Marriage Registration in Thailand
Marriage Registration in Thailand is a relatively simple process. It requires the couple to present a certified affirmation, an authenticated translation, and their passports.
Upon completion, the forms should be taken to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where they will be countersigned by an official. Then, the papers can be submitted to the district office for marriage registration.
Affirmation of Freedom to Marry
For foreigners who are planning to marry in Thailand the first thing they must do is obtain an Affirmation of Freedom to Marry. This is a document that is provided by the embassy of their country in Bangkok and is to attest that they are free to get married under Thai law.
Once the Affirmation has been issued it must be professionally translated and then legalized at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to be valid in Thailand. This can take some time so it is best to leave plenty of time before the wedding day.
The Affirmation will also need to be presented at the local district office (known as an amphur) along with other documents such as their identification cards and house registration certificate. The couple will then be registered as married under Thai law.
Translated Affirmation of Freedom to Marry
The ‘Affirmation of Freedom to Marry’ form must be translated into Thai, and there are many translation services near all embassies that provide this service. Once this is done it can be taken to a District Office (also called amphur or khet) to register the marriage.
Once the affidavit is translated you will need to present it along with your passports and proof of termination of any previous marriages (original divorce decree or spousal death certificate). Photocopies are not allowed. You may be able to do this entire process in one day, but without the express service at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs you will likely have to wait longer. This is why it is so important to prepare all documentation correctly in advance.
Thai Identification Card or House Registration Certificate
If a person with Thai citizenship is born overseas they will go through life with two birth certificates: the one from their home country and the Thai one. To obtain a Thai ID card they will have to apply at the Royal Thai embassy in their country of birth.
Normally it is expected that oversea-born Thai citizens are registered on the yellow house registration system or ‘tabien baan’ in Thailand and if they don’t have this they will have problems with official procedures like buying a car, opening a bank account or getting a power and phone connection etc.
In order to be added on the tabien baan a foreigner with a visa for permanent residency or long stay will have to bring down their passport together with their Yellow House Book Tabien Baan and also two Thai citizens who are able to vouch for them.
A marriage in Thailand is only legal once it is officially registered by a local office (called an amphur or khet). For US citizens this usually requires them to visit their embassy or consulate and sign a sworn statement of no impediment to marry. This could take up to 4 days. Wedding planners may have arrangements with embassies to speed this up but it is always best to allow a minimum of 4 days in Bangkok so you can be sure everything is taken care of.
For Thai nationals the requirements are much fewer. In most cases they will need to provide their Thai identification card and a house registration certificate. Both of these documents need to be translated and notarized. Then they can file them at their local amphur or khet.
Although a religious ceremony is part of any wedding, in Thailand this alone does not make it legally binding. It is only when the paperwork has been completed and officially registered at the local district office (known as ‘amphur’) that the marriage becomes legally binding.
Under Thai law, a person may also make a holographic testament (a will written entirely by the testator, including date of writing and signature) at the amphur. This must be done in the presence of two witnesses.
A good wedding planner will be able to speed up this process but you should expect to spend about 4 days in Bangkok working through the various embassies and district offices. If you plan to have children, we highly advise getting a pre-marital health check-up package at one of the leading hospitals in Thailand.