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Marriage in Thailand

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Whether you want to elope and ride off into the sunset, or gather your loved ones on a beach in paradise, Thailand can offer you the ceremony of your dreams. You can even exchange vows in a hot air balloon or underwater — thanks to Thailand's rich culture and beautiful scenery, the possibilities are endless.

However, it is important to understand the legalities and processes involved, depending on whether you are marrying a Thai national or another foreigner. Securing legal assistance from a local attorney is arguably the easiest way of ensuring that your marriage is legally recognised in Thailand and overseas.

Are you eligible?

To get married in Thailand, both you and your partner will need to fulfil the following criteria:

  • Be older than 17 years of age.
  • Be sane and judged competent.
  • Be unrelated.
  • Be unmarried. In the event where one of you is widowed or divorced, the marriage can only take place after 310 days of the previous spouse's death or divorce, unless a child has been born.
  • Be in Thailand for at least three days before you marry.

Required documents

As a foreigner, you will need to prepare the following documents:

  • A copy of your passport and your arrival stamp
  • An affidavit from your embassy confirming your current marital status. This is sometimes referred to as an Affirmation of Freedom to Marry. All affidavits must be translated to Thai and be certified by an approved Foreign Ministry translator.

Register your marriage

In Thailand, both parties must accept the other in matrimony before a registrar, who will record the marriage. You will need to sign the register and sign your consent on a marriage certificate, as well as give a verbal declaration in the presence of at least two witnesses.

If one of you is Thai, an application to register your marriage can then be filed at any district office in the country. This will cost THB400 and can be done by the couple or by the registrar if organised in advance. If the woman is Thai and changes her surname, she will be required to file for a new identification card within 60 days.

If you are both foreigners, you will need to present yourself in person with your passports at your home embassy in Thailand. You will be required to complete declarations attesting that you are single and free to marry in accordance with Thai law, and a consular officer will then register the marriage. You will need to have the completed declaration translated into Thai, and you will then need to take all the required documents, translations and passport copies to the legalisation division of the Department of Consular Affairs for it to be signed. This normally takes two days.

Once this has been done, the documents and translations are then ready to be submitted to the District Registrar, who will register the marriage and issue the marriage certificate in Thai.

It is advisable to allow time for the paperwork to be processed in Bangkok to avoid any stress, so this is a great excuse to explore the country further.

Marrying a Thai national

If you are a foreigner who wishes to marry a Thai national, then you may quickly become aware or the Thai dowry system, commonly known as sin sod, which is deeply rooted in the culture. You will need to negotiate this with your bride’s parents, but lots of dowry prices are set very high and range from THB100,000 to THB1 million. However, the good news is that it is usually a symbolic gesture and many parents choose to return this to the married couple after the wedding, as a way of helping them to start their new life together.

It is important to note that marriage between a foreigner and a Thai national does not automatically entitle the foreigner to an unlimited right to remain Thailand. At best, it simply renders the foreigner eligible to apply for a marriage visa. It is also important to be aware that marriage to a Thai national does not entitle a foreigner to personally own land in Thailand. If a foreigner buys a piece of land with their spouse, they are required by law to sign a declaration stating that they do not have any rights over the property and that all funds used in the transaction belong to the Thai spouse.

 Useful links:

Marriage Registration

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.
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