Well done to the pair of you..
I have used the information from this forum to help me apply for 2 successful visit visa applications for my Thai girlfriend and also to gather information when we decided to get married in Thailand. I have just arrived back from Thailand a married man and thought I would post my experience of the process. I hope this helps other people who are looking to get married in Thailand and that they don't have to encounter the same issues I did.
(Please note this is just my experience so please do not take everything as gospel because I am sure things can/will be different for each marriage application. Myself and my wife had never previously been married so additional documents will be needed if either of you have been married previously)
Step 1: British Embassy
*Documents needed: Affirmation to Marry
First of all please don't make my mistake and book the appointment at the embassy as soon as you can. Unfortunately when I went to book (after already booking my flights to Thailand) most of the appointment slots had been taken so I was left with a small window to get everything done. The bookings can be made through the UK Gov website which also has some good information on the documents required.
My appointment was booked for 8am on Friday morning. I arrived at 7am to make sure I was at the front of the queue. This is really not necessary as by 8am there were only 5 other people there waiting so save yourself some time in bed. First problem I encountered...they did not have my appointment on their booking sheet!! I spent 20 minutes begging and pleading to be allowed inside which, after a lengthy phone call to someone inside, I was told I could enter but would have to wait till 11am after everyone else had completed their appointments. *Make sure when you book you receive a confirmation email of your booking and take a copy of this with you to the embassy*
While waiting inside it was obvious that most of the appointment slots had been booked up by agencies and lots of names that were called were not there. This was lucky for me as I was eventually seen around 10am. I handed over the affirmation which the lady said needed some changes, she asked if I had used an agency which I said I had not, she then asked me to use the computer in the corner to make the changes and send to her email. (Note that everyone I heard that said they had used an agency were told to go back to the agency office to make the changes, and nearly every affirmation that morning needed changes). Although you can get a blank version of the affirmation from the UK Gov website it is good to have a copy on your email so that you can access it quickly and make those changes if necessary.
Once the affirmation was complete I paid the fee of 3,300b and was told to wait for my name to be called. This only took about 20 minutes. You are asked a few questions, such as you are happy with the information you have provided being correct, and then you sign the affirmation and it is officially stamped. Step 1 Complete
Step 2: Translation of the Affirmation
*Documents needed: Affirmation to Marry stamped by the Embassy
I decided to get my affirmation translated at the Thai MFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) as this seemed the best way to get a legitimate translation. A taxi from the UK Embassy takes about 45 minutes (depending on traffic).
The translation office is on the 1st floor of the MFA (directly in front of you as you head up the stairs). If you arrive early enough in the day you can get it back the same day, however, I would advise that you assume this will be a next day pick up as they do get very busy. *Beware of agencies trying to offer you quick translations, it is very much a risk not worth taking* The fee is 500b and all you need to hand over is your stamped affirmation from the Embassy. The lady did ask my fiancee to write her address and her name in Thai and also check the pronunciation of my name to make sure the translation was correct.
There are many translation places in Bangkok but I will explain in the next section why it is worth getting the translation at the MFA.
Step 3: Ministry of Foreign Affairs Stamp
*Documents needed: Personal Information Form
Your Passport Photocopy x1
Affirmation to Marry + Translation
We were told that the MFA opens at 7.30am and again I got there early (about 6.20am) and a queue had already started to form. I would advise that you get there early to make sure you can get the express service (to get your documents back the same day). The office is up on the 3rd floor and when we walked up to the office there were already people sat there waiting! We asked someone why this was and they said if you speak to the security guards and explain you are there for the affirmation, they will allow you up at 7am to start getting a ticket (the 7.30am start time is for the people waiting to go up to the 1st floor). There is a form you will need to fill out with just some basic details which you can pick up from a table near the front desk (to save time you could pick this up when you go to get the translation completed). Once you have this you can go to the front desk and hand over this document, a photocopy of your passport and the stamped affirmation and translation. Ask for the express service and you will be given a ticket. The ticket numbers start to be called at 8am. Once your ticket is called you go into a little room, someone will skim over your documents (took about 30 seconds) and then send you back out to again wait for your number to be called again. Once this happens you are asked to hand over your documents, pay the fee of 800b and then wait for your name to be called to collect your receipt. You will be told to come back and check at a certain desk number in about 3-4 hours.
There is a coffee shop and a restaurant down on the ground floor. We went down for some food and 2 hours later walked back up only to hear my name being called. I went over to the desk and they said there was a problem with the translation! 1 number on the date had been written down wrong so I ran down to the translation place on the 1st floor (where I had my translation done) explained the change that needed to be made and within 30 seconds I had the new translation as it was still saved on the computer. (This is why it is an advantage to have the translation done at the MFA itself). I ran back up and handed over the new translation, they changed the time on my receipt and told me to come back in 3-4 hours! Basically any problem means your document goes back to the bottom of the pile, even though she had the document back within 2 minutes. Anyway, after waiting a further 2 hours I continued to ask for my documents every 20 minutes until they eventually went in search of my documents and I finally received the 2 stamps I needed (after a 7 hour wait!).
You now have all the documents needed to get married
(I would advise you make photocopies of your affirmation and translation as the Amphur Office will take the originals).
Step 4: Amphur Office
*Documents needed: Your Passport Photocopy x1 (Signed)
Your Fiancee Passport Photocopy x1 (Signed)
Your Fiancee ID Card Photocopy x1 (Signed)
Affirmation and Translation
ID Card Photocopies of your 2 witnesses (Signed)
(I understood that we needed a photocopy of my fiancee's Tabian Baan but was never asked for it, this may be different in other Amphur Offices so I still think it is worth getting. My fiancee has never been married before so maybe this is just needed if your fiancee has been previously divorced).
*We had 2 Thai friends as witnesses but I have read that you can use people from the office as witnesses for a small fee, I am not sure whether this is the case here*
We got married at the Amphur Office in Phuket (located in Phuket Town). We phoned in advance to check if we needed to book and was told no, but they could not guarantee that anyone would be on site to marry us, they would only know a day in advance so it is worth checking. We arrived about 8.30am and it was not too busy. The whole process took about an hour and a half. It is not a romantic setting or process by any means so make sure you are aware of this. We had an interview with the 'head offical' and asked some questions about our relationship, mainly questions to my fiancee. Once he signed the documents we went back to the front desk, paid a fee of 200b and received our marriage certificates. You will also receive a document in Thai for your fiancee to use if she decides to change her name.
Congratulations you are now married
The whole process can be done relatively stress free in 4-5 days.
*As I have noted previously, this was just my experience and the documents I was asked for during this process as of January 2016. Please do check if things change, as they generally do, and also peoples differing circumstances may require different documentation*
I hope this helps a few people with the marriage process and feel free to ask any questions you may have and I will do my best to answer them.
Now time for me to start the settlement visa process
Well done to the pair of you..
Ha Ha.......quite a shock isn't it? In the UK we tend to view a registry office wedding as an alternative to a church service. Friends/family come along and its a bit of a celebration - confetti, etc. etc.
To Thai's it is simply an administrative process like registering a birth, the real wedding is the ceremony. In Thai/Thai marriages they often don't bother with the registration at all.
This is very useful information! Thank you so much for taking the time to do it. I now have it as a sticky note.
I was part way through my GFs settlement visa and the intention was to marry in the UK this year. She has her language test next Monday. TB test within a couple of days of her arriving back in Bangkok in a couple of weeks. Foolishly I thought that FLR came with the Marriage Settlement visa and it was only the info from the people on this forum that put me straight. Thank goodness!
After finding this morning that yet another £1500+ would disappear for my account for FLR, for me, getting married in Thailand is a no brainer. Now I have had it explained to me.
The question was this. Would I rather shovel yet more to the UK government or have a two week holiday in Thailand, get married and give the people in her village a party to remember.
I will have everything prepared for the Settlement visa to take with me to Thailand so the UK party will have to take place later in the year after we are married.
I did this for my first marriage (wife married before) as my Mum wanted a big family "wedding".
Independence Day 31st January 2020
Thanks for sharing your experience and congratulations. looking likely that I'll get married later this year and its useful reading about others experiences with the process, required paperwork etc.