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Guideline to Foreigners Getting Married in Thailand

A great number of foreigners have been flying to Thailand to celebrate and register their marriage in the Land of Smiles. Some would be marrying their Thai sweethearts, while some would go to Thailand to marry their likewise-foreigner fiancee.

Whatever the partnership may be, a little coachingfor the foreign party will probably do good help. Here are some basic reminders for foreigners who will be marrying in Thailand.

Wedding Ceremony vs. Marriage Registration
In Thailand, these two serve entirely different purposes. The wedding ceremony is usually held by parties for the purpose of honoring the family, as well as the religious and traditional beliefs which the family is accustomed to. Having the ceremony itself does not mean your marriage is already legally valid and binding in Thailand. This is where Marriage Registration will come in.

Marriage registration in Thailand is the act of formally recording the union into the Registry of the country. It is registration which marks the start of a legal marriage in Thailand.  

The Necessary Documents
Aside from one’s passport, the other important document required for a foreigner marrying in Thailand is his Affidavit of Freedom to Marry. This Affidavit must be secured from one’s Embassy in Thailand after his arrival in the country. Once issued the Affidavit, have the same translated to Thai and certified at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before heading to the local district office for the marriage registration.

Translation and Certification
Each of the parties is given a Certificate of Marriage after the union is formally registered at the district office. Since the certificate is in Thai, the foreign party will need to have the Certificate translated into English before the same can be used for reporting to his home state.  After the translation is done, the document must be brought to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Certification.

Reporting of Marriage
Some nationals are required to report their marriage at their country’s Embassy in Thailand. Ask your Embassy about this when you apply for the Affidavit of Freedom to marry so you know if you need to come back for the reporting. If you need to report your marriage at your Embassy, present the certified translation of your marriage certificate for this purpose.

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