How to Get Married Online in China (Step-by-Step Guide)

February 2, 2023
8 min

As technology continues to shape various aspects of our lives, the process of getting married has also embraced digital alternatives. China, a country at the forefront of technological advancements, offers the option of online marriage.

In this article, we will present a comprehensive overview of the steps one needs to take to get married in China. We will cover the process of registering a marriage and explore the different options available for couples.

Fastest Way to Get Married in China

The fastest way to get married in China is to get married online. The process is fairly simple and can be completed from anywhere in the world. To get married online, you will need to apply for an online marriage certificate and pay the online application fee. You would also need to provide your driver’s license or passport for proof that both parties are over 18 years old.

Couples using Courtly have the convenience of completing the entire procedure online, regardless of their location. The process is straightforward and smooth, typically requiring less than 24 hours to obtain a valid marriage certificate recognized in the United States.

A Green and Gray Concrete Building Near Body of Water

The Legality of Online Marriages in China

In China, the current regulation mandates the physical presence of individuals to register their marriage. This means that couples must be physically present at the designated location to complete the marriage registration process.

While online marriages are not facilitated in China due to the requirement for in-person registration, it is worth noting that couples have the option to pursue an online marriage process through platforms like Courtly. This includes obtaining a valid US marriage certificate that is legally recognized within the United States. 

Acquiring a US marriage certificate holds significance as it serves as official proof of marriage. This document carries legal weight within the United States and can be used for various purposes, including immigration, obtaining spousal benefits, and other legal matters. 

However, it is important to note that the recognition of a US marriage certificate outside of the United States depends on the regulations and requirements of the specific country in question, such as China's requirement for in-person registration.

Need for Registration of Online Marriages in China

The registration of online marriage in China is currently considered optional. Since online marriages are not officially facilitated in China, couples who choose to undergo an online marriage process may not be required to register their marriage with the local authorities.

In situations where couples wish to have their online marriage recognized in China or require legal validity, it is advisable to consult local authorities or legal professionals for guidance. They can provide information on the specific documentation and procedures required for authentication purposes. This may involve submitting the marriage certificate obtained through the online process, along with any additional documentation requested by the relevant authorities.

Due to the complex nature of legal requirements and the evolving regulations surrounding online marriages in China, it is strongly recommended that couples seek guidance from officials or legal professionals for a comprehensive understanding of the specific steps and procedures involved. These experts can provide up-to-date information and offer clarification based on the individual circumstances of each couple.

Understanding Online Marriage Authentication in China

An apostille is an internationally recognized form of authentication that verifies the authenticity of a document. It simplifies the process of document authentication for international use. 

China has officially acceded to the Apostille Convention. It officially went into effect on November 7, 2023. Now, the use of apostilles is allowed in China, and it significantly reduces the time and costs associated with document authentication. It is important to note that the Convention will also apply in Hong Kong and Macao. Prior to the implementation of the Apostille Convention, the traditional legalization process was required for documents used in China.

Step-by-Step Process to Get Married Online in China

1. Sign up and create an account.

Joining Courtly to get married online is incredibly simple. Just click on the "Get Married" icon located in the top right corner of the website and follow the on-screen instructions. Once you've created your account, you'll have immediate access to it.

2. Customize your ceremony format, setting, and officiant.

Now it's time to make choices! Select a venue and ceremony style that best suits your preferences. Depending on your chosen date and time, we will assign you one of Courtly's legally qualified officiants in the United States.

4. Confirm your wedding package by making a payment.

After selecting your desired wedding package, proceed to make the payment. Keep an eye out for Courtly's confirmation email, which will be sent to you once the payment is processed. The sweet sound of wedding bells will be just around the corner! For complete information on our available wedding packages and add-ons, please check our Pricing Page.

5. Share your special day with family and friends online.

Finally, celebrate your marriage by tying the knot online, whether you're at home or any other location with a reliable internet connection. The ceremony itself will typically take approximately 15 minutes to complete.

Enjoy the joyous occasion with your loved ones virtually, as they join you to commemorate this momentous event in your lives.

couple getting married remotely with a licensed officiant via zoom

After your online wedding ceremony with Courtly, you will receive an electronic version of your U.S. marriage certificate right away. In addition, a physical copy of the certificate will be mailed to you within a few business days. Shortly after the wedding, you will also have the option to download a digital copy of your marriage license for your records.

Cost of Online Marriage in China

A traditional wedding in China can indeed be costly, involving various expenses such as the marriage license fee, ceremony expenses, venue rental, decorations, catering, and more.

On the other hand, opting for an online wedding can be a more cost-effective choice. Courtly offers comprehensive packages that include all the necessary components for a successful online marriage. For a fee of ¥3,399, you can avail yourself of their services, which encompass a valid marriage license, an online ceremony, and a legally recognized US marriage certificate. 

These packages provide an efficient and convenient way to tie the knot without the need for extensive planning and costly arrangements associated with traditional weddings.

It is important to note that Courtly may offer additional services, such as apostille stamps or witness arrangements, which may incur extra fees.

Traditional Marriage Process in China

In China, the process of getting married usually involves the mutual consent of both partners, meeting the age and capacity requirements, and completing the marriage registration with the local civil affairs bureau. This typically requires submitting the necessary documents and undergoing a health check.

Getting married is a significant and exciting decision for couples, but the traditional process of registering a marriage in China can be complex and time-consuming. However, with online marriage, couples can simplify and expedite their wedding process. They offer a convenient and efficient way to get married by providing access to a team of experts who will assist couples throughout the entire process. 

Advantages of Online Marriages in China

One of the advantages of online marriages in China, particularly through services like Courtly, is the validity of the US marriage certificate that couples receive. A US marriage certificate holds international recognition and can serve as proof of marriage in various legal and administrative matters, both domestically and internationally. This provides couples with an added level of assurance and convenience, as their marriage is officially recognized beyond the borders of China. 

The validity of the US marriage certificate obtained through Courtly's online marriage process adds an element of credibility and convenience for couples who may have international ties or plans that require the recognition of their marital status outside of China.

How Immigration Officials View Online Marriages

When it comes to how online marriages are treated by immigration officials, it's essential to understand that policies can vary widely. Online marriages through platforms like Courtly result in a valid US marriage certificate issued by Utah County, which is recognized by US immigration officials, provided it complies with federal and state laws. For more on this topic, we recommend reading our article on online marriage acceptance by US immigration authorities.

Outside of the US, the online marriage certificate may be treated differently. While many countries accept marriages performed legally in another country, some immigration officials may view an online marriage as less authentic. Demonstrating the authenticity of your relationship is a key aspect of any spouse visa application.

The acceptance of virtual weddings by international immigration authorities is subject to change and may depend on specific circumstances and jurisdictions. Given the complexities and variations in immigration laws, we strongly recommend consulting with an immigration attorney to get accurate and up-to-date advice tailored to your situation. This ensures you understand the legal status of your online marriage and any additional documentation required for recognition.

Remember, Courtly provides a convenient way to get married, but we cannot offer legal advice on immigration matters. Always check with legal professionals or relevant authorities in your jurisdiction for the most accurate information.


Online marriages offer several advantages for couples in China. These advantages include a simplified and streamlined process, convenience, and time-saving benefits. Couples can experience the significance and excitement of getting married while enjoying the efficiency and accessibility of online marriage services. 

Additionally, the validity of the US marriage certificate obtained through platforms like Courtly provides couples with international recognition and credibility, which can be valuable for various legal and administrative purposes. Overall, online marriages offer a modern and convenient alternative for couples seeking a cost-effective and efficient way to tie the knot while still celebrating the significance of their union.

Let us handle the paperwork.

Getting married is complicated. Courtly simplifies the process and provides everything necessary to get married online, including providing a licensed officiant who can perform a remote ceremony.

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