Wedding Ceremony vs. Marriage RegistrationIn Thailand, these two serve entirely different purposes. The wedding ceremony is usually held by parties for the purpose of honoring the family, as well as the religious and traditional beliefs which the family is accustomed to. Having the ceremony itself does not mean your marriage is already legally valid and binding in Thailand. This is where Marriage Registration will come in.Marriage registration in Thailand is the act of formally recording the union into the Registry of the country. It is registration which marks the start of a legal marriage in Thailand.  The Necessary DocumentsAside from one’s passport, the other important document required for a foreigner marrying in Thailand is his Affidavit of Freedom to Marry. This Affidavit must be secured from one’s Embassy in Thailand after his arrival in the country. Once issued the Affidavit, have the same translated to Thai and certified at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before heading to the local district office for the marriage registration.Translation and CertificationEach of the parties is given a Certificate of Marriage after the union is formally registered at the district office. Since the certificate is in Thai, the foreign party will need to have the Certificate translated into English before the same can be used for reporting to his home state.  After the translation is done, the document must be brought to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Certification.Reporting of MarriageSome nationals are required to report their marriage at their country’s Embassy in Thailand. Ask your Embassy about this when you apply for the Affidavit of Freedom to marry so you know if you need to come back for the reporting. If you need to report your marriage at your Embassy, present the certified translation of your marriage certificate for this purpose.

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This article was provided by Siam Legal, an international law firm with offices in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hua Hin, Pattaya, Phuket, and Samui. Siam Legal publishes legal guides to getting married in Thailand on its website.

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