Marrying Abroad: Thailand Marriage Requirements
Most people from the U.K. visit Thailand because of its seductive beaches and amazing coastal landscapes. Places like Phang Nga Bay and the surreal hidden hong of the limestone islands have long been an attraction. For those choosing a wedding destination from the U.K., Thailand is an easy choice, despite the differences in rules and the sometimes challenging language barrier.
Once the wedding is over, the choice of honeymoon experiences available is astounding, from bustling Bangkok to Buddhist temples and monuments, wildlife parks, elephant sanctuaries, Thai food and a trip down the Mekong.
This article outlines the requirements for UK citizens looking to get married in Thailand, the documents and procedures required, and guidance on how to obtain translations or legalisations if any are required.
Getting married in Thailand
Thailand is a relatively easy country to travel to or from the U.K. although organising a wedding there that will be accepted when you return home will take considerably more paperwork than many other favoured destinations. You will certainly need the services of a professional English Thai translator. Like any wedding destination outside of the U.K., however, it’s important to plan the wedding and any legal requirements well before you travel and not to leave it too late.
Thailand Marriage Requiremets: Same-sex couples and Civil Unions
Civil unions or partnerships cannot be legally performed in Thailand and same sex marriages are not yet recognised or permitted, despite the relatively permissive social attitudes in Thailand to gay and LGBT individuals. The British Embassy cannot perform a same sex marriage or civil union legally in Thailand.
The law in Thailand may still be changed soon, as a bill before the Thai Parliament to permit same sex civil unions passed its initial stages in July this year (2020).
Opposite sex marriages in Thailand can be performed at a Thai amphur or registry office after initial documentation has been approved by the British Embassy in Bangkok or by the British Consulate in Phuket.
What documents do I need to get married in Thailand?
The process of having a wedding in Thailand if you are a foreigner is quite complicated. Firstly, you will need to apply for an affirmation at the British Embassy in Bangkok or the Consulate in Phuket. The affirmation is basically a declaration that you are free to marry. If you, or our partner has been married before, you will need to show proof of divorce or a death certificate of a former spouse. The affirmation costs £50 and once received must be translated into Thai by a certified translator.
The translated affirmation can then be taken to a local amphur, or marriage registrar, in the wedding destination. Once the amphur has officiated at the marriage, a document will be provided in Thai which should be taken to an office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for certification, as part of your Thailand marriage requirements. Once the certificate of marriage has been received, this will need to be translated from Thai back into English by a UK certified translator for use in the U.K. It would be sensible to have this translated certificate authenticated by the British Embassy or Consulate before relying on it for use in the U.K.
Your Thai marriage will be recognized in the UK as long as:
- you follow the correct process according to the law in Thailand;
- it would be allowed under UK law.
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- Civil Partnership: Not recognised;
- Same-Sex Marriage: Illegal;
- You will receive your Thai affirmation as part of the marriage pack, available on the UK Government website;
- You may need to register your marriage documents and marriage pack in Bangkok;
- Proof of income may be required for marriage in Thailand;
- You may not need to translate all of your documents in to Thai, but the majority of them will need to be legalised;
- You will need to translate your Thai marriage certificate(s) in to English;
- Marriage in Thailand is complex and it’s highly recommended that you contact the local district office in Thailand before your marriage;
- There are no official residency requirements.
Click here for more information about getting married in Thailand.