Integrity Legal

11th August 2009

Thailand is a very large and somewhat polyglot Kingdom. There are many different dialects of Thai as well as many religious and cultural traditions present throughout the Kingdom. Keeping track of the comings and goings of the Thai citizenry can be a difficult task, luckily there are Thai Immigration authorities deal with these concerns. However, a more important concern, particularly for the common Thai person, is keeping track of the vital statistics records for those resident in the Kingdom of Thailand.

A Thai Amphur office (spelled Amphoe or Ampoe) is best described as a civil registry office. The office is tasked with keeping a record of Thai marriage, Thai divorces, births in Thailand, deaths in Thailand, recordation of Thai prenuptial agreements, and in limited circumstances recordation of Thai wills. In a way, the Amphur office is something of a “Jack of all trades,” office. Another accurate name for this office is a “civil registry.”

Even though the Amphur’s legal mandate does not involve registration of Title deeds for Thai property or Real Estate, a really major part of the Amphur’s role in the Thai bureaucracy involves Thai household registration. A Thai household registration booklet, also known in the Thai language as a Tabien Baan (or Tambien Baan), records the place of a household and the head of the household. It further records how many people live in that household and their names and ages.

The Amphur office maintains the database of this information and is the office that must be used in order to change information listed on the Tabien Baan or when adding a new member to the Thai household registry. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible for foreign nationals to obtain a tabien baan or be registered on an already existing tabien baan. That being said, the only type of Tabien Baan that a foreigner may be listed on is a yellow tabien baan which is different from the blue tabien baan. A blue tabien baan is reserved for Thai citizens and foreigners with Thai permanent residence. It should be noted that the ease of getting on a yellow tabien baan will likely depend upon the office with jurisdiction over the household because local office procedures can differ and this could result in relative difficulty for the prospective registrant.

Foreigners can get married at a local Amphur office regardless of citizenship. However, the procedure for getting two foreign nationals married depends upon each person’s nationality. A person’s nationality and their Embassy’s protocols can affect the marriage process. It is wise to do research or contact an attorney before beginning the marriage registration process.


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