Integrity Legal

27th November 2009

In the United States of America it is often necessary to obtain a marriage license before getting married. For those living in Thailand marriage can be a major issue and a commonly asked question is: do I need a marriage license before my Thai fiancee and I can execute a legal marriage in the Kingdom. Strictly speaking, a marriage license is not necessary, but there are certain formalities that must be met before a couple can be legally wed in Thailand.

In cases where a Thai wishes to marry a Thai, the process is relatively simple because the couple must simply go to their local Amphur office (also known as an Amphoe office or Civil Registrar’s office). Once the couple arrives at the Amphur they must present their Thai Identification cards and a marriage can be registered relatively quickly.

In cases where a Thai Citizen wishes to marry a foreigner (also known as a Farang in the Thai language), the requirements are somewhat more stringent. This is due to the fact that the foreign national must prove up his or her single status. This is usually done by traveling to the foreign national’s Embassy or Consulate. Generally, an Embassy or Consulate can provide documentation that proves the applicant is legally free to marry. For American Citizens, such documentation can be obtained at the American Citizen Services section of the United States Embassy in Bangkok or the US Consulate in Chiang Mai. Once this documentation is obtained it must be translated and legalized before the Amphur will accept it for marriage registration purposes.

Occasionally, two foreign nationals seek to register a Thai marriage. In cases such as this the couple must obtain the previously mentioned documentation proving single status. In a case where both parties are of different nationality, then different procedures may be required as two separate Embassies must be contacted. The requirements for obtaining documentation for a marriage in Thailand are not uniform. Each Embassy has its own protocols regarding what type of documentation it will issue and what supporting documentation must be submitted before the Embassy will certify an applicant as legally free to marry. With that in mind, those interested in registering a Thai marriage should learn what their Embassy requires to issue a single status affidavit.

To sum up, although Thai officials do not require a marriage license before a marriage will be registered, they do require that the parties prove that they are both free to marry. Proving this can be difficult for some foreign nationals as each Embassy has their own rules for issuing affidavits of single status.

On a related note, those wishing to execute a Thai prenup should register it and the marriage simultaneously. Otherwise, the Thai courts may later refuse to recognize the agreement in the event of divorce.


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One Response to “Do I need a Marriage License to Get Married in Thailand?”

  1. Single Status Affidavit says:

    Occasionally, the Embassy Consulate offices do not provide such services or are located far away from where the marriage will take place. It as become a common practice to prepare the Single Status Affidavit for U.S Citizens prior to their departure abroad. In some instance, when the foreign party (U.S Citizen) has been married and then divorced an authenticated copy of the divorce decree may be requested by the foreign authorities.

    Getting al the documents before hand saves a lot of time and in many cases money. For instance, when the Embassy or Consulate refuses to notarize the Single Status affidavit one will have to fly back to the States and get the documents here. Another important aspect of marriage overseas is to know the entire requirements beforehand. The reason for this is the fact that the Consulate nor the Embassy will be able to authenticate Divorce Decree or any other document. They simply do not have the authority to do so.

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