Did you know it’s possible to get married in Japan without even stepping foot in the country once?
Unlike many other countries, marriage in Japan is not legalized by having a ceremony in front of a celibate, but by registering your marriage at the town hall the Japanese partner was born in.
This makes it both simple and cheap to get married in Japan, assuming you don’t want a big fancy wedding. And as a foreigner to Japan, what you actually need to do is very little. This is a little guide or what you need to do based on the UK-Japanese procedure.
What YOU, the foreigner needs:
Residing outside of Japan: a certificate on non-impediment.
Residing in Japan: an affirmation of marriage or an affidavit or marriage.
Translation of certificate of non-impediment (CNI)/affirmation of marriage.
To sign/fill in the application of marriage form. (Kon-in Todoke)
Translation of your passport.
What your PARTNER, the Japanese national needs:
To get the application of marriage form from the town hall where the partner was born.
To sign/fill in the application of marriage form (Kon-in Todoke), with the signatures of two witnesses.
If you haven’t researched this yet, you might be thinking “what the hell are all these documents”?! Here is a quick explanation for each.
Certificate of non-impendiment (UK): A certificate from the town hall you are residing at in the UK. It is basically the certificated version of the 28 day waiting period one is required to wait before one can be legally married in the UK.
Affirmation of Marriage: A non-religious document that shows you swore an oath stating that there is no legal reason you cannot get married. This can be got from the UK embassy in Tokyo.
Affidavit of marriage: A religious document that shows you swore an oath stating that there is no legal reason you cannot get married. This can be got from the UK embassy in Tokyo.
Application of marriage (Kon-in Todoke): A form that needs to be filled and signed by you, your partner and two witnesses. This application form is best gotten from the government office your partner’s family is registered. If you register the marriage at a different government office, you will need to get a family register document (koseki tohon).
Translation of CNI/affirmation/affidavit/passport: This does not need to be done by a professional, but it is best to do it as accurately as possible. Those with Japanese ability or partners with English ability can do it. If you’re worried about making mistakes, then I offer a value translation service to ensure that a little mistake somewhere does cause you to waste weeks of your time. When you’ve finished the translations, don’t forget to date and sign it.
Under most circumstances, this will be all you need. To get all the mentioned documents, it is easier to be residing in Japan on a long-term visa, but if you have your partner in Japan or some helpful relatives of your partner, then it is possible to get married while being outside of the country.
It may sound complicated at first, but it’s quite simple compared to many other countries. I would recommend leaving most of the work to your Japanese partner, who should ring the government office/town hall where they were born, and directly find out the list of documents required.