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Marriage in Thailand

Transcript of the above video:

So marriage in Thailand is a little bit dissimilar to the system say in the United States in that Thailand utilizes a pretty  much pure and simple law system with respect to the registration of marriages and divorces; for divorces I urge the viewer to go ahead and look at the divorce video which is also on this channel. But with respect to marriages, basically as I said, it’s not exactly similar to the way we do in the west or the common law system I should say, and here are the major differences. No matter what kind of ceremony an individual has, if they get married in a church or temple or whatever, at the end of the day, for the purposes of legal marriage registration, one has to go to a civil registrar and register, actually both people have to go to a civil registrar and register for a marriage. So unlike say in the United States where a pastor can marry someone at the church or a priest can marry some one at the Catholic Church, whatever, that system, that paradigm doesn’t really apply here. When getting married in Thailand, one needs to go ahead and register at the civil registrar.

Some things to keep in mind with respect to marriage in Thailand from a foreigner’s standpoint, and I am not going to get specific on what nationality, just some overview stuff here.  In many ways, marriage and divorce, especially in the case of non-contested divorce, is relatively straightforward in Thailand. I mean, it usually takes an afternoon and “boom!” you are married or “boom!” you are divorced. It’s not contested. In Thailand though, with respect to a foreigner who is wanting to get married to a Thai national or 2 foreigners trying to get married, things can get a little more complicated due to the fact that they are gong to be needing some documentation from their embassy or representative consulate or whatever you want to call it here in Thailand, specifically, usually here in Bangkok, so it‘s usually an Embassy or it could be a consulate or consulate general or something like this or an honorary consulate. You are going to need some kind of documentation from your home country which basically stipulates that you are legally free to marry in the Kingdom of Thailand. It should be noted, in my experience, Germany was especially difficult to deal with as I believe that there are some more localized documents that are necessary in order to register a marriage between a like say German national and a Thai national. To be clear, I am not giving out any specific information on this. Just in the past, these are things I have seen but it’s something to keep in mind; because it can cause delays. What I mean is, for example, an American that’s getting married here in Thailand, they basically need to go and get documentation from their embassy that basically says they’re able to marry. Then that documentation needs to be translated into Thai, then that translated documentation needs to be legalized by the consul affairs sections of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here in Bangkok. For more information about notarizations and legalizations, there’s another video on this channel regarding those matters but what I am bringing up right now is, this is not a one day affair. One needs to go to the embassy, get the specific documentation and it may differ depending on one’s marital history, then that documentation has to be again, translated and legalized and that’s going to take a little bit of time and then after that’s all done, presumably, and we’re going to presume the other spouse is a Thai, the Thai and the American can then go ahead and go to what’s called an Amphur, or the civil registrar and get married. And once that marriage has been legalized, that’s a legal Thai marriage pursuant to Thai law and it’s recognized here nationally, so it’s something to keep in mind. A couple of quick things. With respect to same sex marriages, same sex marriages are not legal in Thailand so it’s not possible to marry your same sex partner in the Kingdom.  For information regarding same sex marriage and US immigration, I urge you to check that video on this channel. Further information with respect to marriage, once the marriage is legalized, then it can have implications for US Immigration matters.  For example someone who has gone ahead and filed for a K-1 fiancee visa, if they have registered a marriage in Thailand, they have now rendered themselves ineligible to receive K-1 benefits because they’ve gotten married and simply getting a quickie divorce in order to rectify it doesn’t really work. And the other thing to think about is marriage visas for the United States and fiance visas have different processing times, so before  getting married, it may be wise to go ahead and discuss the matter with an attorney to sort of figure out if it’s going to give you the benefits that you want in the short term or if it’s going to cause delays to possibly an immigration case, these are all things to keep in mind.