Registration of Marriage in Thailand
For the purpose of this article, we will assume you are a foreign national wishing to marry a Thai national (although the procedure is much the same if both are foreigners).
It's a pretty painless process to marry in Thailand but you will have to jump through a few hoops with your embassy and document translations and legalisation. The marriage itself is carried out at the local Amphur office (town hall) and carried out according to Thai law but you must first produce the following. . .
- An Affirmation of Freedom to Marry - This must be obtained from your embassy in Thailand, in person and cannot be obtained in advance in your home country. You should use the template provided by your own embassy and fill in your own details as appropriate.
Take your copy to the embassy to be signed before a consular official. Expect to be ripped off by your embassy for this 'service'. For example, the British Embassy will charge you an outrageous 3,250 Baht (at the time of writing) for what is nothing more than a single sheet of paper with a few lines of text that's been embossed by an official
- Have the Affirmation translated into Thai
- Have the translation certified as a usable Thai document at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, located at:
The Legalisation Division
Department of Consular Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
123 Chaeng Wattana Road
Tel : +66 (0) 2 575 1056-59, 0 2981 7171
Fax : +66 (0) 2 575 1054
(0830 - 1530 hrs)
The fee for this service should be around 1000 Baht for the same day service. . . it's worth paying extra to avoid having to return later.
You are now ready to submit your documents to the registrar at your local Amphur office and you marriage will be officially registered. You will be issued with the Thai marriage certificate. You do not even need an appointment. However, the senior official will be required to register the marriage when a foreigner is involved, so it's a good idea to make sure he will be available to perform the registration, in order to save you a wasted journey. You should take the following along with you. . .
- Your passport and your fiance's ID card, with two copies of each (don't forget to copy your visa)
- The Letter of Affirmation of Freedom to Marry, (the original AND the certified translation, plus copies of both)
- Your fiance's house log (Tabien Baan) and two copies
- Two witnesses. These can be provided by the Amphur but there may be a small fee for this
It is possible to pay an agent or a lawyer to help you with the process of obtaining the documents but our advice is to save your money, as there is nothing here that you cannot do yourself and in the same timescale.
A marriage carried out and registered according to Thai law will be recognised in most countries. Check with your own embassy. You may also wish to have a sworn translation of your marriage certificate into your own language so that it can be used as a legal document in your own country.
You are now married to a Thai and can apply for visa extensions. . . but don't forget, this is only the legal part. Thais generally consider the ceremony and party to be the real marriage. Good luck!
Note: An important point to remember when marrying a divorced Thai woman. If she has been divorced for less than 310 days, according to Thai law one of the following conditions must be met before she can remarry. . .
- You have a letter from a lawfully qualified doctor stating that she is not pregnant
- She has given birth to a child in that period
- A court has ordered she be allowed to remarry
- She is remarrying the person she previously divorced