Getting Hitched in Thailand Without an Agent
Rebecca and Justin are two teachers currently living and working in Asia. In this post Rebecca shares how to get married in Thailand!
Me and my
partner husband both teach English in Vietnam, and last month we took a break and decided to get married in nearby Thailand. Now we’re going to share how you do it yourself without needing an agent!
Getting married in Thailand is easy peazy lemon squeezy once you know what to do. This said, the process can be excruciating if you miscalculate timelines, or make a misstep during the process.
We spent hours scouring the web to ensure that our overseas marriage would be smooth and legitimate – Hello internet. Many of the online resources offered great advice and near complete checklists, but we swiftly discovered that there was no single complete guideline for our purposes. Overseas marriage process confusion = hurty brain.
Our gift to you this day? A 100% clear composite list of what you need to do if you aim to get married in Thailand as a foreign couple.
To Start: Go to your embassy website!
Each and every country has different specifications for legalizing marriages from overseas. Thankfully, Thailand has branded itself globally as an exotic international wedding destination. This means that most countries will agree that ‘Yes, a wedding performed in Thailand is valid’.
To guarantee that your marriage is legal at home, be sure to know your country’s requirements. Both the Canadian and American Thai Embassy websites offer a list of required documents and procedures. Print this list! You will need it.
[EXPAND Step 1) Book an appointment with your embassy Notary .]You will be notarizing an affidavit. This affidavit states that you’re not some rogue foreign dink who is already married, you have not faked your own death, and you are not a minor trying to shirk marriage laws by heading overseas.
This document is called the ‘Affirmation of Freedom to Marry’. Your embassy provides the form (The American and British embassies have one online that you can print out, but Canada does not.). Fill out the form, then pay $50 for a notary.[/EXPAND]
[EXPAND Step 2) Get your affidavits translated into Thai. ]You will need to bring your passport, and also a photocopy of your passport. To be safe, bring 3 photocopies. There are several translation offices in and around Wireless Road, which is where most embassies are located.
You can have a document translated in 2 hours or less if need be, but you’ll pay extra for this expedition. Standard translation time is 1-2 business days. Expect to pay anywhere from 200-1000 baht, depending on the service.[/EXPAND]
[EXPAND Step 3) Head to the Department of Legalization. ]Take your translated affidavits along with a photocopy of your passports to the Department of Legalization.
They will confirm that your affidavit/identity/intentions are legal in accordance with Thai law, and they will ‘authenticate’ your papers. This process includes authentication of your notarized form and verification of your translated copy.
Now you can go to the amphur! The amphur’s office is the courthouse. This is where you will be married in the eyes of the Thai government. This part is entirely unromantic, very bureaucratic, and simply implies ‘paperwork’.
Note: Bring 2 witnesses. If you can’t, they can provide them for you, but you may have to wait longer. 1-2 hours later: Whoop! Whoop! Now you’re married…In Thailand…Mostly. You still have to register your marriage.[/EXPAND]
[EXPAND Step 4) Take everything to the Registrar’s Office!]This packet should include:
- 2 photocopies of your passport
- Both the hard copy and a photocopy of your Visa for travel to Thailand
- Both parties’ photocopies of your notarized forms stating that you are eligible for marriage in Thailand
- The original translation into Thai + photocopy
- The certified translation into Thai + photocopy
- Your Thai Marriage Certificate[/EXPAND]
[EXPAND Step 5) Head to the Translation office, again!]Bring everything! – You need to have it all translated back into English.[/EXPAND]
[EXPAND Step 6) Back to the Department of Legalization.]Bring everything that was freshly translated in the last batch. Heck, be safe and bring it all![/EXPAND]
[EXPAND Step 7) One final visit to your embassy Notary. ]Bring Money ($20 for Canada, $50 for US), your marriage certificate, and certified copies from registration and legalization.
In this final step, your government authenticates and certifies your marriage. Now you are no longer single, and will officially be filing your taxes under ‘married’ status.
Note: In total, this process took us a week. You should also note that you have to be in the country a minimum of three days prior to getting married.[/EXPAND]
[EXPAND Step 8) High five your new Husband/Wife] [/EXPAND]
You’re all done! Now, GO ENJOY YOUR HONEYMOON, YA CRAZY KIDS!
Now it’s time to really enjoy yourselves and take a well deserved honeymoon before we go back to teaching English. If you’re stuck for ideas what to do, check out our last blog post to see what our honeymoon was like.
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