Are there any extra procedures foreign nationals have to take when marrying in Japan?

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When a foreign national marries a Japanese national in Japan, there are some additional procedures that need to be followed according to Japanese law. First, the Japanese spouse should submit a certified copy of his/her family register and the foreign national must submit a copy of his/her passport and certificate of Alien Registration.

The foreign national should also submit a “certificate of eligibility to contract marriage” which may vary in form depending on the foreign country. Usually this is a written statement issued by the foreign national’s government that states that the foreign national meets all legal requirements for marriage. This document can usually be obtained at a consulate or embassy in Japan but some foreign countries will not issue them abroad and the certificate must be obtained from a judge or notary working in that country.

Some countries, like America, do not issue “certificates of eligibility to contract marriage.” Instead, American citizens must submit an “affidavit of competency to marry” that meets the requirements of his/her home state and have that affidavit notarized.

There will be circumstances where obtaining a “certificate of eligibility to contract marriage” or an “affidavit of competency to marry” might be impossible. Persons in those situations can write an explanation of why they cannot obtain these documents and include a copy of the marriage laws of their country. In addition, there may be additional documents that are also required depending on the foreign national’s home country.