Although there are similarities in marriage registration in Thailand for different nationalities, the differences involved can be very evident. These facts can become very confusing for foreigners who are looking forward to enter to a new phase in their lives in Thailand.
For those who have done their research, they may have come across the “betrothal ceremony” in which they do not necessarily have to go through as this is largely a ritual and not really required for everyone to undergo.
For couples to be “legally” married in Thailand, they need to be eligible for marriage basing on the following:
- Either of them must be above 17 years of age or should be at marriageable age basing on the applicable law of their country. Additionally, a court may allow them to get married if there is a compelling reason to do so.
- Must be at the right state of mind or competent to make important decisions.
- They should not be in blood relations, be it ascendant or descendant, should not be siblings in half or full blood and should not be within the degree of prohibited relationship.
- In case of both being adopted, they should not have the same adoptive parents.
- Both should be free to marry. If previously married, proof of termination of marriage should be presented (divorce certificate or death certificate if previous spouse has since died).
However, if the woman’s marriage has been terminated either by death of the previous spouse or divorce, she can only get married 310 days after the date of termination of marriage. Nonetheless, she can get married within 310 days if:
- She gave birth to a child within such period.
- If the person she is going to get married is her previous spouse whom she had a divorced with.
- A medical certificate that proves she is not expecting a baby.
- A court order has been handed down allowing her to get married.
If both parties are of foreign in citizenship/nationality, they need to present the following:
- Copies of their passports attached with their arrival cards.
- Official certification from their respective embassies that they are free to get married.
- Translated copies from their country’s official language to Thai of the embassy issued certificates/affidavits (of their marital status). The translation should be approved by a Foreign Ministry translator.
- Both parties must do their respective declaration that they have the intention to marry each other. This must be done publicly with the presence of the registrar.
- Their application for registration of marriage can be submitted any district offices all over Thailand.
- If the wife happens to be a Thai and the application for registration of marriage has been submitted at the district office with jurisdiction over her birthplace, her title and last name will be changed by the district officer.
- If difficulties prevents them from registering their marriage at any of the district offices in the country, they may choose to request the registrar to have their marriage registered at any location provided that this will be done with the supervision of the district office.
- The registration of marriage can only be considered as complete if and when the couple will be issued with a Marriage Certificate.