Does My Thai Marriage Count in My Home Country?

When it comes to marrying a Thai national and ensuring the legality of your marriage, several considerations and procedures need to be taken into account, especially if you plan to live outside of Thailand. Understanding the legal implications of your Thai marriage in your home country is vital, and we are here to guide you through this process. In this article, we will delve into the legal aspects of Thai marriage registration, the recognition of marriages abroad, and the procedures for obtaining a marriage visa, providing you with essential information to navigate this important milestone.

Legal Validity of Marriage in Thailand

This is a common question, especially for foreigners marrying Thai nationals. Ensuring your marriage is considered legally valid may be crucial if you intend to live outside of Thailand. It is also a crucial consideration for those that intend to have a destination wedding in Thailand and want to ensure their union will be legally recognized when they travel back to their home country.

Wedding ceremony in Thailand.
Wedding ceremony in Thailand.

Recognition of Thai Marriage Abroad

Thankfully, Thai marriage registration is legally recognized in other countries. All that is required is to ensure proper registration has been done in Thailand and to have the documents translated and certified at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before you leave. This will enable them to be legally used abroad. Be sure to also check with the embassy of your home country in Thailand. Some countries may require certification of your marriage documents from their embassies in Thailand before you can report the union in the home country. Overall, Thai marriage registrations are considered legal worldwide but do make enquiries to ensure you have your paperwork in order and know what steps need to be taken.

Legal Age and Compatibility of Rules

You may also need to ensure that the rules applied in recognizing marriages in your home country and Thailand are compatible. For instance, in Thailand, a couple must have attained the legal age of 17 years to file a marriage registration without parental consent. In some countries around the world, a couple must have attained 21 years to be legally married.

Returning to Your Home Country

If you are intending to return to your home country with your new spouse who is a Thai national, you will also need to be aware that they may not automatically be granted entry or a visa. Be sure to make enquiries with your embassy beforehand if your intended spouse is not already legally allowed to be in your home country or if there are plans to switch and apply for another type of visa.

Destination Wedding Considerations

Also, if you are planning a destination wedding in Thailand, consult with your wedding planner on how to handle the necessary documentation. The wedding package should include arrangements for the wedding planner to liaise with translation providers, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the required embassy. It should take about a week to complete the necessary paperwork and legalize the marriage registration.

Legal Procedures: Affirmation of Freedom to Marry

If you are a foreigner wanting to get married in Thailand, ensure you secure an affirmation of freedom to marry from your home country. You can typically apply for this from your home country’s embassy in Thailand. The document should be signed by an embassy official and the applicant. Once the document is prepared, you will need to have it translated into Thai and authenticated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Marriage Registration Process

Having a wedding ceremony alone is not enough to legalize the marriage. The marriage needs to be registered at a district office of Amphur. Under Thai law, your marriage legally starts on the day you register it at the district office.

  • To register the marriage, you will need to provide the affirmation to marry documents and their authenticated translation, and a copy of your valid passport.
  • If your partner is a Thai national, they will need to submit their Thai ID card and house registration certificate.

Once processed, you will be given a Marriage Registration Certificate. This certificate will be in Thai so if you intend to use it for legal purposes abroad, obtain a sworn translation from a translation bureau.

Validity of Marriage Registered Abroad in Thailand

What if I got married abroad? Will my marriage be valid in Thailand?

In our experience, when getting married abroad and faced with questions about the validity of the marriage in Thailand, it’s crucial to consult legal experts who have knowledge and understanding of the processes involved in registering foreign marriages in Thailand. This can help ensure that your marriage is legally recognized in Thailand and that you can navigate any potential challenges smoothly.

Legal Recognition of Foreign Marriages in Thailand

If you legally get married abroad, your marriage can be just as legally recognised in Thailand. However, while you do not need to register the marriage here, we have found that it is important to report the marriage at the district office or Amphur of your Thai partner’s hometown and have their status updated.

Reporting the Marriage

Be sure to visit the Thai embassy in the country you got married and have them certify or authenticate your marriage certificate. When you travel back to Thailand, you can then take this document to the district office to update your status. You will be issued a document called Kor Ror 22 that serves as proof of your legal marriage registration.

Thai marriage certificate.
Thai marriage certificate.

Marriage Visa for Foreign Spouses

If you are married to a Thai national, you may be able to secure a marriage visa or a Non-Immigrant O visa. This visa allows foreign spouses to live with their Thai spouses.

Application Process

The process can begin before you travel to Thailand. You should apply for a Non-Immigrant O visa from the Thai embassy in your home country. It is typically valid for 90 days and you may apply for single or multiple entry visas.

When you arrive in Thailand, be sure to immediately file a TM. 87 form. You will also need to provide certain documentation including:

  • Passport with at least six months’ validity
  • Photocopies of your passport
  • TM. 6 of departure card
  • Three passport-size photographs
  • Proof of finances including at least 400,000 Thai Baht in a Thai account solely held by the applicant
  • Copy of your spouse’s Thai ID card
  • Copy of your spouse’s house registration or Tabian Baan
  • Proof of address, including a map of the location
  • Six photographs of the couple inside and outside their Thai home
  • Original Thai Marriage Certificate and Affirmation for Freedom to Marry if locally married, or Kor Ror 22 document and copy of your marriage certificate or registration if married abroad. If married abroad, ensure your marriage documents are certified or authenticated at the Thai embassy in that country and have the documents translated and certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Thailand.

Application Process at the Immigration Department

When going to the immigration department to process this application, both the applicant and their Thai spouse must be present. Given the various documents that are required, it is advisable to consult with a visa agent who can review them before submission and ensure all is in order. It is not unusual for such applications to fail because of minor errors so working with a professional can help ensure the necessary paperwork is in order and maximize the chances your visa will be approved on the first attempt.

Conclusion: Understanding the legal implications of marrying a Thai national and the process of ensuring it is recognised in your home country is pivotal. From registration to visa applications, thorough preparation and adherence to legal requirements are essential. Seek guidance from relevant authorities and professionals to navigate the complexities and avoid potential challenges. Your commitment to a successful and legally recognised union is vital, and proper understanding and preparation will contribute to a smoother transition and life together.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Yes, Thai marriage registrations are considered legal worldwide, but it is advisable to check with the embassy of your home country in Thailand for specific requirements such as document certification.

In Thailand, a couple must have attained the legal age of 17 years to file a marriage registration without parental consent. It’s important to ensure the rules in your home country align with those in Thailand.

Your Thai spouse may not automatically be granted entry or a visa to your home country. It is advisable to make enquiries with your embassy beforehand, especially if your intended spouse is not already legally allowed to be in your home country.

Having a wedding ceremony alone is not enough to legalize the marriage. The marriage needs to be registered at a district office of Amphur. Under Thai law, your marriage legally starts on the day you register it at the district office.

If you legally get married abroad, your marriage can be legally recognized in Thailand. However, you will need to report the marriage at the district office or Amphur of your Thai partner’s hometown and have their status updated.

If you are married to a Thai national, you may be able to secure a marriage visa or a Non-Immigrant O visa. The process typically begins before you travel to Thailand by applying for a Non-Immigrant O visa from the Thai embassy in your home country. It is advisable to consult with a visa agent to ensure all necessary paperwork is in order.

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