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  • Getting Married in Japan...

    Ifm an Australian who will be marrying my Japanese fiancée in early March in Japan. We are currently trying to work out what documentation we will need to get married here and for me to obtain a working spouse visac

    If you are married to a Japanese national, I would really appreciate it, if you could tell me what the procedure was that you went through.


  • #2
    Re: Getting Married in Japan...

    The following website might handle this issue:


    • #3
      Re: Getting Married in Japan...

      I checked out that web site you mentioned and didn't find the answer that the man is looking for. Interesting site though. I like the concept but was not very impressed that a) I had to "register" to join a discussion thread (and couldn't find the link by which to do this), and 2) that about eight advertisement-filled browser windows were opened along the way. yech!

      To the man's question. Sukeberon, get your fiance to call the local ward office. I'm just speaking off the cuff, but I think all you have to do to be legally married is to fill in some forms down there. But then, as for getting your spouse visa, that may not be as straightforwrd as you think. I'm sure it's possible by marching into immigration with your marriage certificate, but you may actually find it a lot easier to do so from within another country, say like Australia for example. Seriously consider getting married in Australia and marching straight off to the J consulate with your wedding certificate and requesting a spouse visa. Then have your honeymoon at the Gold Coast/ Cairns/ Whitsundays/ Manjimup/ Warrnambool/ Mt Gambier/ Cunnamulla/ Pallemalawah- or wherever else takes your fancy, whilst waiting for the visa to be issued.

      When you get back to Japan, just go through the Ward office registration thingo and, if necessary, have another ceremony here. I think even for Japanese, nothing that legally registers the marriage actually takes place on the day of the 3 million yen wedding ceremony/reception - but I may be mistaken there.

      Anyway, just some suggestions.



      • #4
        Re: Getting Married in Japan...


        FIRST - You need to go to your Embassy to get an affidavit that you are indeed single and eligible to marry. Takes up to two weeks to obtain. Then a copy of your birth certificate and passport/gaijin card.

        Your embassy should have all the info you need. Don't waste your time with other worthless web sites.

        Then it's about a 10 minute job at the ward office, pick a lucky day though - tai-an, and not butsu-mutsu - your fiancee will know all about them.

        You might then wish to register your marriage at your embassy - for a small fee.

        For your visa, go to immigration with all the papers and it should be granted within a few weeks. They have lists of all visas and all documentation needed for each class - in Japanese of course.

        Congratulations and good luck

        Trip Hop


        • #5
          Re: Getting Married in Japan...

          Trip Hop,

          You are always so damn practical. Here I am trying to convince Cameron & his lucky fiance to have an exciting, romantic, adventurous whirlwind honeymoon, spending many 00k's of yen on airfares and hotels swanning around Australia, and you just plonk down this breathtakingly pragmatic "10 minutes at the ward office, 210 yen bus fare, two weeks for a visa" option- sheeesh!

          Whatever happened to romance, I ask you! Also, If they spend the 000's and get the wedding certificate spouse visa in Australia, that will save them going to the embassy for the affadavit. Isn't that a good idea!

          Anyway, Cameron, you've got two extremes to choose between mate, so fill your boots.


          • #6
            Re: Getting Married in Japan...

            Probably spend more time convincing the embassy/ immigration that it is a genuine certificate - like the bogus degrees! That is where practical comes in handy!

            Have the romantic honeymoon after the paperwork is done! There I bow to your romantic suggestion, though I wish Cameron would change his internet handle, bet his fiancee does not know about that!



            • #7
              Re: Getting Married in Japan...

              In our experience we have never had any problems getting genuine certificates accepted at face value. I think the only thing that could raise suspicion in this case is that the day after you get the certificate you are requesting a spouse visa. In this instance, immigration departments anywhere will possibly ask you to provide evidence of an established relationship - official documents with the same address, correspondence (love letters!), possibly even statements (affadavit?) from a doctor, minister of religion or whatever. But this sitaution could arise no matter where you apply, it will be the close proximity of the marriage date and the application that will arouse suspicion.

              In our case, we got married in Australia and chose to settle there, then had to wait about a year for my wife's permanent residency application to be accepted. We couldn't even get medicare for our first child because she was not yet a permanent resident. But don't get me started on that, it was a long time ago and I've managed to block it out.

              When we came to Japan last year, getting a spouse visa was exceptionally straight forward, but perhaps that was because the marriage union was clearly evident based on other documents and the smiling faces of my three strapping boys. I seem to recall that you have to nominate someone who can "support you" in Japan should you require it. Hopefully you will be getting married with the family's blessings and this won't be a problem.

              As for Cameron's handle? Yes, I tend to agree that the implications do not reflect particularly well on one about to commit himself for life to the one partner. Or did you and your fiance have other arrangements in mind, Cameron?



              • #8
                Re: Getting Married in Japan...

                Thanks for all the replies, the information has been very helpfulc But, I have some more questions for youc

                Ifm currently organising to get that gaffidavith you speak of. I think itfs called a gCertificate of No Impediment.h Ifm getting that and my birth certificate sent over from OZc

                My fiancee has explained to me that I may need to get the affidavit and birth certificate professionally translated into Japanese. Is that correct or will the original english versions be acceptable?

                I think I could run into problems with my application as I will be applying fairly soon after I sign the certificate. The reason being my current Working Holiday Visa runs out in late April and we are looking at signing the marriage certificate in the first week of March. Ifm not too worried about it though, as we have been going out for quite awhile, I have ample evidence to prove that is and will continue to be a genuine relationshipc

                My fiancee wants us to apply through a lawyer specialising in spouse visas, who will prepare everything and will assist us if there are any problems. What do you guys think about that?

                The other thing I would like to know is about health insurancec I think I have to pay into the National Scheme, is this correct? How much do I pay per month etc? I have been in Japan for 15 months, so do I have to back pay for that amount of time?

                Regarding the handle, that was a name she once branded me, after I made a sukebe comment.

                Thanks again,


                • #9
                  Re: Getting Married in Japan...


                  Hi there, I can't really advise on your situation because well, I'm doing the same thing (in March as well, coincidentally). Also, I'm an American so obviously there will be some differences. Also, I'm not now in Japan, and will enter on a standard tourist 90-day stamp in my passport.

                  However, my fiance has researched the process for probably the last year (!) and I thought it my be helpful to you (and others) to explain what we are planning as far as the different steps (of course always allowing that something might go wrong or beauracracy might take longer than we've been told or led to believe).

                  Step One) Day after arrival, go to the US Embassy and get the "Affidavit of Competency to Marry" (Konin Yoken Gubi Shomeisho in Japanese). According to the US Embassy web site (where we can download a pdf version of the form), I just show my US Passport and pay the $55 USD fee and they give me the form, no two weeks or anything of waiting, you get it right then and there. According to my fiance (and this I haven't been able to verify), they also provide a Japanese template of the form so we can translate it into Japanese (you have to ask for it). This may only be true of the US Embassy, not of any other. HOWEVER, your fiance can also translate this document into Japanese, there's no need to have a "professional" do it. The American form is very simple, I imagine the Australian one is basically the same thing, since remember this whole "competent to marry" business is a Japanese requirement, our respective countries could care a less.

                  Step Two) We will proceed to our local ward office (the ward or city office having jurisdiction over my fiance's place of residence in Japan). My fiance will have a form called the Kon-in Todoke which is basically the application form for the marriage license. To save time, we will already have this form filled out for the most part before we go to the office, as well as having the 2 witness signatures that are required (in my case, my fiance's parents). She will also have a certified copy of her family register (Koseki Tohon), which will prove that she is single and "competent to marry".

                  Step Three) At the same office, on the same day (barring any paperwork problems), will will then get what's called a Kon-in Todoke Juri Shomeisho, which is basically a temporary marriage license (in English I believe it's called a "Certificate of Acceptance of Notification of Marriage"). It costs 350 yen, although I believe a more "ornate" version is available for 1400 yen (can't speak for what the difference is). They will keep your wife's family's Koseki Tohon so they can make a new Koseki for her (with you listed on there as well). From what my fiance has read, it usually takes 2 weeks to 1 month for her to get her new koseki.

                  Step Four) On the same day, at the same office (again assuming we have not run into any problems so far), I will apply for my Alien Registration Card, which entails me filling out an application (available there), showing my passport, and having 2 passport-type photos. It will take about 2-3 weeks to get the actual card, so in the meantime they will give me a temporary card (actually a piece of paper) called Gaikokujin Touroku Shomeisho Kouhu Yotei Kikan ____eisho, which I'll need for the spousal visa application process.

                  Step Five) Soon thereafter (and if I haven't already gone postal in the face of Ward Office beauracracy, we'll do it the next day), I will file an Application for Change of Status of Residence form (in other words, a spousal visa), and then we wait for the Visa to show up in the mail. Of course there's no definite time given as to how long it will take to be approved, but we hope we'll get it before my 3 months are up (that's why we're doing all of the above the day after we arrive in Japan). We're hoping because I'm an American, because we've been together for 5 years, have plenty of evidence of our relationship, that it won't take 3 months to get the visa. We're reasonably confident that it won't take the 3 months, and we'll be keeping in close contact with the authorities to make sure it doesn't, and that if there is anything "missing" from the application, that we get it to them right away. My fiance seems to think I won't be in danger of overstaying my visa, but I will be prepared to high-tail it to Korea or somewhere just in case the process takes longer.

                  We are NOT going to use a lawyer. Obviously I can't say what you and your fiance should do but I personally don't think it's necessary. However, your case is obviously complicated by the fact that your visa expires in late April and you won't be starting the paperwork process until whenever you are getting married in March. I would think that's cutting it a bit close (we're allowing the full 90 days for my application and even then we still are not sure it will go through in that time). Whether having a lawyer will help grease the wheels of Japanese beauracracy, I can't say. I can also add, distateful as it is, that if you're white then you'll have less problems.

                  I'm not really clear on what you think the problem might be when you said "I think I could run into problems with my application as I will be applying fairly soon after I sign the certificate." What certificate, the "competency" one? To me it seems fairly straightforward. To get married, you need that certificate. You take that certificate plus all the other stuff and you get married. Obviously once you're married you'll want to change your status, and why wait around to do that (esp. since in your case you don't have much time to spare). Of course, immigration could look at your impending Visa expiration and think you're just trying to find a way of staying in the country, but as long as you have backup documentation regarding your relationship, there shouldn't be any problem (except the time issue mentioned above).

                  Also, remember that when you apply for the Spousal visa, you're going to need a letter of guarantee by a person living in Japan (in other word's, a sponsor). If your fiance is working (with steady job, steady pay, etc), I believe she can sponsor you. In my case, my fiance's father will be sponsoring me.

                  Here are some links that might be of use:

                  US Embassy (obviously specific to my case, but I think it explains process fairly well; you might check to see if the Australian embassy has similar info):

                  Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Visa page

                  Patanouchi (for your fiance, and you too if you can read Japanese, this site is mainly for Nihonjin involved with gaijin overseas, but there's a good section on Marriage and the procedures involved with respect to getting married in Japan):

                  Despite this post, I'm still very anxious about all this stuff and would also appreciate any feedback from others on things to be aware of with respect to this process.

                  who hears the words "sukebe oyaji" all too much from his fiance


                  • #10
                    Re: Getting Married in Japan...

                    dude I am sure he was Australian.
                    So why go to the . . .
                    You don't need the lawyer. dont waste the big money.
                    If it is a genuine relationship you wont have a problem.
                    Like trip-Hop san says, you get the Affidavit translation from your home country embassy or consulate. then go to your local municipal office and register, congratulations you are now the head of your household. Then take the documents to the local immigration office. Dont worry if it is right after you got married thats normal. Best thing is if you have pictures with your sweety that somehow indicate how long you have been together, we had pictures from NewYEARS 99-2000. that got a big smile from the officer (the silly hats)
                    It takes a month to get your visa, but you get a stamp says you can stay in the meantime.
                    Good luck.


                    • #11
                      Re: Getting Married in Japan...

                      oh yes it just says spouse, but it means you can work.

                      probably you are all done now anyway and enjoying marital bliss, Ya?


                      • #12
                        Re: Getting Married in Japan...

                        Cameron, The "No Impediment To Marriage" certificate takes about 30 minutes to get from the Australian Embassy. The downside is it costs \7,500. The other important documentation you'll need is your wifes/fiances "Koseki Touhon" (family history) that is less than 6 months old. Mate, I've just gone through this whole rigmaroll and should have my spouse visa within the next weeks or so,
                        Cheers and VB all the way!!


                        • #13
                          Re: Getting Married in Japan...

                          For any Americans reading this thread, I completed steps 1 thru 4 of my above post today, re:

                          Step 1, getting the "Affidavit of Competency to Marry" (Konin Yoken Gubi Shomeisho in Japanese). Took a total of 20 minutes to get this from the US embassy, and indeed the $55 USD (sheesh!). My wife was given a Japanese version of the form I had to fill out, in Japanese, along with a sample (again in Japanese), so she could do the "translation". As expected, no need to get a "professional" to do it.

                          Step 3, fairly cut-and-dried, though there was some confusion about how to incorporate my middle name into the paperwork (and official record). Also, my wife had to translate both the main page of my passport, as well as my birth certificate, into Japanese. However, other than a LOT of writing on my wife`s part, not too much trouble (we were fortunate as well to have a nice clerk helping us). Regarding the new Koseki Tohon, they told us the new one would be ready next Wednesday, making it 7 days that it takes to get that.

                          We will now wait until we get that new Koseki Tohon before we submit the spouse visa application.