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Thursday, January 31, 2008

The cost of marriage

Talking to *Twinkle* this afternoon via Skype, we got on to the subject of marriage, or more specifically, our wedding.

We've been thinking of marrying in the UK first (in July), and they getting our new family register sorted in Japan when we get back there.

Today however, I spoke to a couple of local registry offices, and getting married in the UK suddenly seems not quite so attractive afterall.

The idea was for *Twinkle* to come to the UK a couple of weeks before I'm due to return to Japan. We'd marry, then go on a very long honeymoon (...in Japan!). There's a slight problem with that though, as she needs to be in the UK at least a week before we can even begin the procedure. After 7 days, we'd be allowed to go to an internationally certified registery office (the nearest one being Gloucester) where we'd declare our intention to marry. We then have to wait 15 days - on the 16th day we'd be allowed to marry. In total, we're told that a month in required to get it all tied up.


A month ...is rather a long time to take off work at this stage.

Oh, and then, there's the visa.

When the lady on the phone told me that the Fiance visa is quite expensive, I told her that yes, I'd expected that. About £100 or something.

Then I checked on the British Consular Section's website in Tokyo:

£500 / JPY 115,000!

Five HUNDRED pounds for a visa?!

I guess it's understandable. If it wasn't that much us poor british men would be inundated with marriage offers, being the legendary life partners that we are.

So, marriage in Japan is suddenly seeming a lot more attractive, especially as after that discovery I learnt that (contrary to what I have been led to believe for 5 years) if you marry in Japan, it will be legally valid in the UK too. If I can marry on a tourist visa then we may do the deed at Easter in Saitama (just north of Tokyo), and party in July in the UK. If Japan also has some fiancé visa scheme to prop up the national economy we'll probably wait until the summer when I'm there on a work visa.

Anyway, I'll give our local Ward office in Japan a call in the morning and see what they have to say about visas and so forth - and charges too.

Ho hum. 3 days and counting.

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