Marriage and Divorce
We do not marry Australian citizens overseas or accept divorce applications. We are not qualified to advise you on marriage or divorce matters. Contact the relevant authorities in Australia or Japan for advice.
Marriage in Japan
To get married in Japan, please contact your city office for information and advice on local requirements and necessary documentation. Before a foreign national may marry, Japanese authorities require a certificate issued by the Australian Government stating that those authorities do not know of any impediment to the marriage. This certificate is known as a Certificate of No Impediment (CNI). Certificates of No Impediment are not a requirement of Australian law. Refer to our Frequently Asked Questions below and Marriage Overseas brochure for more information.
Applying for a Certificate of No Impediment in Japan
Australian citizens and permanent residents are eligible for Certificates of No Impediment to Marriage. To apply, complete the application form and submit it along with your passport and your partner's passport or similar identity document. If either party is divorced or widowed, please also provide the relevant divorce order or death certificate. Fees apply. We aim to issue certificates within 5 working days.
City offices in Japan generally require a Japanese translation of both the Application Form and the CNI itself. We cannot provide translation services. However, the following templates may assist you with the translation:
Applying in Person
Please contact your nearest Australian mission to lodge your application. Applicants can complete the form and present it at an Australian mission for witnessing.
Applying by Mail
Mailed applications are acceptable only if witnessed by a qualified witness in Japan (or Australia) who holds the local equivalent office or professional qualification as listed on the application form:
- legal practitioner;
- clerk of a court;
- medical practitioner;
- minister of religion;
- civil marriage celebrant;
- police officer;
- Notary Public (Koshonin);
- see application for full list
Complete a Notarial Request application (Word | PDF) and post all documentation and fees to your nearest Australian mission along with a return stamped self-addressed envelope. All fees are payable in cash (Japanese yen) or by a postal money order (yuubin kawase), which is available at the post office. We aim to return documents within 5 working days. Incomplete applications or documents mailed without the correct payment will be returned unprocessed.
Recognition of Japanese marriages
We do not register marriages.
A foreign marriage certificate is prima facie evidence in Australia of the occurrence and validity of the marriage. You can download further information on marriage recognition below. Australians applying for a Japanese spousal visa may wish to include this with their application.
Divorce in Japan
For information on divorce proceedings in Japan please contact either your local city office, or the Family Court of Japan. If you require further advice, you could consider seeking private, independent legal advice. We maintain a list of lawyers around Japan some of whom practice in Japanese divorce proceedings.
To find out if your Japanese divorce is recognised in Australia please contact the Family Court of Australia directly.
Marriage in Australia
Please consult with your Marriage Celebrant or your State's Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages or visit the website of Australia's Attorney General for information on marriage in Australia.
Divorce in Australia
To apply for a divorce in Australia, please contact the Family Court of Australia. For more information on getting divorced in Australia, visit australia.gov.au - Getting Divorced page. If you require your signature witnessed or certified copies of original documents as part of the divorce application, please contact your nearest Australian mission. For more information, see Notarial services.
If I marry in Japan, can/do I need to register the marriage with Australian authorities?
No. You cannot register your marriage in Australia.
If I marry in Japan, is my marriage recognised as legal in Australia?
Yes. You should refer to our marriage overseas brochure for more information and consult with a lawyer if you are unsure. For use in Australia, your Japanese marriage certificate (kon'in todoke jurishomeisho), issued at the city office (where you registered your marriage), will require appropriate English language translation.
How long is my Certificate of No Impediment valid for?
Certificates do not expire. However, most Japanese city offices only recognise them for three months from the date of issue.
How do I get married in Japan?
Please contact your local city office for their requirements. As a general guide only, the following information may be useful:
At your local city office, lodge your Registration of Marriage Form and all necessary documentation, including your passport, Japanese Residence Card (if applicable), and in the case of marriage to a Japanese citizen, a copy of their Family Register (koseki tohon). Some city offices may ask you to present your original Birth Certificate, declaration and/or translations of your Australian passport and other identification documents.
You may require a Japanese translator (or Japanese speaking friend) to be present.
Where do I get married in Japan?
Normally at the city office closest to your residential address.
The city office says I need a kon'in yoken gubi shomeisho/kon'in gubi shomeisho. Do you issue this?
No. We only issue the Certificate of No Impediment (kon'in mushogai shomeisho).
When filling in the Certificate of No Impediment application, what address should I use? Is there a sample form I can refer to?
Yes, you can refer to the attached sample CNI application. If you are currently residing in Japan, you should write your Japanese address on the application form.
We are both Australians. Do we require two Certificates of No Impediment?
Yes. Two separate applications forms and fees will apply.
Does a Certificate of No Impediment guarantee that we can get married in Japan?
Can I apply for a Certificate of No Impediment before my Divorce Certificate (rikon shomeisho) is issued?
I do not live in Japan. Will Japanese authorities accept a Certificate of No Impediment issued by a Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade office in Australia or an Australian diplomatic mission outside of Japan?
You will need to confirm this with the local city office where you intend to marry. City offices in Japan generally require the Application Form and the Certificate itself so, if applying for a Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage in Australia, you should ensure that the issuing office returns both documents to you.
I will apply by mail. Is a photocopy of my passport/ divorce certificate acceptable?
Certified copies of documents are acceptable where you cannot present originals.
I require a Certificate of No Impediment urgently. Is there a priority processing service available.
Please ensure that the documents relating to notarial services you require from the Embassy are presented in the correct form, and that you provide the correct instructions to our staff (for example, on how your signature must be witnessed on the documents).
If you are unsure of the legal requirements relating to the notarial service you require, you should seek independent legal advice.
By providing a notarial service such as authenticating a document, providing a certified copy of a document or witnessing a signature on a document, neither the Australian Government nor the Embassy endorse, verify or make any statement as to the accuracy, truth, legality or otherwise of the contents of the document or the purposes for which the document may be used.
Neither the Australian Government nor the Embassy accept liability for any loss damage or injury arising out of the use of, or reliance on, the document or its contents.