Sample Itinerary for a Hong Kong Wedding

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While most people would go crazy for a garden or beach wedding, we went for the one in Asia’s concrete jungle. 

Friends have been asking us why we opted to get married in Hong Kong. We have a lot of points to consider as an international couple. Time and recognition of the marriage in Europe were just a fraction of these considerations. 

If you come to think of it… then.. Yeah, who would prefer to marry in a foreign country without family or friends? 

It all boils down to the practicality a wedding in Hong Kong can bring to us, and perhaps to the many other couples who opted to go the same way. When I say practicality, I don’t mean CHEAP as Hong Kong isn’t the cheapest place to begin with. But, with the right information and proper planning, you can absolutely save some money, time, and spare yourself from the trouble of the never-ending paper trail that haunts those who wanted to marry a foreigner in the Philippines. 

***** TIPS! *****

GET THAT PLANNER READY, SERIOUSLY. 

Plan your schedules way ahead. This includes noting the public holidays of Hong Kong and the Philippines.

You have to maximize the “working days” you will be in Hong Kong. If there is a holiday on a weekday, count that as one day more for you to stay. (Mind the expenses too). The Philippine Consulate observes both the legal holidays of the Philippines and Hong Kong, and you will not want to stay there a day extra for nothing, right? 

Ask for your preferred wedding schedule. Although there is no guarantee that your preferred schedule will be available, never hesitate to indicate your desired date and venue. Though the Marriage Registration Office will email you the time of the wedding, you can always ask for another schedule. 

Never hesitate to request for some changes, and ask questions to the Marriage Registration Office. Really, they are efficient in addressing concerns and this is one of the things we love about Hong Kong! Absolutely no frills. 

(For the list of documents needed to marry in Hong Kong, check out the previous post. )

***** Here is our recommended itinerary for your Hong Kong Wedding: *****

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Of course, if you wish to stay longer for your honeymoon and go around a bit like we did, you can always stay as long as you wish. 🙂 But, if you are on a tight budget or schedule, a week is just enough to finish all the necessary paperwork. So, make use of all the available working days to get your documents done. 

It should be noted that the Philippine Consulate is open from Sunday to Thursday. This is to cater the needs of the majority of the Filipino workers whose only chance to transact business at the Consulate is on Sundays. 

*** Mein Mann would joke that I am a “master of plans”, but we were really happy at how efficient the tasks were done. 🙂 

Getting married in the Philippines involves intricate paperwork, a waiting game, and the trouble with having to make countless trips to the government offices and courier service. We hope this can help you decide on whether a wedding in Hong Kong is an alternative to the lengthy process.  

Did you also marry abroad? How did the process go? 

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Getting a Bank Draft for your Wedding in Hong Kong

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Getting a bank draft is one of the important things to do to kick off your process of having your wedding in Hong Kong. You need this for the filing of application for your Notice of Intended Marriage or simply referred to in Hong Kong as “The Notice”. We applied in February and got married in Hong Kong in April 2017. I have posted a list of documents to submit to complete the process here. 

I got asked a number of times about where and how to get a bank draft for the wedding in Hong Kong,  so I think it is better to answer these queries  at once. Please be mindful, however, that I am talking about my experience which could vary from yours, e.g your location in the Philippines 🙂

When we started preparing for our wedding in Hong Kong, we read countless blogs, noted the necessary information and highlighted the details which we might have forgotten otherwise.  (That’s why mein Mann would joke about me and my OC approach to all our papers) I have read that most couples (Filipino – Foreign)  who married in Hong Kong had their bank draft from BPI or Wells Fargo. Philippine banks can issue drafts but, be sure to get yours from banks accredited by Hong Kong. You can ask this from the Marriage Registration Office through email.

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There are lots of BPI branches here, however, they no longer issue bank drafts in HK dollars. And since I no longer maintain an account there, I was looking for some other options. There was also no Wells Fargo branch where I am living, so you can only imagine how worried I became when I found out that I can’t get one from BPI anymore, unless, of course, I will open an account there with a specific balance to avail of the service.

After searching for possible alternative, I discovered that Maybank issues drafts accepted in Hong Kong. Other than that, it is also an affiliate of Wells Fargo, so, basically, it’s a great alternative. The only concern was, Maybank does not issue drafts in Hong Kong dollars, so you have to get one in US dollars. With this, you have to add HKD100  on the top of HKD305 as a handling fee. I was advised by the IMMD in Hong Kong that we had to pay a total of USD53 for the application fee. Maybank also charge USD7 as the processing fee. So, expect  to spend USD60 for the application. 

To get a bank draft from Maybank, you must have an account in the branch where you intend to get your draft. (Which goes with all banks, I supposed). I am just lucky a close friend of mine knows someone who works in one of the branches, so he agreed to use his personal account to get my transaction through. (Speaking about the importance of networking 😀 )

I guess, one thing that might worry you when getting the bank draft is the fact that the payee’s name might be too long to fit the paper. Remember to have your bank draft payable to The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. What the bank did was abbreviate the name to “The Gov’t of the Hong Kong Special Admin. Region“. Don’t worry, abbreviating the name, if done correctly, won’t cause you problems. 🙂

It took me about 45 minutes to have this entire process completed. 🙂

Documents for Getting Married in Hong Kong for Pinays and Foreigners

documents for Pinay and foreigners.jpgAre you getting married in Hong Kong with your foreign boyfriend (or maybe girlfriend)? If you are contemplating on getting married in Hong Kong with the love of your life, then it is expected, as with anything, anywhere, that you will have to get on the paper work. Good thing, it is much easier to process your papers to get married in Hong Kong than in the Philippines (only speaking from my paperwork experience).

So, to be able to get married in Hong Kong, the first step is to write an inquiry (through an email) at enquiry@immd.gov.hk. This is how you will secure your first document for submission, The Notice.  (see what I have written to the IMMD, here)

  1. The Notice of Intended Marriage or “the notice” sent by the IMMD in Hong Kong will have several pages with English and Chinese texts. If you are both single (never been married), then accomplish the FIRST THREE PAGES ONLY. Do not forget to have the PAGE 1 notarized. (See how the notice looks like, here) It should be noted that if you are a Filipina, you must have your middle name (your mom’s maiden name) written in the box provided for Surname and Name on Page 1. (I made a mistake of not including my middle name the first time I sent the notice, so IMMD sent me a message requiring me (or whoever is the party giving the notice) to have the first page amended to include my middle name (as it appears in my passport), have it notarized, and send it back (yep, it costs some money, too). It is only then that your application to get married in Hong Kong will be considered and the process for doing so resumes.
  2. The international birth certificates (yours and that of your fiancé/fiancee) should also be sent to the IMMD office in Hong Kong. It is better to send a colored photocopy of each of your birth certificates. International birth certificates means, the document should be in ENGLISH.
  3. A photocopy of your passports must also be sent together with requirements 1 and 2. Send only the photocopy of the information page, not the whole passport.
  4. A photocopy of the Pinay’s CENOMAR (Certificate of No Marriage) from PSA should also accompany the first three documents. This costs around P 170.00 pesos if requested directly from your local NSA office. If you will request for this in the mall, expect a P20.00 service fee for each copy and a week of turn-around time.
  5. Bank Draft payable in Hong Kong Dollars or US dollars. Please be mindful that when the bank draft isn’t payable in Hong Kong dollars, you will have to shoulder the HK100-dollar handling fee. In our case, since we cannot find a bank that issues bank drafts in HK dollars, we opted for US dollars.Kindly inquire about the exact amount you will have to pay for this from IMMD. You can ask a bank draft from Maybank with a US 7.00-dollar service fee.

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After you have completed all the documents, send your express mail (takes 7 days maximum from the Philippines to Hong Kong and cost between P917.00 to P1,130.00) to

The Marriage Registration and Records Office
3/F, Low Block Queensway Government Offices
66 Queensway, Hong Kong

It is cheaper to send it through your local post office (though it will be quite uncomfortable given the clutter and the number of people who go there) than to send it in satellite postal offices in your local malls (my preference as it is comfortable and accepts mails up to 6 PM). Despite your mail being properly addressed, be ready to write the SENDER and RECEIVER information twice for your express mail – one on the slip with your tracking number and the other on the plastic packet. Yes, better practice writing in BLOCK letters. 🙂

After you have sent the mail to  Hong Kong, wait for some days to receive a reply regarding your schedule to get married in Hong Kong City Hall or the Cotton Tree Drive.

While waiting, make sure to plan your itinerary so you won’t waste time, set your budget as it is expensive in Hong Kong, book your accommodation, prepare documents needed for reporting you marriage to the Philippine Consulate and for the Apostille at the Hong Kong High Court, research about your routes to and from the hotel and the offices you must go to.

Anyone else who has gotten married in Hong Kong or is planning to do so?

How can Pinays and Foreigners Get Married in Hong Kong

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Getting married in Hong Kong is perhaps one of the fastest way to get reunited with your loved one who happens to live in a country different from yours. Most likely, it goes with the fact that the process to get the paperwork accomplished is much easier than doing it here in the Philippines. For example, when a Filipina is marrying a German (my case), it would take at least 3 to 5 months to process all the papers for his legal capacity to contract marriage or Ehefähigkeitszeugnis. Your German fiance will also have to visit the German Embassy in Manila to pick up the the certificate of legal capacity to marry. This would need another 2 to 3 days. After he has secured his Ehefähigkeitszeugnis, it is time to start your application at the locality where you are based. If you wanted to have a grand wedding or even a simple one with your immediate family around, be mindful that this would take so much time. This is why, for a Filipina and a foreigner, getting married in Hong Kong is the fastest route to take.

Getting married in Hong Kong was something we never thought of for some time. Chris and I had been thinking about the next step in our relationship, and it means, we wanted to take a leap towards being together, proximity wise and of course, legally. With him being German and I, a Pinay, many would expect we will tie the knot either in DE (or NL where he is based)  or in the Philippines. This is something we also consider but, behind the ideas of doing this where we should, the trail for the paperwork needed from us (from my side with 90%  of this burden), is quite overwhelming. I have a full time job that requires I oversee every single detail that is to be done and this makes this really challenging.  Added to this is the complicated schemes involved in marrying a foreigner in the Philippines. So we thought of many possible options, getting married in Hong Kong being one.

But why get married in Hong Kong, you may ask… 

  1. We are convinced the process is quick and that it does not involve the stress of having to deal with many government office-hopping and the fees it incurs trying to get the marriage license (which will, of course, demand tons of paperwork beforehand, plus under the table stuff to accomplish so  quickly). “More fun in the Philippines!” as he would always say. 😀
  2. Hong Kong is a member of the Apostille Convention.  That means that there is no need to go through the lengthy process of having your marriage certificate “red-ribboned” or notarized to be considered genuine in many countries. Other than the 2-3 month wait for your marriage records to be available at the National Statistics Authority (formerly NSO), you must have it red-ribboned by the DFA. That consumes time again. In Hong Kong, you can get your marriage certificate right after the ceremony, have it sealed by an apostille service, and after 2 days, it is good to go. (that is how our research have gone so far). An Apostille is issued by a designated authority in a country where the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement for Legalization of Foreign Public Documents is practiced.
  3. It is an all-in trip for us (wedding, honeymoon, and travel to a neutral ground). 🙂
  4. The communication with the government authorities in Hong Kong is much more smoother than in the Philippines.

If you and your better half want to make the process swift so you can be together faster, skipping the red tape and countless processes in PH, then the option getting married in Hong Kong is for you.

So since Chris and I are considering this option, we decided to give the process a try.

How to get started? 

The first step is the email to enquiry@immd.gov.hk

Here is an example of what we did:

HK email 1What is amazing about transactions related to getting married in Hong Kong is the prompt and complete replies to your queries. I sent an email March 25th and received a reply 3 days later, all with complete information and instructions. (Other than what to write exactly on the “Surname, Name” box of the Page 1 of the form. I will talk about this more on my next entry, as I am trying to figure out what to do exactly. Now, I am waiting for the email in response to my query).

THK mail2hough there are available forms you can download from links you find on blogs online, I suggest you send an email of inquiry. The forms you download may be outdated. I have confirmed this as Hong Kong sent me an updated one. The reply from the HK Government is quite lengthy, but be sure to read them thoroughly as it contains useful, specific information essential to completing the process.

After you have read the instructions, it is time to prepare for the paperwork.

What do you need to get your wedding schedule? 

The following should be enclosed in an envelop:

  1. Photocopies of your and your bf/gf’s birth certificate (International Birth Certificate if the same document isn’t in English)
  2. Photocopy of your passports
  3. Photocopy of CENOMAR (Certificate of No Marriage) for the Pinay partner
  4. Notarized Page 1 of the Notice of Intended Marriage
  5. Pages 2 and 3 of the Forms sent by the HK government (if both of you were never married)
  6. Bank draft worth HK$305 as the fee for giving and exhibiting the notice. (I will talk about this in another blog entry soon)

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The complete set of requirements should be sent to

The Marriage Registration and Records Office
3/F, Low Block Queensway Government Offices
66 Queensway, Hong Kong

I sent our application through express mail, and paid  ₱ 917.00 with maximum 7 days for the door to door delivery. You see, it was delivered on time. 🙂

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I received a reply from this email address: mrro@immd.gov.hk about the update of our request. However, we were told that we need to send a new notarized copy of the Page 1 as I actually MUST put my middle name on the form (which is confusing for me as it just clearly asked for the name / given name only).  I felt like.. ‘Ah! Why didn’t it say so clearly”, but I had to comply anyway. 🙂  I sent a reply to HK regarding the middle name and hope to get a clear explanation why. 😀

It is only after all requirements are met that Hong Kong will send to you the possible wedding date. 🙂

Are you also planning to get married in Hong Kong? Drop me a line for some queries. I would be happy to help you out.

For the complete information, may it with papers, hotel, budget, itinerary, route guides in Hong Kong, etc.. please browse the posts on this link.

Thanks for dropping by! 🙂