Getting married in China: The paperwork in Finland

chinese marriage certificateOur quest for Chinese marriage certificates

Me and my Chinese fiance are getting married in China this Spring. We will get out marriage certificates on Valentine’s Day (if everything goes as planned) and have a Wedding party in the beginning of May. Getting married abroad to a foreigner means there is paperwork to be done. I have now luckily finished the first step and got my papers in order here in Finland.

The first thing was to get a Certificate of capacity under Finnish law to contract marriage before a foreign authority. It takes a week to get this documents which is in Finnish, Swedish, English and German. You get this document from the Local Register Office and with 11 euros they will notarize it as well.

Next seal has to come from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland which will certify the Local Register Office’s signature and seal. As I was running out of time, my plane leaving next Tuesday I decided to go to Helsinki my self to get the seals from both the ministry and the Chinese Embassy.

I took a 5.35am bus to Helsinki from my hometown and arrived early to get some breakfast and tea before taking a tram to the ministry. I was the second in line and got my document legalized in ten minutes.

Next I took the tram back to the city center and changed to a metro to Kulosaari. It was easy to find the Chinese Embassy with Google Maps downloaded the day before to my iPhone. As I have always gotten my visas through an agency, this was the first time I visited the embassy my self. Nothing special really, but it was nice to see other Finns going to China and even hear some of their stories.

It wasn’t possible to get the final seal to my document right away, instead I had to wait until the next morning. When I went back I noticed that they had written the wrong date on the paper and the legalization wasn’t done when I arrived. Luckily I got it after waiting for half and hour or so. The man behind the glass even congratulated me for getting married!

Getting the paperwork done in Finland was quite easy and straightforward:

  1. Certificate from the Local Register Office with a notarization signature and seal (11 euros)
  2. Legalization signature and seal from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (20 euros)
  3. Legalization signature and seal from the Chinese Embassy (43 euros for next day rush service)

It’s always important to check your own embassy, consulate or other office what kind of paperwork you need to get married abroad. Also remember to check the “marriage office” in China where you plan to get your marriage certificates as well. The correct paperwork always depends on your own nationality and the city you will get married in.

The next step for us is to get our documents and papers to the marriage office few days before The Day. Then on Valentine’s Day I will go there first to get our waiting number and my fiance will hopefully arrive on time from his business trip.

I have already planned a surprise for my fiance on Valentine’s Day, but our Wedding in May still needs a lot planning and mediating with the parents before everything is perfect.

I would love to write more about the Wedding planning, would you be interested in reading about it?