For many Thai women, marriage to a foreigner has become an imaginable and culturally scripted aspiration. The relationships they sustain with foreign men transform their lives, requiring significant personal investments of time and resources.
Before marrying in Thailand, foreigners must obtain a verified affidavit from their respective embassy stating that they are free to marry under Thai law. These documents must then be translated to Thai by a reputable translation service and taken to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for legalization.
Under Thai law, marriage can only be registered when both parties are of legal age (17 years or older). In addition, the couple must present an affidavit featuring notarization from their embassy or consulate indicating they are free to marry. This affidavit should also feature certified copies of any divorce decrees or death certificates.
The affidavits and translation should be taken to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bangkok where they will be legally authenticated. (This process compares the signatures of the consular officials with their records to ensure the documents are genuine).
Once the affidavits have been legalized, they can be presented at any Thai district office, known as an “Amphur” or “Khet”, to register the marriage. The couple may choose to have a ceremony at the Khet, which is optional. In many cases, the groom’s family will offer a dowry to the bride’s family as a sign of respect and to acknowledge their social status.
Affidavits to Marry
A couple planning to get married in Thailand must complete a lot of paperwork. This can be a long process and could turn a vacation into a working holiday for those without local assistance.
The first step is for the couple to obtain sworn Affidavits from their own Embassy or Consulate (also known as Letter of Affirmation to Marry). Each embassy has slightly different requirements for this documentation which must be completed in person.
Once these documents are obtained the couple can go to the District Office (Amphoe) and file for their marriage. Once this is done the couple will receive a Marriage Certificate which must be translated into English and authenticated at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bangkok before it can be used to report the marriage to the home country. It is also highly recommended that the couple have a prenuptial agreement drawn up by a qualified lawyer before their wedding. This will protect their assets in case the marriage sours.
Translation of Affidavits to Thai
The requirement for a foreigner to marry in Thailand is the presenting of an affidavit from their Embassy or Consulate. The affidavit features notarization and certifies that the couple is free to get married per Thai law. In addition, if either or both parties were previously married it is necessary to provide original copies of the divorce certificate and/or death certificates.
The document is translated into Thai and then LEGALIZED at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bangkok. The process normally takes 1 day. Once the marriage is registered in the Thai records the husband and wife are legally bound to each other. If the lady wishes to change her name or title she will have to go to her local amphur to do this as only her local amphur can legally change her Ta bian ban.
Getting married in Thailand creates legal binding effects which can only be canceled under very special circumstances. This is why it is advisable to always consult a good lawyer for this matter.
For many, getting married is a symbol of love and a moment of happiness to share. For others it is a legally binding contract that creates obligations under Thai law which can be difficult to revoke once created. It is important to consider the legal implications of a marriage in Thailand, particularly for individuals seeking a residence visa and/or property ownership rights. Seeking advice from a lawyer can help to ensure that all aspects of the marriage are properly addressed and prevent future complications.
After the affidavits have been translated to Thai and authenticated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, both partners need to go to their local District Office (known as an Amphur or Khet) to register their marriage. The couple will then receive a marriage certificate in Thai which can be used to prove the marriage in future.