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An Expat’s Primer on Getting Married in Thailand


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Some expats come to Thailand as singles and end up meeting a Thai man or woman and decide to get married. Two single expats might also meet up and seek to do the same. Whatever the situation, getting married in Thailand is much the same as anywhere else. All you must do is follow a few simple procedures. Thailand is a great place to get married because there are so many exotic resort destinations for a newlywed couple to enjoy.

The First Documents

You will need to have 6 months validity remaining on your passport in order to get married. Make two photocopies of your passport's picture page and the current visa page. If you are marrying a Thai citizen, you won't need her passport but you will need her Thai citizen I.D. card and a copy of her house registration. Make two photocopies here as well.

The Affirmation and License

The next important document needed is the Affirmation of Freedom to Marry. This is just a document that makes the declaration that you are not currently married to anyone else. The document can be obtained from your home country's embassy in Bangkok. You will also need to get a certified translation of the document into Thai. There are plenty of translation companies around the embassies that will do this for you.

Once you have the affirmation and translation, you need to take it to the Legalization and Naturalization Division of the Department of Consular Affairs. This office is located on Chaeng Watthana Road along with other government offices. They will authenticate the documents for you which make them legal in Thailand. They have a same-day service charge or you can wait the two-day turnaround period. Remember to make at least two photocopies of these documents before going to this office as well.

Getting the marriage license is the last step to becoming legal to marry in Thailand. The marriage license is obtained at the district office of the local amphur where you are residing. They will need to see all of the aforementioned documents in order to issue the marriage license. Make a couple of photocopies of each.

The Dowry

If marrying a Thai lady, be prepared to pay what is known as "sin sot" which is Thai for "dowry". The dowry can be handled in several ways. If you are marrying a Thai lady from a poor family, look to pay any amount from a few thousand Thai Baht to a few hundred thousand. Sometimes, the bride's family takes it and sometimes they return it. It really depends on how much the bride's family needs the money. You will find that taking care of parents is a top priority for Thai ladies.

The Ceremony

There are many options for having a marriage ceremony in Thailand. If you are getting married to a Thai national, you can pretty much bet that it will be performed in a Buddhist wedding ceremony.

There are also vacation packages set around a marriage ceremony. In Thailand, there are many wedding planners to choose from and they can design a package that is right for you and your spouse that will make memories for years to come.

In any case, remember to register your marriage at your local amphur district office after the ceremony. If your wedding is performed in a Buddhist ceremony, you will probably have to do that yourself. If you buy a package from a wedding planner, they may take care of the registration for you.

The final step is to notify your home country of your marriage. This is simply done by taking your original marriage certificate to your home country's embassy in Thailand. They will take it from there and make sure it is registered with the appropriate office back in your homeland. Make sure you take a couple of photocopies as well. After all of this, you and your spouse can enjoy a wonderful life in the Land of Smiles.

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