Marriage and civil partnership
If you are an Irish Citizen resident outside Ireland and need a Certificate of Freedom to Marry, find out how to begin your online application.
Before you begin this step, you should always check first with the local Chinese authorities where you plan to get married what documents they will require from you.
Making an application
To apply for a Certificate of Freedom to Marry, you must complete an online questionnaire about yourself and your upcoming marriage or civil partnership.
Based on this questionnaire, you’ll be presented with one or more statutory declarations to complete and a checklist of supporting documentation you'll need to submit with your application.
You need to:
- Print and sign your questionnaire.
- Print out a copy of each statutory declaration.
- Print out your checklist.
- Complete the declarations and have them witnessed.
- Post them to us with your supporting documentation, signed questionnaire and fee.
- Print off or save each form right after your online questionnaire, as you won't be able to retrieve them later.
When to apply
Submit your application a minimum of four months before the date of your marriage or civil partnership.
Your witnessed statutory declaration(s) cannot be dated more than six months before the date we receive your application.
Your application is not complete until we get hard copies of your questionnaire, statutory declaration(s), and all supporting documentation.
Your checklist will tell you exactly what supporting documentation you'll need for your application, which may include:
- Your original long-form birth certificate
- A court order, if you are under 18 years
- Marriage and Death certificate of your previous spouse, if widowed
- Petition and final decree of your divorce, if divorced
- A photocopy of your current Irish passport
- Your original naturalisation certification, if naturalised
Translating your documents
You'll need to submit certified translations of any of these documents, if the originals are in a language other than English or Irish.
Getting replacement documents
We need original documents (except for the photocopy of your passport) to process your application.
Getting your documents back
We will return all your original documents to you after we inspect them.
If you haven't included all the necessary documents, your application will be returned to you.
Witnessing your application
Your statutory declaration must be witnessed before you can submit it.
Who can be a witness?
- A Solicitor, Notary Public, or Commissioner for Oaths
- The Embassy or Consulates General of Ireland in China may also witness your declaration. This service bears a fee of 490RMB.
Your witness must:
• Know you personally, or
• Know a third party personally who can identify you, or
• Be able to verify your identity through your official documents (e.g. a passport)
• Provide business contact number, address, and stamp
Your witness needs to:
• Witness you completing and signing your Statutory Declaration(s)
• Complete and sign the relevant part of your Statutory Declaration(s)
It's against the law to make a Statutory Declaration that you know is false or misleading in any way
Fees for making an application for Certificat de Coutume/Nulla Osta
The fee for issuing a certificate of freedom to marry is 490RMB per Irish applicant.
Applications submitted 28 days or less before the date of the intended marriage or civil partnership will incur an additional fee of 490RMB per Irish applicant.
Payments to the Embassy or Consulate General must be made online.
After your online application has been submitted and you have prepared the necessary supporting documentation, you should make an appointment to submit the documentation to the relevant diplomatic Mission of Ireland in China.
You should make an appointment to submit your application and supporting documentation to the Embassy of Ireland in Beijing if you are resident in China anywhere except Hong Kong, Shanghai, Anhui, Jiangsu Jiangxi or Zhejiang. Contact the Embassy.
If you are resident in Hong Kong, you should make an appointment to submit your application and supporting documentation to the Consulate General of Ireland in Hong Kong. Contact the Consulate General in Hong Kong.
If you are resident in Shanghai, Anhui, Jiangsu Jiangxi, Zhejiang you should make an appointment to submit your application and supporting documentation to the Consulate General of Ireland in Shanghai.
We strongly encourage you to gather all the required documents prior to completing the online form – incomplete applications will not be accepted.