Marriage in Thailand is a legal and binding agreement between two people. It creates a number of rights, duties and responsibilities for both parties including an obligation to provide maintenance to each other, a legal relationship with children born, and consequences for property that they own.
A marriage in Thailand is not legal unless it has been registered at the local District Office (known as an amphur or khet). However, you do not need to be married in Bangkok to have your wedding registration done; you can file this at any amphur nationwide.
The marriage process is fairly straightforward but it can be time consuming. First, you need to decide on a date for your wedding and make an appointment at the local District Office, known as an amphur or khet. You will need to bring your authenticated affirmation, certified translation and copies of your passports.
You should also be sure to have a translator with you to ensure that all of the documents you are submitting are translated into Thai and are notarized before being submitted. This will make the entire process a lot less stressful.
Normally, a foreign couple will require at least four days in Bangkok to complete the marriage paperwork and registration. This is a time-consuming process but it can be well worth the effort to have your Thai wedding done right.
When you arrive in Thailand for your wedding, the first thing that you should do is to make an appointment at the local District Office to get your marriage registered. This is the only way to legally marry in Thailand and will be recognized by the embassy or consulate that you have visited.
The District Registrar will then register the marriage and issue you with a Marriage Certificate. The registration will be valid for a period of six months and can be renewed for another six months at an additional cost.
There is no requirement to have a civil ceremony before you are registered for marriage, although this can be a good idea if you want a more traditional wedding. There are also religious ceremonies that can be performed in addition to a civil one, but you cannot have either of them officially registered so they will not be recognised in the country or abroad.
Both the groom and the bride should be at least 17 years of age or, if the laws of their home country allow it, be of marriageable age. They should be free from any criminal convictions or psychiatric illness, which can hinder their ability to function in a marriage.
If the bride and groom are not of marriageable age, they may have to seek permission from a court to marry before they attain this legal age. This can be a lengthy process so it is important to prepare for this and ensure that both the bride and groom are ready to commit to a life-long commitment.
Once the marriage is legalized, both parties will be required to submit an Affirmation of Freedom to Marry that must feature notarization from their embassy or consulate. This must then be translated into Thai and be legalized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bangkok.