How to get married in Thailand
Marriage is something not to be entered into lightly. Whether a foreign national is marrying a Thai national or two foreign nationals have chosen to get married in Thailand the procedure is the same. Wherever exotic location you may decide to get married in Thailand there is a certain amount of paperwork that has be completed before the ceremony, it takes the best part of a working week, assuming that there are no public holidays. All the necessary offices are in Bangkok and application are required to be done in person. While that might sound a bit daunting its not as bad as it sounds. It starts with apply for a letter of Affirmation from the embassy of the foreign applicants nationality. The following day the letter can be collected and it then needs to be translated in Thai and this can be done almost anywhere. Once that has been completed it needs to be certified with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and this takes two working days to be completed. With the certification complete the marriage can go ahead. If a foreign national is marrying a Thai its in their Amphur Office, while a couple of foreign nationality its in the Amphur Office in the location that they have decided to get married.
- You need to write a Letter of Affirmation. This is simply a declaration that you are free to marry - never been married, divorced, widowed, etc..
This letter is written in your native language. The letter needs to be taken your embassy in Bangkok to be certified. The British Embassy currently charges 2100 Baht for this service.
Sample Letter, from British Embassy in Bangkok (July 2002). Other nationals should contact their embassy for guidance.
- The affirmation letter must then be translated into Thai. It seems that just about anyone can do the translation, but the it does need to be certified by the Thai ministry of Foreign affairs;
123 Chaeng Wattana Road, Laksi District, Bangkok 11120
Tel. 02 575 1056 - 59, 02 981 7171
- You need to obtain a Certificate of Residency. Don't let the name confuse you, this has nothing to do with your visa status within Thailand, though you do need to have entered the country legally, and your visa must still be valid. Obtaining a residency certificate is simply case of visiting your local immigration office with your fiancee in tow - she needs to produce her own residency log. You will need to supply two current photos, a copy of your passport and 200 Baht. This takes about 30 minutes to complete.
- The pair of you then visit your fiancee's Amphur Office. This government office handles all the registration matters of the local population and is generally visited by Thai's when they move home. The British Embassy refers to this office as a 'Registry office', and whilst that name probably describes the nearest thing that exists in Britain the way it operates it completely different; You can turn up at the Amphur office unannounced, produce all the relevant documentation and leave with a marriage certificate within the space of 30 minutes.
What you need to take;
- Your passport, plus 2 copies including copies of entry visa.
- Letter of Affirmation - both originals and 1 copy each of native and Thai versions.
- Residency Certificate - original and 1 copy.
- Your fiancee's house log, plus 2 copies thereof.
- Your fiancee's ID card, plus 1 copy.
- Two witnesses.
If all goes well you will receive two marriage certificates and supporting documentation that can be used for obtaining visas. The certificates are in Thai, with even the dates written using Thai numerals
All Thai Registrars will require authentication of the British Consular Official’s signature and certification of the Thai translation. This must be obtained from :
The Legalisation and Naturalisation Division, Department of Consular Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
123 Chaeng Wattana Road, Laksi District, Bangkok 11120
Tel. 575 1056 - 59, 981 7171
(08.30 - 11.30 and 13.00 - 15.30)
The fee is Baht 400 per document, and it takes up to two full days for the Ministry to process applications
Submit the document to the Registrar
- The affirmation and translation are then ready for submission to the registrar, who, if satisfied, will register the marriage and issue a Thai marriage certificate.
- The British Embassy in Bangkok is not authorised to perform marriages.
- Marriage in Thailand should be performed according to Thai law and any detailed questions on the procedure should be addressed to the appropriate Thai authorities.
- A religious ceremony on its own is not sufficient.
- The documentation to be produced is at the discretion of each individual Registrar. Most Registrars will be satisfied with an affirmation of freedom to marry.
- The marriage will only be recognised under UK law if it is valid under Thai law. For it to be valid in Thai law, the marriage must be registered with the Registrar at an Amphur Office (District Office). A list of some Amphur offices in Bangkok and upcountry.
- The Thai marriage will be in Thai only. You may wish to commission a "sworn translation" of the marriage certificate from a translation bureau, so that you may use the document for legal purposes in the U.K.
- Consular Section can arrange for your marriage to be recorded in the U.K.; please ask us for further details if you wish us to do so. This is not a legal obligation.
- Please note that a foreign national does not automatically acquire British nationality through marriage to a British national.
- If you are marrying a Thai national, he or she will require a visa to visit or settle in the UK.
Applications for a visa to settle in the United Kingdom should be submitted at least three months in advance of the proposed date of travel. Please ask the Visa Section for further information.
NB: THE FEES MAY ALTER WITHOUT PRIOR NOTICE
1031 Wireless Road Bangkok 10330
Tel: (66) 2 305-8333 ext 2217, 2318, 2273 Fax: (66) 2 255-6051