Route Guide for Hong Kong Wedding Paperwork

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I do (not know where to go). That would be the worst thing.

Months before you say your wedding vows in Hong Kong, your paperwork have already started. If you are both foreigners, then you both need at least five types of documents which you will be sending by mail to the Marriage Registration Office at Queensway. Should there be no problem with these documents, you will soon receive your wedding schedule through an email. When the schedule given is agreeable to you, then, have this email printed as you will need this for your first official wedding paperwork in Hong Kong.

Now that you are in Hong Kong, you have to physically navigate the offices. And yep, if it is the first time you set foot in the former British territory, it isn’t really as easy as cake, so it is advised that you prepare your trip’s itinerary.  Regardless of your budget, it is wise to consider your hotel‘s accessibility to public transportation and its proximity to places you should see.

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Though Hong Kong is generous with its road signages, it can get quite confusing too. Here’s how to get to the government offices in Hong Kong for your paperwork. Our point of origin is Golden Crown Guesthouse in Tsim Sha Tsui.

Commuting to the offices

*** The Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station Exit D1 is just beside Golden Crown, so take advantage of this. Take the Tsuen Wan (Red Line) going to Admiralty or Central and back to your hotel. 

 

After you arrive, the first stop for your Hong Kong wedding is the Marriage Registration Office at Queensway Government Offices for your administration of oath.

  • Tsim Sha Tsui to Admiralty Station Exit C1
  • Estimated time: (10 mins)

 

The second time you will have to go to a Hong Kong government office is on your wedding day. If you are tying the knot at Hong Kong City Hall, follow this route.

*** Be sure to allot ample time by going to the registry at least an hour before the scheduled ceremony.

  • Tsim Sha Tsui to MTR Central Station – Exit K
  • City Hall is only about 5 mins walk from exit K* of Central Station.
  • You’ll emerge from exit K* at Statue Square. Do a “U-Turn” on emerging (towards the harbour) and take the subway under Connaught Road which leads to Edinburgh Place.
  • City Hall is on the right on the other side of the multi-storey car park.

Alternately, you can take a taxi from Kowloon to save yourself the hassle of finding the place. 

  • From Golden Crown, cross the street towards Hankow Street (2 blocks away) and look for this Taxi stand: (These taxis here will only charge you a single-way toll fee)

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After your wedding, you can either decide to treat your witnesses to a meal or give them some tip and go directly to the Philippine Consulate in Queensway. If you choose the later, then you can go this way:

City Hall to Philippine Consulate

  • Walk about 7 min , 350 m
  • Head west toward Edinburgh Place
  • Take the pedestrian tunnel stairs
  • Take the stairs
  • Turn left onto Des Voeux Rd Central
  • Go to Bank Street
  • Take Tram route Western Market – Shau Kei Wan 4 min (2 stops)
  • Get off at Admiralty MTR Station
  • Head towards Philippine Consulate (United Centre, 14th Floor, 95 Queensway)

Again, if you wish to have it swift, you can hail a taxi.

Luckily, my friend accompanied us during our wedding ceremony and she took the lead to the nearest station MTR Station. We also treated our witnesses to a meal at Delifrance, a small restaurant located at the World Wide House Building. Find a Pinay around the City Hall to lead you here. You can take the train from this spot as the MTR station is located under the building.

If you wish to go directly to the Consulate and later have a meal near Golden Crown, head to Ashley Street (3 Blocks away) via Hankow Street, and look for Weinstube, a German Bar and Restaurant.  This is our favorite place to eat and drink in Kowloon. (Will post about this separately).

So, after you are done with your paperwork at Queensway, you can now have a little freetime for a honeymoon and sightseeing. To go back to Golden Crown, get to the MTR right in front of the Philippine Consulate and take the train from

  • Admiralty Station to Tsim Sha Tsui Exit D1

The next day, you can go to the High Court for your Apostille stamp or pick up your Report of Marriage (ROM) at the Philippine Consulate

  • Tsim Sha Tsui to Admiralty Station Exit C1 (20 mins).
  • It is located past right of Queensway Government Offices

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Tadaaaaaaaaaa! Seems like you are done with the paperwork! You can now wait for 3 to 4 months before your ROM is available at PSA. By then, you can start your process for your FRV to Germany! 

Congratulations! ❤

Getting Married in Hong Kong: Where to Stay

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Documents sent.

Schedule of the Ceremony finalized.

Flight tickets booked.

The next question is, where to stay in Hong Kong?

Hong Kong isn’t a cheap place to go.  The fact that it is one of the most densely populated places in the world, the competition for space isn’t something that needs further elaboration.

Since I have written the first blog post dedicated to getting married in Hong Kong some time ago, the blog’s contact form and my Facebook got flooded with questions on itinerary, documents, Apostille, budget, and so on… The list can get longer.

I noticed, however, that most young couples like us  are more eager to find a more affordable accommodation in the concrete jungle, so I felt quite obliged to write about it. At least, I don’t have to answer the same question individually.

So, are there enough choices for a cheaper stay?

There are numerous hotels, guesthouses and bed and breakfast in Hong Kong, specifically in Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) are. We opted to stay in this area as its location is perfect for our trip’s purpose. It is also in proximity to other Hong Kong attractions and public transportation like buses and MTR.

As you search for “cheap accommodations in Hong Kong” online, you will find out that there are way too much choices for a cheap stay and mostly they are in the Mirador  or Chungking Mansion. After reading a lot of reviews like bedbugs, no hot shower, difficult to find, cockroaches, smelly beddings, crowded elevator to line up for, etc, I was able to convince mein Mann that we  pay a little more for a better place.

And so we booked room at Golden Crown Guesthouse at Tsim Sha Tsui.

Booking is easy.  To get the best deal, you have to reserve a room directly through their website.  You have 24 hours to confirm your reservation.  We paid the HKD500 as reservation fee via PayPal and received our booking reservation thereafter. You can also access your account  on their website to check the status of your booking at anytime.

Don’t forget to print your confirmed reservation as you need to show this during your immigration check. (You know, it can get really crappy in the border control counters) In our case, since I arrived a day early, the reservation was named for both of us.

Due to the very good reviews in TripAdvisor and Booking.com, Golden Crown Guesthouse runs out of rooms specially on peak season!

 

Room and Inclusions

We chose a Renovated Couple Room and asked for the one with a window. 🙂

It has a comfortable double bed, an air conditioner and a fan, a television, a telephone, a small desk, cups, free hot and cold drinking water (yep,it is actually expensive in Hong Kong) and free wi-fi.

Our room was great! It fact, it was spotless. The sheets, the tiled floors and the bathroom were all clean. The ensuite bathroom is surprisingly spacious with a glass enclosure that separates the hot and cold shower area from the toilet bowl and sink area (unlike those of other cheaper guesthouses in the area). Towels were changed everyday, toiletries, hangers, a mirror and a hairdryer, and extension wires with round plug adapters  were also provided.

Thanks to Ate who took extra care of us!

Location

5th Floor, Golden Crown Court, 66-70 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

It is in the middle of three Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Station exits which makes it really convenient to go to and from Central or Admiralty where you will be doing all the paperwork for your wedding.

You can also save time for sightseeing as it takes only around 10-15 minutes to reach the Avenue of Stars (currently closed as it is under renovation),

It takes around 10-15 minutes to the TST Ferry Terminal where you can take the ferry ride to Central and Admiralty at a much cheaper fare, and of course, shops are everywhere!

Accessibility

The most convenient (and cheapest)  way is to reach Golden Crown from Hong Kong International Airport is to ride the A21 bus with the use your Octopus card (Fare: 33 HKD). Just go to the Bus Terminus and look for the signage of A21 buses going to TST. Hong Kong is very generous when it comes to signages so it is impossible to get lost! (Believe me, it was my first time in Hong Kong and I rode the bus alone without any problems).

It would take around an hour to reach the guesthouse. Nathan Road stretches through a lot of streets, but don’t forget to get off the bus at Cameron Road (the 13th stop). And oh, stops are flashed on the screen, so you shouldn’t miss it. Be sure to push the STOP button as soon as the bus leaves the 12th stop or the driver will not halt at the next bus stop.

You will receive this map together with your confirmation receipt.

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Yep, we get it, too. Of course it would really be great to be able to splurge on luxurious hotels but it’s too impractical. I mean, we are just starting our lives together and we don’t like to begin it with a credit. Do I need to mention that even the most basic of hotels in Hong Kong are also expensive? I bet if you already did some hotel hunting, you get the feel of how it can really be strangely costly.

Getting an Apostille for your Marriage Certificate in Hong Kong

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We now have the marriage certificate duly signed by us, the witnesses and the registrar of marriages, and has reported the same to the Philippine Consulate.

Are we now legally married?

In Hong Kong, yes.

In the Philippines, in three months.

In Germany, not until your husband has reported the marriage to his home city using your marriage certificate with an Apostille stamp.

 

You are done with the wedding vows and has reported your marriage to the Philippine Consulate General in Queensway, so it is just right to now bring your marriage certificate to the High Court located just beside the Queensway Government Offices where you signed the papers and received your formal appointment  for the ceremony.

Here’s what you have to do as soon as you find your way to the High Court.

  1. Proceed to the Apostille Service Office, High Court Registry at Room LG115.
  2. In case you don’t want to wait for 2 more days to get the apostille and wishes to have it mailed to you instead, inform the “lady” at the Apostille Window. You will have to pay and additional amount. (For breakdown of expenses in Hong Kong, read our other post. Click click)
  3. Wait for the payment slip from the staff by the Apostille window. (Mein Mann call this old, grumpy woman, THE WITCH. Find out for yourself. 😀 )18597157_10208887495010764_543189674_o
  4. Bring the slip to the High Court Accounts Office at LG211 and get your official receipt.
  5. Go back to LG115 and present your receipt.
  6. Submit your document for Apostille and take note of the tracking number for your document and the email address of the office for follow-up (if you opt to have this sent to you by mail).
  7. And, oh… don’t be worried about not getting a piece of paper as a proof you left an important document for the Apostille stamp. Hong Kong delivers the service as expected. 😉 Mein Mann received our original marriage certificate with the Apostille exactly one week after we submitted it at the High Court Registry.

If you have specific inquiries about getting an Apostille for your document, you can send them an email at:

apostilleserviceenquiry@judiciary.gov.hk

or

enquiry@judiciary.gov.hk

 

If you are considering getting married in Hong Kong, you can check previous entries on the blog dedicated to answer queries on documents required to marry, the possible itinerary, and the budget you need to have it done.

 

Happy planning!

 

 

Reporting Your Marriage to the Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong

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We’re married. That’s it. Why must we report our marriage to the Philippine Consulate?

If this has ever crossed your mind at once, please try to think of this: UNREPORTED MARRIAGES OUTSIDE THE PHILIPPINES WILL NOT BE RECOGNIZED. Unless you both just want to do it like they do in Las Vegas, that “just for fun and you can change your mind tomorrow” thing, then you might as well do so as you pleased.

According to the Office of the Solicitor General of the Philippines:

“A marriage where one or both of the contracting parties is a Filipino citizen must be reported to the Consulate in order for the said marriage to be properly registered and recorded with the Office of the Civil Registrar General in Manila.”

Why report your marriage? It is as simple as:

NO ROM = NO MARRIED STATUS + NO PSA COPY OF ROM & CEMAR + NO VISA APPLICATION

And so you are done with the paperwork at the Hong Kong City Hall Marriage Registry or the Cotton Tree Drive Marriage Registry. What’s the next step? After you have treated your two witnesses to a meal, you might as well proceed to the Philippine Consulate General’s Office located at the 14th floor of the United Centre in Queensway.

For a smooth transaction, prepare the ORIGINAL AND THREE PHOTOCOPIES of the following beforehand: (Don’t worry, they will return the original documents to you right away. It is only for verification.)

  1. Duly accomplished Report of Marriage Forms in 4 original copies (signatures must be original). This can be downloaded from the Philippine Consulate’s website. Be sure the information you reflected here is the same with what appears on your marriage certificate from Hong Kong.  (You can also ask for the ROM form at the Philippine Consulate’s Civil Registry Office. You can fill out just one form and have three copies but your signatures must be original.)
  2. The couple’s passports.
  3. Original NSO/PSA copy of the wife’s Birth Certificate in security paper (SECPA) and three copies of this. Note that the authenticated PSA/NSO certificates mentioned here are those issued by the PSA/NSO in security paper.
    • In case the Filipino spouse is a widow or widower: PSA/NSO Death Certificate of Previous spouse, and PSA/NSO Authenticated Marriage Contract
    • If previous marriage was annulled: PSA/NSO authenticated Marriage Contract with annotation on annulment and Court decree on Annulment duly authenticated by the DFA. 
    • If with divorce initiated by foreign spouse: PSA/NSO Authenticated Marriage Contract with annotation on Divorce of previous marriage, and Court Order issued Philippine Court recognizing the Divorce obtained abroad
  4. Marriage Certificate from Hong Kong Marriage Registry.
  5. CENOMAR (Certificate of No Marriage) of the Filipina wife.

Also be aware of the working days observed by the Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong:

SUNDAY TO THURSDAY – 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

18516754_10208860286810576_824933056_oThe processing fee of the Report is HK$200.00, and processing period is two working days.  The express processing fee is one working day (next working day) but you have to pay an express fee of HK$80.00.  No appointment is needed, you can walk in.
What we did to save the time was report the marriage on a Thursday after the wedding and a meal with our witnesses. For our itinerary, check out the previous post. 
Once you report your marriage to the Consulate, they will forward the same to the Philippines on the first week of the next month.  So, since we got married on the third week of April, our record was forwarded to the Philippines on the first week of May. We can then obtain the authenticated copy of the Report of Marriage from the Philippine Statistics Authority/National Statistics Office in 2 to 3 months.
In case you were not be able to report your marriage in person before the Consulate, you may still submit your application for Report of Marriage with the Office of Consular Affairs of the Department of Foreign Affairs at ASEANA Business Park (near MOA) for transmittal to Hong Kong SAR. The waiting period, however, to get an authenticated copy of the Report will be longer– 4 to 6 months.  For sure, as much as possible, you wanted to avoid further delays, right? So,it is wise to report it to the Consulate immediately.
Of course, the reason you considered getting married in Hong Kong is the fact that it is one of the quickest way to get the papers done and apply for the Family Reunion Visa.
It is worth to consider that the German Embassy NO LONGER ACCEPT REPORT OF MARRIAGE FOR FAMILY REUNION VISA APPLICATION. We have to wait for the ROM copy to be available from PSA.
If you are interested in Getting Married in Hong Kong, check out the list of documents you needed on the previous post.  You can also start saving for the wedding in Hong Kong with the sample budget in the previous post. 
Don’t know where to begin with the process?  Click here to see how. 

How Much Does a Hong Kong Wedding Cost?

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“Til debt do we part”

Hong Kong wedding vows can be something that sound that way. This is not a far cry from how much couples would usually spend for the celebration as grand as they can afford, or maybe show. A Hong Kong wedding can cost more than HK$300,000 or around 1.2 million pesos on average.

But, that is not what we are aiming for! For us who are more practical, Hong Kong makes our “go small on the big day” possible.

Yep, you read it right! You can marry in Hong Kong without “really” breaking the bank. Well, kind of… but it can compensate avoiding all the troubles of an intricate paperwork and processes that would almost cost the same if you do it in the Philippines.

How much do you need for a wedding  in Hong Kong?

The following reflects the expenses that you will incur when you decide to tie the knot in the former British territory. Please bear in mind that we listed only the minimum amount for the wedding and all activities related to it based on our experience. (There are some other personal activities we did that cost us extra and it is not reflected here.)  

 

 – TRANSPORTATION, HOTEL & FOOD – TOTAL (PHP)
Roundtrip Airfare (PH to HK)            17,935.71
           checked-in luggage              1,200.00
Guesthouse (10 days)            20,355.45
Food (minimum spending, mostly if you would go to fastfood or buy at the local supermarket)            25,000.00
Airport to Tsim Sha Tsui (fare depends which area you will stay)
A21 Bus HK$ 33.00 (4) – 855.00                855.00
* Alternative transportation available: *HKS240 for taxi (one way) HK$ 240.00 (4x) – 6,216.00
*HK$ 90 for Airport Exp HK$ 90.00 (4x)
Tsim Sha Tsui to Admiralty ( Queensway) HK$ 9.40 (4x)                246.00
Tsim Sha Tsui to Admiralty (to City Hall ) HK$ 9.40 (4x)                246.00
City Hall to Phil Consulate
    via tram HK$ 2.30 (2)                  30.00
Admiralty to Tsim Sha Tsui HK$ 9.40 (2)                123.00
– PAPERS –
Application to HK HK$ 305.00             1,906.00
Wedding Ceremony HK$ 715.00             4,647.50
Wedding Certificate  (1 certified copy) HK$ 280/copy             3,640.00
Apostille stamp HK$ 125.00/seal                815.00
Registered mail for Apostille HK$ 15.50                105.00
Report of Marriage Processing (Phil. Emb) HK$ 200.00             1,300.00
Expedite fee HK$ 80.00                520.00
– EXTRAS –
Witness (food and some amount)             4,000.00
PROJECTED EXPENSES          80,163.66

*** The airfares are based on where you are coming from in the Philippines. It can be cheaper if you happen to book a flight way ahead, which is not also possible as you have to wait for the wedding schedule confirmation first. Lucky you, if there is a promo fare available on the schedule of your departure to Hong Kong.

*** Your other half’s airfare from Europe is also not included on the list.

*** Hotel accommodation prices also depends on the season you will be in Hong Kong. The best way to save some pennies is to book a room on the hotel or guesthouse website directly.

*** To save on fares for the public transportation, buy an octopus card from Costumer Service Counters of Hong Kong International Airport. You can reload this in any 7-11 stores around Hong Kong.

We hope it can help you decide if getting married in Hong Kong is an alternative for you.

Check the previous post for the documents you need to get married in Hong Kong here.

You can also check the sample itinerary for your wedding week here.