UK/British Passport Holders – How to get married in Japan

Hi, I am David Higgins, a legal translator in Okinawa, Japan and I am going to clearly explain how to get married in Japan for those who are British Passport Holders

First off, let’s clarify that getting legally married in Japan requires legal paper work only. Any celebration, party or ceremony is completely separate and not necessary for a marriage to be considered legal in Japan.

There are 2 documents you need for legal marriage in Japan if you are a British Passport Holder.

The first is an original or reissued birth certificate
(No photocopies are accepted)

The next is an Affirmation of Marital Status.

The Affirmation of Marital Status is notarized by the Consular Section at the Tokyo Embassy or the Osaka Consulate by appointment only.

You must print and complete the form prior to going to your appointment. Please find the printable PDF form in the description box.

The Affidavit and Birth Certificate will be in English Language only and must be translated into Japanese.

If you plan to marry a US citizen, your fiancé must obtain the following:

• A single affidavit notarized at either a US legal services office, US Embassy or US Consulate.

• A passport, birth certificate or naturalization document. In most cases the passport does not need to be translated into Japanese but the birth certificate or naturalization document would need to be translated from English to Japanese.

At Okinawa Translator we provide that service. You can scan or photograph the documents and send them to our email address and we will get to work translating these documents into Japanese for you.

Once the translations are finished, we will complete your marriage application. The marriage application must be completed only after all documents have been translated into Japanese.

These translated documents must mirror the information provided in the originals so one of the big advantages of having all documents translated at one time by the same translator will be avoiding possible discrepancies that may occur otherwise.

The marriage application must have two witnesses. My wife and I can be your witnesses and due to the fact that we are both Japanese residents, we physically do not have to accompany you to the city office. If you want to choose your own witnesses, you will need to submit their full names, birth dates, nationalities and local addresses to us. They must physically accompany you to the city office on the day that you get married.
When the above mentioned steps are completed, you will submit your documents to a city office closest to your residency in Japan. If you submit your documents to a town or village office, they may or may not require additional documentation to be translated and submitted so we strongly suggest that you consult with our office as to which city office you should provide your documents to. This will ensure that all submission procedures run in a smooth and timely manner.

The certificates that you receive will be written in the Japanese language. We will translate your marriage certificate back into English and provide you with several certified copies in English so you can use these to successfully report your marriage to the authorities in your home country.

And that’s all. If you have any questions about getting married in Japan please do not hesitate to contact us.


David Higgins is a full time Japanese/English translation company owner located in Okinawa, Japan. David, his wife Hazuki and four employees and various freelancers of other languages run Okinawa Translator. They specialize in translation of all kinds of documents, technical manuals and on site interpreting for instructional safety classes with the military to family reunions. They have expanded they’re business all over Japan and overseas to serve customers in any location.

38 Comments on “UK/British Passport Holders – How to get married in Japan

    • Good evening David.

      I hope this page is still active. I have a question regarding the documents that need translating. I am a UK citizen living in Kyoto and am due to get married next month (October 2019) in Kyoto. My fiancé is Japanese so we will be doing the translation ourselves but Im confused how to translate the documents as I have read different information that is misleading. Are there any blank templates we can download or collect from somewhere? Also, Is it just the Affirmation, Passport and birth certificate that need translating? I already have the CNI from the embassy but my fiancé says this needs translating also, despite been in Japanese/English already. I can’t find any clear information online so would appreciate any help you can give me.

      Thank you and I look forward to your response.

      With regards

      Adam Turner

  1. Hi Dave Higgins

    My partner and I are very tentatively considering a simple marriage abroad. We are considering combining this with a trip to Japan that we want to make. Is it possible to marry in Japan if you are not a resident? Could this be done in an 18 day trip we are planning in the next 4 months? What would be your costs for preparing everything you refer to? Thanks.

    Bernie (United Kingdom)

  2. I went to the Osaka consulate in person in regards to the marriage affirmation, they just gave me a phone number and told me to call it. A lady from the Tokyo embassy answered. She told me that the Osaka consulate doesn’t offer the affirmation service and I’ll need to go to Tokyo to do it.

    • Anthony,

      Thank you very much for the information, I will let everyone know that the Osaka Consulate is a no go for the affirmation and everyone must make their appointment at the Tokyo Embassy instead. I appreciate you reaching out to me and letting me know this,

      – Dave

  3. Dear Dave – I am a UK citizen (male) who will marry a Japanese national (female) and I came across your very helpful page.

    I just had an initial question relating to the signed affirmation – does this need to be done in the British embassy in Tokyo only, or can it be done in the UK itself or elsewhere? Secondly, does it need to be done in person (do I physically have to attend the British embassy in Tokyo , or can this be done remotely?)

    • To receive the Affirmation of Marriage this must be completed in person at the UK Embassy in Tokyo.

      You need to make an appointment with them beforehand to have this completed. Once you receive the affirmation you can
      send it to us to translate into Japanese for you,

      Anything else let me know,

      – Dave

      • Thanks Dave. I contacted the UK embassy in Tokyo this morning and they informed me that what you described is the normal procedure.

        However they mentioned another route for a UK citizen is to obtain a CNI (certificate of no impediment) in the UK, and then find a ward office in Tokyo that would accept this document instead of an affirmation from the embassy. I may explore this option for convenience.

        In either case, I need the document translated into Japanese so I may probably reach out to you. Do you have an estimate of how much this would cost? Additionally, we would need the Japanese marriage certificate itself translated into English to apply for a UK spouse visa (is this also something you can do?).

        Thank You

        • Yes, our prices are 5000YEN for the first document and 4000YEN for every additional document after that, that goes to the future as well, it’s 4000YEN.

          You will need the Affirmation of the Single Status, your birth certificate, and the marriage application completed. My wife and I can be your witnesses on the marriage application.

          We can definitely translate the marriage certificate back into English.

          One thing you want to take note of: All city office in Japan are not created equal, and that is something that the UK Embassy doesn’t take into consideration when giving advice to people. For instance, we actually made a call to a city office in the Tokyo area that doesn’t accept foreigners period. Some of them require more documentation than other, such as having your passport translated as well, and most definitely a home country issued single status document. With our 7 years of experience that is definitely a red flag. All other countries require the single status document issued from Japan from the Embassy or Consulate. If it is issued outside of the Japan, then it is usually stamped by the Consulate or Embassy in Japan.

          I hope this information helps,

          – Dave

  4. Hi Dave, I wonder if you can help with a quick query. Do you know if a U.K. Passport holder is safe using the 90 day temporary visitor stamp they’d normally get on arrival to get married in Japan or have you heard that a different visa is necessary?

    • You can use a 90 day tourist visa and get married in Japan no problem for UK passport holders. Although this doesn’t apply to all other types of Passport holders coming to Japan to get married.

  5. Dear David,
    I’m due to visit the embassy in Tokyo next week, for the Affirmation of Marriage signing. However, my first marriage to a Japanese national, many years ago, required the AoM to be done in Osaka. As the costs of merely travelling from south-west Japan to Tokyo, for a 30 minute ‘interview’ and signing, are very expensive, (almost ¥70,000) I’m wondering why this is no longer able to be done in Osaka or via registered post?

    Best regards,

  6. Hi,

    Thank you for the useful information. I have a quick question. Do I need to be in japan for a set length of time before I marry and do I need to stay there for a certain number of days afterwards?

    Thank you

  7. Hi Dave,

    How long does the process normally take for the translation of documents and subsequent appointment at the embassy? can this be done in a week?

    Kind Regards

    • Hi Alex Hutchison, We can complete the translation of documents in 1-2 days and if you want to expedite it we can have it completed the same day depending on what time we receive them. Yes, it can be completed in less than a week. You can just email me the documents as soon as you receive the single status document notarized from the UK embassy in Tokyo and we will get to work and complete everything for you. Anything else let me know, – Dave

      • Dave, thank you for the response. Please let me know your email address to send document for translation. Also, who makes the appointment at the embassy; you or I? We are likely to be in Kyoto rather than Tokyo, can you still arrange?
        Kind regards

  8. Dear Dave,

    I was previously married to a Japanese national a few years ago and then got divorced. My ex wife completed the divorce without me in person.
    I’ve since moved on and will be getting married to my Japanese fiance in Japan later this year.

    When I go to provide my Affirmation of Marital Status at the embassy in Tokyo is there seperate documents I need from when the divorce took place to prove I was divorced? (As I’ve never ever had them)

    Or just fill in the Affirmation of Marital Status as per usual indicating I’m divorced?

    Many Thanks


  9. My son in UK married a Japanese girl recently. If he wants to go there to live and work what does he need legally ?
    Is rather confused as wants to do everything correctly beforehand obviously

    • Hi Elizabeth Gilman – Thank you for reaching out to us.

      Our office specializes in helping people get legally married in Japan. We provide free information on that and translate their documents.

  10. Hi me and my girlfriend want to get married in Tokyo. We are both English.

    We want to have the married certificate on a certain date. Saturday 11th April 2020.

    We have done a bit for research and local offices we found in Tokyo are only open Monday to Friday is there a way to get the date we want on the married certificate?

    Also would we have to register with the local office as we both live in the uk?

    Thank you
    Davi Sydenham

  11. we want to me married in Tokyo next year. However my partner is british and I french. both processes of certificate of impediment are different. for me as the spouse i need to send all documents ahead which may take 3 months to obtain the certificate in Tokyo. it seems i have no alternative. for my partner british, it seems it has the possibility to have a certificate of no impediment in UK and notorize the document does he still need to make an appointment with the british embassy in Tokyo to make the affidavit? May need help to understand what we must do before reaching tokyo in May

  12. Hello Dave,
    Great information.
    I am English, my wife is Japanese.
    I recently got married at the City Hall (Ward Office).
    I have a few questions.
    1. For legal purposes, and proof of marriage, do I need to translate the Marriage Acceptance Certificate to English for when we go back to the UK.?
    2. I have two certificates. (1) 婚姻受理証明書 – Marriage Acceptance Certificate and
    (2) 特別婚姻受理証明書 – Special Marriage Acceptance Certificate.
    Which one should be translated?
    3. Should these be accompanied by a Translation Certificate or a Notarization Seal? Or Both?
    4. I telephoned the British Embassy in Tokyo and they said, “Depending on where I intend to submit the translation in the UK, the translation should be different.”
    This does not make sense to me as both Japanese certificates are very short.
    Just how many ways can it be translated?!?!
    5. Is the Marriage Certificate the only one necessary to be translated.

    Sorry for all the questions, I am sure that others too will appreciate your answers.

  13. Hi David

    Many thanks for your great information.

    I was wondering whether it is possible to obtain the certificate of impediment in the UK rather than flying to Tokyo Embassy to get the Affirmation of Marital Status. It is because we are planning to get married in Kyoto (my partner is Japanese); I live in London so I want to see if there is any way I could get all the documents ready without an extra trip to Tokyo.

    Thank you,


    • The Certificate of No Impediment must be issued from within Japan. This goes for most all nationalities getting married in Japan. The single status must be issued from a Consulate or Embassy within Japan. Hope this answers your question. Anything else let me know, – Dave

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