Chinese woman does not like to wait a long time to get married. They worry they are maybe getting used sometimes”.

“Marriage in China. It was quicker and I’m sure less expensive. I arrived in China late Friday night. On Sat, Sun, and Mon, we were busy with getting the documents ready and prepared. We were married on Tuesday, so we had the rest of the time to be together, and get the documents translated into English. I was surprised on how fast it went. It was great, and I would choose Marriage in China again, if had to do it over”.

People Who Said They Would Marry in the U.S.

“Probably USA. Seemed to informal in China…more of a paperwork scheme than an actual marriage”.

“US – Less paperwork, and time involved, I prefer a religious ceremony to a civil marriage”.

And two people said they will do both.

10. Do you have any tips or advice that could help others?

Survey said: “Get your marriage registered as soon as you can. That leaves more time to sight see and enjoy your time together”.

“Plan ahead. Take forms with you. Get signatures before you leave China. Leave no blanks on forms empty”.

“I am very thankful to have found your website. You have taken me through the process, step by step.Thanks”.

“Read all you can on the Internet. Try to decipher what is good information and bad information. You can do it yourself. Be prepared. Enjoy the experience. In the US, I had my affidavit of single status notarized then sent to my Secretary of State’s office for authentication. Then it went to the Chinese consulate in the US for authentication. Now to China: brought my authenticated affidavit, my passport, and my fiancees ID card to the US consulate in Chengdu. They made copies of everything, bound them, attached an authenticated cover sheet in both English and Chinese. This packet is what I gave to the Chinese Civil Affairs Office. No birth certificate was needed”.

“I had a lawyer for a Pre-nup agreement. He knew a lady that worked at a notarial office. We had our paperwork done in hours instead of days. I cost me a whopping $100 USD..well worth the money”.

“The Shenyang US Embassy claims you need to translate all documents you take with you into Chinese. We called Shenyang and they said not necessary. Also, I took my Divorce Decree with me but they didn’t care about it, only about the Single Affidavit”.

“Make sure your Affidavit of Single status is less than 3 months old while you are there. Mine was older and they complained slightly, but my wife’s best friend worked for the Civil Affairs office, so all went without problems”.

“Use a translator if needed”.

“The “Guide” that Randy and his wife Xiaoying have put together was lots of help. Get as much preparation done as possible in the U.S., as outlined in their guide. Keep all your receipts for evidence of your relationship”.

“It is cheaper if your Fiance will rent an apartment for a month, instead of using a hotel or motel. My wife (then Fiancee), rented an apartment for about 800 RMB for the month. I was in China for 2.5 weeks. My only regret is I wish I could have stayed longer. It is beautiful, the food is great (it was the first time I ate Chinese), the people are nice, friendly, courteous, and respectful”.

“Knowing the Chinese language is not necessary, as long as your Fiancee can translate, or she has a friend who can help in the translations. My wife is very limited in the English language, but she had a friend who could speak good English and another friend who could speak English so so. But, my wife had another tool. She had a portable translator that came in handy when her friends were not with us. After spending time with each other, we depended less on the translator, and she was speaking more English. Gestures go along way, as well”.

“I recommend anyone who is serious on getting married to a Chinese, to get married in China so she can have family and friends experience one of the most important events in her life. It will mean so much to her, and she will love you even more for thinking of her and her family”.

Categories : US Spouse Survey


  1. Mark Swain says:

    We have recieved our I-797C, notice of action from USCIS. I am preparing to send our I-129F form in to the California service center that is processing our I-130. My question is do I send more copies of my passport, birth certificate, and G-325A forms? Or will all the copies I sent with I-130 suffice?

  2. Randy Marsh says:

    Hi Mark

    Along with your I-129F Petition you will include a copy of your Birth Certificate or U.S. Passport. Proof of Filing the I-130 with a copy of your I-797C Receipt Notice. In addition, you will also include one G-325A for you, and one G-325A from your spouse. These are the same forms you sent with the I-130. Include a passport style photo of each of you. These are the 2×2 photo’s with white background showing your full face. There is no fee for the I-129F because you are submitting it as part of a k-3 Petition.

    If there is a child coming with your spouse you should file an I-130 for them as well. There is no G-325 or photo needed with their I-130 application, just there Birth Certificate and your Marriage Certificate. The child will be named in the I-129F, and again, no G-325 or photo needed. Good luck to you and keep us up-dated. (Reference USCIS)


    All the experiences cited deal with the couple returning to the US. But what are the laws governing marriage of a US citizen to a Chinese woman, AND the couple staying in china to live rather than returning to the US?

  4. Randy Marsh says:

    If you want to live in China you will need to be a Chinese Permanent Resident. Most who have a Chinese Permanent Resident Card work for a company that requires them to be in China. This website doesn’t have information to become a resident in China. You may want to check with the U.S. Embassy in China for more information.

  5. Eddie Barrett says:

    I just returned from my trip to Shenyeng China to get married.
    I was concerned there would be problems but I was ready to take them head on. But to my surprise, it was very simple.
    Things you need:
    1>Your last divorce papers
    2> Go to the local US Embassy and swear that you are single ($50.00 US Dollars) which gets notarized in that cost. You may need to make an appointment.
    3>Take it, your passport and your wifes single eligibility card and ID card to the local marriage registry
    4> Fill out their short form, and then you will start the marriage process.
    They will run a check on you to make sure you are single and that can take 4 or 5 hours. After that is done, you can be legally married for about another $50 US Dollars.
    But…it will take up to 9 days to get everything back for the legal marriage to take place or you can pay about $100.00 US dollars and get it back in the same afternoon if you start in the morning.
    Another $50.00 US dollars gets you two nice photo albums with about 16 pictures of your wedding. This is provided at the marriage registry.
    All in all, very simple process to get married in China and cheap. We didnt do a big wedding since it wasn’t our first. We chose to have a great honeymoon over spending money for a big wedding and reception. But note, her parents aren’t alive so that may have had an impact on why she was happy to do the wedding the way we did.
    Now the process is to start to bring her here to be with me. I am an American, but working and living in Bahrain. Once my company gets her here, I will start the paperwork to get her to the USA for when I move back there in a couple of years.
    Dont be scared to do it guys, it is easy. But make sure you have someone that speaks pretty good english. Fortunately for me, my wife spoke decent english but I bought an nice translator for about $300 to carry around with me which came in handy for some of our conversations.
    The Chinese women, a wonderful treat in life!

  6. Dennis Carman says:

    I didn’t see this before. It’s a testimony to my inability to navigate Facebook well and it’s a clue to my age. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Anyway briefly here are my experiences in getting paperwork together to get married to Lili.

    I used a company called Travisa. I told them what I was doing and they said no problem. I did however have this nagging thought in the back of my mind after I heard them say ” no problem”.

    There were problems. I sent the required divorce documents and they didn’t know how to handle it! It went from New York to Washington DC to New York. Cost me time and money for their lack of knowledge. I got my documents the day before I flew to China.

    When I got to China we discovered that documents for marriageability weren’t correct.

    So we decided to fly to Guangzhou in the early morning from Nanning. We finally got to the embassy and after a few questions I got the right spot and in about an hour I had my papers that were required. How easy was that? ๐Ÿ™‚ Cost $50 and that was it. Back to the airport and back to Nanning. We bought our return flight when we got to the airport . :))

    I think we had to get a few documents translated and that was no big deal. We walked around town and found a photography shot that did the pictures for us and 30 minutes later we walked out with the necessary pictures.

    From there my future brother in law, Wangqin brought us over to the government office to do the marriage certificate. We walked in were directed upstairs and gave them all the paperwork. About 45 minutes we each had our little red books with our pictures in hand and we took a few pictures and we went home. At that point I hadn’t realized that I had just become married to Lili. She didn’t tell me because she just assumed I knew. Two days later we went through the marriage ceremony which was really quite the pleasant experience. ( I still think the cigarette give away is a ploy to introduce people to smoking) lol.

    We didn’t sign any documents before or after the Ceremony. I asked Lili. She said we are already married! I did put two and two together and we laughed like crazy about it.

    So for us once in China it was easy.

    I do recall waiting at the US embassy and had to wait for this American. He was having a big problem getting the document that I would get right after he finally sat down.

    From listening to him plead with the man behind the glass, it sounded as though he had been with his girlfriend 2.5 years but they were not considering it a valid relationship. I don’t know why other that by his mannerism they may have decided they would simply not let a Chinese woman go back to the states with him. Those of us sitting and waiting I think were in silent agreement. But one thing he did over and over was to tell them , ” I am an American citizen, I have rights, you can’t do this to me!” He must have told them this perhaps 10 times during his half hour plead. He finally gave up. All of sitting there knew that with those comments he was completely dead in the water. I add this just as a note. He also did not dress for the occasion.

    After all this went on, I was getting worried. But I got up there and he asked a few questions and other formalities and I had my paperwork in about 3 or 4 minutes. BIG relief for me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    There those are my comments and I hope it gives you some insight.

    I will say this. As hot as it was in Nanning, I always dressed with long pants and a nice shirt. No beard, or anything that made me stand out. Other than being American I did my best to respect their customs and dress. I think it’s very important. It goes a long way in getting respect by giving respect.

    Dennis ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Very smart of you Dennis. Looks like keeping yourself calm and being respectful towards the Chinese culture went a long way. I hope you are well and happy living your new life together. You have good information to share with those people going through the same situation.
    Billiards Boy´s last blog post ..Former Billiard Champ Changes Nationality

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