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Can I Use An Online Marriage Certificate to Get A Hong Kong Dependant Visa?

January 18th, 2022

Posted in Family Visas, The Hong Kong Visa Geeza /


Can I Use An Online Marriage Certificate to Get A Hong Kong Dependant Visa?

Broken hearts be what they are.

This sort of enforced separation from your loved ones in Hong Kong has meant that the Immigration Department in recent times have had to consider applications for dependent visas from people who have been married online.

Before COVID online marriages were simply not accepted by the Immigration Department. About 18 months ago, I saw the first instance of a marriage certificate being put forward as the basis of a dependent visa application for a couple who were  forced to progress their nuptials online.

Since then there have been a couple of other instances where the Hong Kong Immigration Department have been willing to positively consider recognizing the online marriage legally, in recent weeks, at least.

But as I say, 18 months ago, their response was they were having none of that.

Indeed, until about four or five months ago, I was still seeing instances of the Immigration Department really dragging their heels as to whether or not they were going to recognize these online nuptial celebrations as being representative of a legal marriage that is fit for a grant of dependent visa.

However, in the last few weeks, I’ve seen two separate instances of ImmD playing ball, indeed, I had one lady who was not a client, but we came across her on a Facebook group and she very kindly shared with us her experience that she’d had with her own online marriage to a Hong Kong permanent resident that the Immigration Department we’re happy to accept the marriage certificate for and my colleague, in the meantime, has done an application where an online marriage certificate was also accepted by the Immigration Department.

What it seems to boil down to is this, the ease and convenience of being able to get your nuptials legally acknowledged through an online ceremony, typically through Utah means that there is a kind of a temptation for people just to you know, go ahead and just deal kind of like a Las Vegas  marriage psychology to it, which would suggest to the Immigration Department that if they’re going to recognize this legal marriage, for the purposes of the term dependent visa, they’re going to drill really deeply down into the genuine nature of the relationship.

The two instances that we’ve had direct experience of in last few weeks, one relationship was clearly documented, for seven years, and the other relationship was clearly documented well for five years (there also being a child in the marriage).

So it’s obvious in those circumstances that the relationship is genuine.

All the other criteria for grant of dependent visa have to be positively addressed to0 needless to say: you need the Hong Kong resident sponsor to be able to show that you can put a roof over your partner’s head and food on your partner’s table.

But otherwise, if there is a genuine relationship, it’s through that as the marriage is being recognized through one of two online marriage celebration services as it were, I’ll put links in the in the blog post that this video accompanies so that you can see what that’s all about if you’ve got if your relationship is genuine and COVID has forced you, not having other circumstances available to be able to do it the traditional way with your family and friends all around you.

The Immigration Department at this point in time appear to be playing ball.

Links FYI:

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The Hong Kong Visa Geeza (a.k.a Stephen Barnes) is a co-founder of the Hong Kong Visa Centre and author of the Hong Kong Visa Handbook. A law graduate of the London School of Economics, Stephen has been practicing Hong Kong immigration since 1993 and is widely acknowledged as the leading authority on business immigration matters here for the last 24 years.

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