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HOW TO GET MARRIED IN THAILAND FOR FOREIGNERS
Thailand is a stunningly beautiful, exotic destination that provides you with a paradise setting for your upcoming wedding. The crystal clear waters of the seas and lagoons, the gorgeous hills and the lush green jungle areas can captivate your attention and leave you yearning to tie the knot in this incredible destination. You may have big plans to get married at one of Thailand’s most popular beach resorts, with a towering waterfall in the background or in some other incredible setting in Thailand. However, before you move forward with your plans to wed here, you may be wondering what the requirements are to be legally married in Thailand. The good news is that many foreign countries legally permit their citizens to get married here. However, it is wise for foreigners planning a marriage in Thailand to fully explore and follow the requirements to ensure that their wedding is legally binding. Many countries have specific requirements that are unique to their citizens, so a closer look at each country’s requirements is in order.
Getting Married In Thailand Legal Requirements
If you are planning to get legally married in Thailand, it is important to learn more about Thailand’s requirements as a first step. Regardless of whether you are a foreigner marrying another foreigner or you are marrying a Thai citizen, the country’s requirements are the same. You must follow these steps:
1. Obtain an Affirmation of Freedom to Marry. This document may be available through the consulate in Bangkok or through your embassy if you are a foreign citizen. Each country may have specific requirements that its citizens must meet, and each person wishing to get married must obtain their own Affirmation. This is a special legal document that essentially states that you are legally permitted to get married by the country. For foreigners, you typically must present your passport. If you have previously been married, documents attesting to the legal termination of that marriage may also be required. Thai citizens generally need to provide their House Registration Document and their National Identification Card to their consulate.
2. Translate the Affirmation of Freedom to Marry document. If you have obtained an Affirmation of Freedom to Marry document from your home country’s embassy, it likely is in your native language. It must be translated into the Thai language as the next step. There are various services that you can use throughout the country that can complete this step for you.
3. Take Your Affirmation document to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Your translated Affirmation of Freedom to Marry document must be legalized by the Thai government. This is done at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office.
4. Register the marriage with the amphur. The amphur is the office that officially records marriages, and this step means that your marriage to your spouse is legally binding. To register the marriage, you simply submit your documents to the amphur. The amphur will issue a marriage certificate in Thai. You typically must pay a translator to translate this document into your native language.
5. Certify your marriage with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. After you have properly registered your marriage, you will again visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to file your translated document. This officially records the marriage.
6. You must also report your marriage to your home country. If you are a foreigner, you will take your documents to your embassy. If you are a Thai resident, you will take your documents to the consulate. This step finalizes your marriage in Thailand.
Getting Married In Thailand For US Citizens
If you are an American citizen interested in getting married in Thailand to another American, a Thai citizen or a citizen from another country, you may be wondering what specific steps you need to take to complete the process. The United States generally recognizes marriages of its citizens in Thailand, provided proper steps are followed. Personnel at the U.S. embassy are not permitted to perform marriages. Instead, these steps should be followed:
1. Visit the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok to obtain a notarized Marriage/Divorce Affidavit. This is available through the American Citizen Services unit. You will need to schedule an appointment and arrive at the office with the proper fee for the notarized document.
2. Use a professional translation service to translate this affidavit into the Thai language.
3. Visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bangkok to have the marriage document legalized. There is a nominal fee for this process as well.
4. Foreigners getting married in Thailand will also need to register their marriage with the amphur. You will present your translated documents to the amphur, and they will register the marriage and issue a marriage certificate. The amphur may also require your identity documents, such as your passport, as well as your documents showing that prior marriages have been legally terminated. Your marriage certificate will be in the Thai language, and you typically will need to use professional translation services to translate this document into your own language.
5. Take your translated marriage certificate to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bangkok. The Ministry officials will certify that the marriage is legal in Thailand.
6. You must then register your marriage in the United States in order for your home government to recognize the marriage. This is not done through the embassy. Instead, you will need to contact the Attorney General in your home state for their specific registration requirements. Many states will require a copy of the registered marriage certificate in order to validate the marriage in the United States.
Is A Thai Marriage Recognised In The UK?
A Thai marriage is recognized in the U.K., provided you follow the specific rule and requirements that have been established by both the Thai and U.K. governments. First, keep in mind that a religious ceremony in Thailand is not legally binding. If you wish for your marriage to be legally binding, you must follow all marriage requirements that Thailand has established. Second, note that the British Embassy is not legally authorized to conduct marriage ceremonies. Third, remember that the British government will only recognize the marriage as legally binding if the Thai government recognizes it. With this in mind, you should follow a few important steps to complete the marriage process.
1. As a first step, you will need to obtain an Affirmation of Freedom to Marry. This is available through the British Embassy in Thailand. To obtain this document, you will need to bring your passport and any documents you have attesting to the termination of previous marriages you have been in. Original document should be provided. Copied documents will not be accepted. The affirmation document can be downloaded from the Internet and completed prior to your arrival. A small fee is charged for this document.
2. You will need to use a private translation service to translate the Affirmation into the Thai language. This service is not provided by the embassy, but there are many translators that offer this service in Bangkok.
3. British foreigners getting married in Thailand will then need to authenticate the Affirmation. Take your translated document in the Thai language to the British Consular's office for an official certification and signature. Thai registrars will not accept the document until it has been authenticated in this way.
4. Once you have completed this step, take your translated and authenticated document to the registrar, or amphur. The amphur will officially register the marriage and prepare a marriage certificate for you in the Thai language. You may need to get this certificate translated into your native language. Only use a service that offers a “sworn translation” service through a translation bureau. This is a requirement if you wish to use the marriage certificate in the United Kingdom.
5. Bring your translated marriage certificate to the Consular Section so that it can be recorded by the U.K. government. You are not legally required to take this step. However, it is helpful for statistical purposes, and it is necessary if you need to regenerate a copy of your certificate at a later date.
6. If you are marrying a foreign national, take note that that individual does not automatically gain U.K. citizenship through marriage. He or she will need to obtain the proper legal requirements, such as a visa, to relocate into the United Kingdom. This process can take up to three months to complete, so you should plan ahead when requesting the relocation visa.
Getting Married In Thailand For Australians
If you are an Australian citizen planning to get married in Thailand, you may be wondering how your marriage process varies from other countries. Australians must follow a few specific steps when getting married in Thailand if you want your marriage to be valid in your home country. The Australian embassy can only provide assistance with helping its residents learn about the foreign marriage process in Thailand, and it cannot assist with marriage planning in any way. Keep in mind that you must carefully follow each of these steps fully in order for your marriage to be legally binding in both Thailand and Australia. Foreign marriages of Australian citizens have been legally recognized by the Australian government since 1995. If you wish to get legally married in Thailand, follow these steps.
1. Visit your Australian embassy in Bangkok to complete a pro-forma Statutory Declaration. This form may also be completed at the Australian Consulate-General’s office in Phuket or in a Chiang Mai consular office. There is a fee required at the time this form is completed. Remember that the “Single Status Certificate” will not be accepted. If you have previously been married, you must provide proof that the previous marriages have ended, such as by providing divorce documentation or a death certificate. Some Thai registration offices also require passports of Australian citizens to be certified by the Embassy. There is a fee for this service, so you may which to check with the registration office that you plan to use to determine if this is required by their office. If so, certify your passport at the time you complete your Statutory Declaration.
2. Australian foreigners getting married in Thailand must also translate their Statutory Declaration document through a private translator into the Thai language. This process may take one to two business days, so plan ahead when completing this step.
3. After your document has been translated into the Thai language, it will need to be authenticated through the Thai Department of Consular Affairs. There is a fee for this that is payable to the Thai government. This step in the process may take an additional two to three business days to complete. There are various offices in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and other cities that offer this service.
4. Once your document has been authenticated, you can visit a District Office, or amphur, to register this marriage. This is a step that legally binds your marriage in Thailand. You will be issued a marriage certificate by the amphur. Amphurs do not provide translation services, so you may need to bring a translator with you to complete this process. Some amphurs also require an appointment.
5. If you plan to relocate with your foreign spouse to Australia after getting married, your spouse will need to obtain a visa. The Consular Services Section at the Australian embassy can assist with this process. Applying for a visa may take several weeks to complete, so you should plan ahead to obtain a visa in a time frame that is suitable for your plans.
Getting married in a gorgeous and exotic setting like Thailand can be a dream come true. However, the marriage process dictated by the Thailand government and your home country’s government must be carefully followed if you wish for your marriage to be legally binding. You may also need to plan ahead when trying to get your foreign spouse into your home country by applying for a visa very early in the process. By following these steps, you can plan for the perfect wedding in Thailand.