Shanghai warns against overseas weddings

As a Shanghai travel agency began promoting mainland wedding package tours to the United States, authorities warned such overseas marriages do not count under Chinese law.

Meichen Travel offers a nine-day trip to New York City at 25,000 yuan ($3,867) a person.

The tour includes fees for obtaining a marriage certificate, a candlelit dinner at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel and a romantic tour of Washington DC and Philadelphia.

They had received many enquires from couples, said a tour guide from the agency who refused to be fully named.

“The package tour is designed for those who want to have their wedding and honeymoon overseas,” he told the Global Times on Sunday. 

The first tour will leave Shanghai on October 4. Saipan in the West Pacific, Bali in Indonesia and Okinawa in Japan are also popular destinations for overseas weddings, he said.

An overseas marriage certificate is not recognized on the Chinese mainland, Zhou Jixiang, Shanghai Municipal Civil Affairs Bureau director of marriage registration told the Global Times.

“Chinese mainland citizens must obtain a marriage certificate in their hometowns or the married couple will not receive benefits from the government,” he said. “To gain official recognition from the civil affairs bureau, couples need to register again in their local marriage registration centers.”

Couples who get married abroad can obtain a confirmation letter from the Chinese embassy and go to the marriage registration office for a certificate when they come to China.

People who get married abroad should be careful as they become bound by overseas marital law, Wu Dong, a Shanghai-based lawyer from M&A Law Firm, told the Global Times.

“For example, when couples who are married in the United States want a divorce, they are required to split their property 50-50 if they did not sign a prenup,” Wu said.

“It’s important that they check the legal details carefully before they choose an overseas marriage destination.”

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