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An Expat’s Guide to Getting Married in Thailand

Getting married is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and getting married in Thailand as an expat would be an extraordinary moment. With its natural beauty and colorful cultures, even if you tie the knot in busy Bangkok, Thailand will give you an unforgettable experience.

But getting married in a foreign country can also be confusing for an expat, and this is where this Pacific Prime article comes in.

Going for a Pre-Marital Health Checkup

Although getting a pre-marital health examination is not a requirement for getting married, we still strongly advise it, especially if you have any plans to start a family. Leading hospitals in Thailand offer a variety of pre-marital health check-up packages that can help you identify any fertility, health, and inheritable issues. Knowing this ahead of time will give you the opportunity to clarify and resolve any issues you may have before getting married.

Pre-marital health check-up packages are offered by many hospitals in Thailand including Bumrungrad and Samitivej. For example, at Bangkok Hospital, a pre-marital health package costs THB ฿6,500 for the bride and THB ฿5,900 for the groom. 

A Word About ‘Marriage Registration’ and ‘Marriage Ceremonies’

Now for the fun part: the marriage ceremony! Thailand is a popular destination to get married in due to its breathtaking venues – from serene beaches to rustic mountains and everything in between. What’s more, the country also has a rich culture and heritage to partake in. The icing on the cake? It also offers excellent value for money, which you’ll find in the form of wedding ceremony packages catering to different religions (or no religion) offered by leading hotels.

However, it’s important to point out that any religious or non-religious marriage ceremony you have in Thailand won’t be legally recognized either in the country or anywhere else – unless you also have a marriage registration, which is what we’ll cover in the next section. You can choose to have a marriage ceremony with or without marriage registration, or skip the marriage ceremony altogether and only have the marriage registration.

Your Three-Step Guide to Registering a Marriage

You might be wondering, how do I register a marriage in Thailand? Whether you’re a foreigner marrying another foreigner, or a foreigner marrying a Thai national, registering a marriage in Thailand involves a lot of paperwork, and running around to and from your embassy/embassies. 

You also need to be resident in Thailand for at least 3 days before you register the marriage and allow at least 1 day for the paperwork to be processed. Here’s a three-step guide for you to follow:

Step 1: Determining Whether or Not You can Get Married

To start with, you should check whether or not you and your partner are free to get married under Thai law:

  • Both parties should be over the age of 17 or should be of marriageable age in accordance with the laws of your home country. Note that the court may allow couples to marry before attaining such age if there is an appropriate reason for it.
  • Both parties should not be an insane person.
  • Both parties should not be blood relations in the direct ascendant or descendant line, or be brothers or sisters of full or half-blood.
  • Both parties should not have the same adoptive parents.
  • Both parties should not have a legal spouse at the time of marriage. For women whose husband has passed away or whose marriage has been terminated, the marriage can only take place 310 days after the event, but before such a period if:
    • A child has been born during this time
    • The divorced couple remarries
    • There is a certificate showing that the woman is not pregnant
    • There is a court order allowing the woman to marry

Step 2: Gathering All the Required Documents

The next step is to gather all the required documents, which will differ based on whether you’re a foreigner or a Thai citizen.

Foreigners (If you or your partner are foreign citizens):

Foreign citizens will need to obtain an ‘Affirmation of Freedom to Marry’ document from their embassy. The process of obtaining one varies depending on your embassy – so make sure you check with them. Typically, you’ll need to present your passport. If you’ve been previously married, you’ll also need to provide documents attesting to the legal termination of your previous marriage(s).

The ‘Affirmation of Freedom to Marry’ document that you’ve received from your embassy must also be translated into the Thai language. There are a number of translation services in the country, but you’ll need to make sure you choose a certified translation service that provides you with a certified stamp. Finally, take this translated document to the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs to get it legalized.

Thais (If you’re marrying a Thai citizen):

The good news is that there are fewer documents and steps involved for Thai citizens who want to register a marriage. They will simply need to provide their Thai identification card and their housing registration certificate. What’s more, if they have been previously married, they also have to show proof that the marriage has ended. This could be in the form of proof of divorce or proof of spousal death.

Step 3: Registering Your Marriage

You’re one step closer to registering your marriage. You’ll need to head to a local district office, also known as an ‘amphur’ or ‘khet’ in Thai.

The local district office is responsible for officially recording marriages, and this step means that your marriage to your spouse is legally binding – both in Thailand and overseas. To register the marriage, you simply have to submit all the aforementioned documents to the local district office and bring along two witnesses. The local district office will then issue you with a marriage certificate in Thai. You may translate the certificate into English and/or your native language.

Next, you’ll need to visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to file your translated document. This officially records the marriage. You must also report your marriage to your home country by taking the documents to your embassy. And congratulations! You are finally done with the paperwork and you can celebrate by throwing a dream wedding, and celebrating with your family and friends!

Pro tip: If you have married a Thai citizen, then you may also be able to apply for a Non-immigrant O visa to stay in Thailand. Learn more about Thai visa requirements in 2021!

Planning a family and Securing Maternity Insurance

After your pre-marital check-up and marriage registration, you may decide that the time is right to start a family. Raising a child is not cheap – starting with the cost of maternity care in Thailand and sending your child to an international school for the best education. At least there’s a clever way to save money on the former – a good maternity insurance plan.

Maternity insurance will enable you to access the best private hospitals in Thailand and get top-notch healthcare during your pregnancy – all without needing to pay out of pocket. That being said, the catch is that virtually all maternity insurance plans come with a ‘waiting period’ of at least 10 to 12 months. Effectively, this means you need to secure maternity insurance at least 10 to 12 months before you get pregnant.

More articles to read: 

Contact Pacific Prime Thailand Today!

Pacific Prime Thailand is a leading health insurance broker, and has over two decades of experience helping expats navigate the healthcare and health insurance landscape in the country. Whether you’re looking for insurance for yourself or insurance for your expat family, you’re more than welcome to reach out to us. We can also advise you on your maternity insurance options should you require that.

Our expert insurance advisors will help you determine your health insurance needs and provide you with a tailored plan comparison, so that you can select the most appropriate plan. In addition to this, you’ll also get a whole host of support services completely free of charge versus going directly to the insurer. This includes administration assistance, insurer liaison, claims support, and so much more!

Contact us today to begin your insurance journey!

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Senior Content Creator at Pacific Prime Thailand
Suphanida is a Senior Content Creator at Pacific Prime, an award-winning global health insurance and employee benefits specialist.

With over 5 years of experience in the field, Suphanida spends the majority of her day synthesizing complex pieces of insurance-related information and translating this into easy-to-understand, engaging, and effective content across a variety of media such as articles, infographics, whitepapers, videos, and more.

Suphanida is also responsible for planning and publishing three whitepapers released annually by Pacific Prime: The State of Health Insurance Report, The Cost of Health Insurance Report, and The Global Employee Benefits Trends Report. Additionally, she handles the LinkedIn profiles of Pacific Prime’s Founder and CEO, as well as Global HR Lead.

Suphanida’s strengths lie in her strong research and analytical skills, which she has gained from her BA in Politics from the University of Warwick and Erasmus Mundus Joint MA in Journalism from Aarhus University and City, University of London.

Being of Thai-Indian origin and having lived, studied, and worked in Thailand, the UK, and Denmark, Suphanida also has a unique, multicultural perspective that helps her understand the struggles of expats and globetrotters.

Outside of work, she enjoys traveling to new places and immersing herself in different cultures.
Suphanida Thakral
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