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  1. #1
    Forum Dinosaur ไดโนเสาร์ Flip's Avatar
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    Default Marriage in Thailand 2017

    I'm writing this as I've just had to jump through more hoops than I've ever been asked to do before - hopefully I can save others from a lot of pain and anguish. My patience was tested to the limit today - I very nearly blew it! More on that later - possibly in a different thread.

    It seems that a lot of the paperwork required to register a Thai/Farang marriage was just not done in past years - hence why it only took 10-20 minutes. However after some Indian guy created some fake documents last year things have tightened up. I'm guessing here but I think the manager that accepted the fake documents probably got a ❇❇❇❇❇❇❇ing and orders were issued that documents must be checked and procedures followed. Some Amphur managers seem to have decided that they are not going to get caught out and are therefore not accepting any foreign documents whether they have been certified or not.

    Whatever.......things have changed. But........this is still Thailand and the procedure and requirements may be different at each registry office. Having gone through this over the last couple of weeks - below is what I believe to be the correct procedure and document requirements. I am fully aware that some of you will not have been asked to do all of this but this is for people going to Thailand to get married, not those who have already. If you don't need all of this you're lucky but be prepared.

    Marriage in Thailand can consist of one or two parts - a ceremony (usually followed by a party) and an official registration. For most Thai's (especially outside Bangkok) the ceremony holds the greatest importance but it is not officially recognised, either in Thailand or in the UK. Some Thai's never bother with the registration but if you intend bringing your wife to live in the UK or want your marriage to have legal status, you will need to register it at a District Registry Office (Amphur). You can of course, skip the ceremony and simply register your marriage.

    To register your marriage you will need to follow certain procedures and obtain certain documents namely: An affirmation of your marital status i.e. single/divorced/widowed, to show you are free to marry and a copy of your passport (main pages) to prove your identity. These documents must be certified by the consular section of the British Embassy in Bangkok. If you have been married before and are now either divorced or your previous spouse has died, you will need to take along your divorce certificate or your spouse's death certificate. These documents need to be in either English or Thai - otherwise they will have to be translated and the translation certified by the embassy of the country that issued them.

    But..........before doing any of that, I recommend you ask your intended to call the Registry Office of their choice to check that a). They are accepting foreign affirmations and b). what, if any, other documents they require.

    The official position is that you need the affirmation, known as an Affirmation of Freedom to Marry and a copy of your passport - both certified as true and correct by the British Embassy, translated and the translations then also certified as true and correct by the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs at Laksi, Bangkok. You should also have the services of a translator available when you visit the Registry Office. (Although,this is Thailand though and it is entirely possible (though unlikely) that a Registry Office may have other requirements.)

    A downloadable template of an Affirmation of Freedom to Marry is available on the British Embassy Bangkok's website. You are required to state which District Registry Office you wish to use and the date of your marriage on the form. Try to leave this a bit loose in case of problems or delays. Each Thai province has offices in its centre and in most sub districts. If for example, you state that you will get married at Nakhon Ratchasima Municipality office (Amphur Mueang) on 1st June, you will be stuck with that office and that date. If something goes wrong, this may be a problem. So, an alternative to that example would be simply, Nakhon Ratchasima and June. That gives you the option of any registry office in the province and any date in June. The Embassy consular staff may accept this or they may not but its always worth a try. In reality you will probably only be allowed flexibility with the date.


    So, the procedure is:


    1. Decide which district Registry Office you want to register your marriage at and when. Get your intended to call the office and check their particular requirements. In particular, ask if they need you to have a translator present at the registration.
    2. Book an appointment to have your affirmation and passport copy certified at the British Embassy Consular Services Section using their online booking service. Depending on what the registry office of your choice tell your intended, these should be the only documents you require.
    3. Take the certified documents to a translation service and have them translated into Thai language.
    4. Take the originals and the translations to the MFA at Laksi for certification of the translations. This service takes 3 working days after which you can go to collect the certified documents. (Most translation agencies offer a service whereby they will take the documents to the MFA and collect them for you for a reasonable fee. Personally, I would recommend doing this - Bangkok traffic can be hideous, do you really want to suffer that twice? Also, if there are any small mistakes in the translation that are spotted by the MFA, the agency can deal with them immediately.)
    5. Call the Registry Office and make sure the manager will be present on the day of your intended registration. The manager needs to be present for a Thai/Farang marriage.
    6. Go to the Registry Office and do the deed. This can take up to 2 hours so I recommend you get there early as they can get busy and the 2 hours can be much longer with the waiting time.


    Finally, your intended will have to take all their documents with them and they should know what they are. However, some Thai's can be a bit lax - if they have been married before or changed their name for example, they will need their divorce certificate and/or their name change certificate. If these documents have been lost, they will have to go to the police station and obtain a police report as a substitute.

    If all has gone smoothly, you are now officially married and your marriage has legal status in both Thailand and the UK.

    I started this procedure on a Friday and it worked well. I was at the British Embassy at 8am on the first Friday, got my documents to the translation agency before 11am (there was a technical problem at the embassy). That allowed the agency to get the translations to the MFA in the afternoon meaning the 3 working days started the following Monday and my documents were ready to collect on the Wednesday afternoon. That allows either Thursday (recommended) or Friday for the registration.

    Please: I don't want to hear from you telling me that you got married last month and didn't have to do all this - you were just lucky. Things can change from Amphur to Amphur and from day to day. This is for people intending to register their marriage in Thailand who should follow the proper procedure to avoid problems.

  2. #2
    Forum Dinosaur ไดโนเสาร์ Flip's Avatar
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    Having cooled down a little, I'll explain what happened yesterday which if nothing else, will keep you amused.

    You may have read elsewhere that I had a few problems getting my affirmation sorted and a Registry Office that was prepared to accept a foreign affirmation. So I drove down to Bangkok on Wednesday afternoon to pick up my affirmation and passport copy from the translation company who I'd paid a little extra to for them to handle the MFA bit. Had a night out in Bangkok and headed home Thursday morning.

    My wife had called the Registry Office the week before and made sure the manager would be there on Friday (manager needs to be there for a Thai/Farang marriage) so that was fine then. 10am Friday morning, my wife and I, our 2 witnesses and my interpreter arrived at Buriram Registry Office. "Sorry, big boss go to meeting today, cannot"..........what the hell? My wife explained that she's called about this but it made no difference. We were told that we could go to another Registry Office about 500m away.........OK no problem then. Except that big boss from this office had also gone to the meeting.

    We stood outside trying to decide what to do and I asked my wife to call another Registry Office - still within Buriram province but about 30km away. Yes, they had no problem marrying a Thai and a Farang, the manager was there and they didn't need an interpreter............bonus!!! Time was running short for the interpreter anyway so I told her she could go.

    Off we go to this office, 30km away. We wait about an hour for the manager to inspect our documents and when he does he proclaims that he cannot marry us. You have to state which Registry Office you will use on the Affirmation Form and I had stated Buriram Municipality - in other words, in the city. We were still in the jurisdiction of Buriram but we weren't in the city. Jeez, I'm starting to lose it now. Its around 35 degrees but it feels like 45, I have to get our marriage registered that day as I'm going back to the UK on Sunday - if I have to do it on the next trip I'll have to get a new Affirmation and passport copy............Laksi and all that stuff again!!

    The manager at this office says that although he can't marry us he'll call one of the 'big bosses' at the city offices and square things for us. He did and 'big boss' agreed to be back in his office by 2pm. We drive back to Buriram, go for lunch and then it hits me..........we're back in Buriram city so I need an interpreter!!

    I had a brainwave, head back to the hotel and speak to the boss's wife who I know quite well. She agrees to release one of the front office staff who speaks good English so we're sorted. At 2pm we arrive at the Registry Office with a full compliment. I am not proud of the fact but I've been married twice before in Thailand and I have never had to fill in so many forms. I've never had to use an interpreter or answer so many questions and the whole affair has been over in 10-20 minutes. I swear, we were there over 2 hours but we got it done in the end. I think its best to make this marriage work - I couldn't go through that again .
    Last edited by Flip; 18th Mar 2017 at 14:20.

  3. #3
    Veteran ผู้มีประสบการณ์ prikphet's Avatar
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    Makes me think I'm all the luckier, the Missus done the lot as with all Visa's - I'm not sure we'd have lasted if I had to do all of that.

    Good Luck with the rest of the process !

  4. #4
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    It makes our marriage in the UK seem tame by comparison. Good luck.

    It seemed to be so simple in Thailand less than a year ago. Just go to an Amphur, no appointment etc.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the guide.

    A few questions.

    1. If we are getting married in Bangkok. Do I have to state which registry office? Or can I just say Bangkok like the Affirmation specimin shows?

    2. Do you need an independant translator or can your intended do it for you? My intended call the registry office outside Pattaya and said my indented could act as interpreter there but we ar now going to be in Bangkok.

    3. Do you have the name of any agencies in Bangkok that will also deal with the MFA for us?

    3. We dont have any witnesses so are hoping the Amphur can provide. We think we will try to use LakSi but cannot find any contact info about it for my intended to call them Does anyone have any contact info?


    We also have limited time to get it all finalized in April because we lose a few days to Songkran.

    Thanks

  6. #6
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    Congratulations Flip, I hope it's third time lucky for you and the latest Mrs Flip.

    I have to say none of what you went through surprises me, I've never walked away from anything, from a simple trip to the Post Office to any part of getting married, and thought to myself 'that went well'. Everything involving paperwork or a Thai with the authority to stamp a piece of paper, just doesn't go as planned.

    I got married in Thailand three years ago when it was slightly simpler than it is now and I would never do that to myself again.

  7. #7
    Forum Dinosaur ไดโนเสาร์ Flip's Avatar
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    Devious,

    1. As I said in the guide - try to leave the location a little loose. By that I mean: In your case try to simply put Bangkok - that would leave you open to go to any Registry Office covered by Bangkok authorities. However, I'm pretty sure you will be required to state 'Bangkok Metropolis'. That still leaves you quite a few choices I believe.

    2. You need to agree that with the Registry Office you decide on. I was told categorically (by a Registry Office manager) that the law states that an interpreter must be present and that person must be independent. However, the same manager didn't require an interpreter at his office .......Thailand!!!

    3. I don't think it would be appropriate for me to give the names of translation agencies here - I have also lost the receipt from the one I used. However, there are several of them fairly close to the embassy in a place called Manhatun Plaza. I can try to find the name of the one I used or give you directions if you PM me. The agency charged me a total of 2600 baht for translating both my passport and Affirmation, taking them to Laksi and picking them up again. The embassy total bill for both documents was 3450 baht.

    4. (or your second 3 ) Again, you need to ask the Registry Office about the witnesses. They are supposed to know you both. Bangrak Registry Office used to get 2 members of their staff to 'help out' for a fee but as far as I know (unconfirmed), Bangrak is one of those offices that is currently refusing to accept Affirmations.

    I'm not being rude but you really need to get to grips with using search engines such as Google - that's where I got the following information from:

    http://www.bangkok.go.th/laksi/

    Tel: 02-982-2081

  8. #8
    Forum Dinosaur ไดโนเสาร์ Flip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rasg View Post
    It makes our marriage in the UK seem tame by comparison. Good luck.

    It seemed to be so simple in Thailand less than a year ago. Just go to an Amphur, no appointment etc.
    To be honest rasg, its not that bad. Its just getting to grips with the new way of doing things and as usual, the way Thai Amphur's are interpreting them. Yes I had my share of hassle but that's why I've written the guide - to try and save others that hassle.

    One thing I would recommend to anyone - and I don't mind doing this. If you call a Registry Office and they say they are not accepting British Affirmations, let me know. I'll pass their details on to the girl at the Consular Services Section at the British Embassy that helped us. Buriram originally said they weren't accepting British documents but they changed their minds after the call from the embassy. She wants to know who's refusing them and I'm sure she'll help others.

    The one thing the UK will never better.....the price of a wedding party in Thailand.......mega cheap compared to the UK.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flip View Post
    The one thing the UK will never better.....the price of a wedding party in Thailand.......mega cheap compared to the UK.
    Very, very true. My wife used to work in big hotel in Sara Burin and the price was £50 for food and non alcoholics for ten guests...

    We did it cheaply here in the UK. Sister's back garden by the river, booze bought on sale or return, food ordered and made and paid for by sisters as a wedding present etc. It was still £2K.

    Congratulations too!

  10. #10
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    I used a company called legallymarriedinthailand.com paid them 9000baht well worth it..they organised everything including translations, booking Amphoe, MFA, witnessing and paid for the taxis to and from the Amphoe in Bangkok.. and delivered everything to the hotel we were staying at. April 2016.

    Sent from my SM-G900F using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flip View Post
    Devious,

    1. As I said in the guide - try to leave the location a little loose. By that I mean: In your case try to simply put Bangkok - that would leave you open to go to any Registry Office covered by Bangkok authorities. However, I'm pretty sure you will be required to state 'Bangkok Metropolis'. That still leaves you quite a few choices I believe.

    2. You need to agree that with the Registry Office you decide on. I was told categorically (by a Registry Office manager) that the law states that an interpreter must be present and that person must be independent. However, the same manager didn't require an interpreter at his office .......Thailand!!!

    3. I don't think it would be appropriate for me to give the names of translation agencies here - I have also lost the receipt from the one I used. However, there are several of them fairly close to the embassy in a place called Manhatun Plaza. I can try to find the name of the one I used or give you directions if you PM me. The agency charged me a total of 2600 baht for translating both my passport and Affirmation, taking them to Laksi and picking them up again. The embassy total bill for both documents was 3450 baht.

    4. (or your second 3 ) Again, you need to ask the Registry Office about the witnesses. They are supposed to know you both. Bangrak Registry Office used to get 2 members of their staff to 'help out' for a fee but as far as I know (unconfirmed), Bangrak is one of those offices that is currently refusing to accept Affirmations.

    I'm not being rude but you really need to get to grips with using search engines such as Google - that's where I got the following information from:

    http://www.bangkok.go.th/laksi/

    Tel: 02-982-2081

    Thanks Flip, My inended is going to call Laksi this week.

    When you say copy main pages of passport can you clarify. I had only taken copy of the double photo page so far.

    Thanks
    Rich

  12. #12
    Forum Dinosaur ไดโนเสาร์ Flip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devious View Post
    When you say copy main pages of passport can you clarify. I had only taken copy of the double photo page so far.
    Yes, that's the pages I mean. You open both of them when you open one if that makes sense. One page has your photo to the right and a header of 'THIS PAGE IS RESERVED FOR OFFICIAL OBSERVATIONS' - the other has your photo to the left and your name and personal/passport details to the right.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by kenhulme View Post
    I used a company called legallymarriedinthailand.com paid them 9000baht well worth it..they organised everything including translations, booking Amphoe, MFA, witnessing and paid for the taxis to and from the Amphoe in Bangkok.. and delivered everything to the hotel we were staying at. April 2016.

    Sent from my SM-G900F using Tapatalk
    Me too, ours went that smooth I'd been married for three days and didn't even know..

    Sent from my XT1650 using Tapatalk

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flip View Post
    Yes, that's the pages I mean. You open both of them when you open one if that makes sense. One page has your photo to the right and a header of 'THIS PAGE IS RESERVED FOR OFFICIAL OBSERVATIONS' - the other has your photo to the left and your name and personal/passport details to the right.
    Thanks flip.

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