Tuesday, October 12, 2010

International marriage in Thailand - blessing or bureaucratic nightmare?

Getting married can stressful and worrisome as it is, but add into the mix a thick layer of international law and regulations to turn a headache into a throbbing migraine. But, with the right amount of determination (after all, you’re in love) and a forest’s worth of photocopied documents, it can be silky smooth!
The documents that will be required of the Thai spouse are as follows:
  • Identification Card
  • House registration
  • Proof that the person is single
Documents required by foreign party:
  • Copy of their passport & arrival card
  • Affidavit regarding the marital status of the person from the respective embassy
  • A translated copy of the affidavit to Thai certified by an approved Foreign Ministry Translator
Foreigners are strongly advised to check with their embassy first to see if there are any documents required by their embassy for the marriage to go ahead.

With these documents, it is then possible for both parties intending to marry by giving consent to each other to take each other as husband and wife publicly in order to have it recorded by the registrar. The main ways of giving consent in Thailand are:
  • By affixing signature of the person giving consent in the registrar at the time of registration of the marriage.
  • By a consent document with the names of both parties along with signature of the person giving consent
  • By verbally declaring the marriage in front of two witnesses.
It should be noted that the application for registration for marriage can be filed at any district office or sub-district office nationwide regardless of the birthplace of the couple. When the marriage has been completed the female is required to get a new Identification card with 60 days. However, if it is not possible for the couple to file for marriage at the district or sub-district office, a registrar can travel to any location on behalf of the district office, per the couple’s request.

The marriage will be in effect only when registration and processing has been completed and the marriage registration certificate has been obtained as evidence. Now congratulations, you are successfully and (more importantly), a legally married couple!

Foreigners Marrying in ‘The Land of Smiles’

On the other hand, Thailand is universally praised for its white-sand beaches and beautiful oceans. With such a paradise at hand, it’s no wonder that so many couples from abroad come to Thailand to tie the knot in the glowing red sunset on the white beaches this country is so famous for. Thankfully, the process of registering marriages where both parties are foreigners is easy.

The foreigner couple in question must go to their embassies in Thailand in person with their respective passports and arrival cards in order to confirm that they are single. This declaration must then be taken to an official translation service to be translated into Thai. Once the declaration has been translated, all documents (including copies of passports) must be taken to the Legalization Division of Consular Affairs Department where the consular’s signature will be authenticated. This process usually takes 2 days but allow 4 days just to be safe. When processed these documents can then be taken to the registrar’s office where marriage certificates will be issued.

Marriage in ‘The Land of Smiles’ has been completed, now time to buy a house!

Written by Benja Henderson, Support, Sutlet Group Co., Ltd.