If you are planning to get married abroad you will need to ensure that your marriage will be recognised when you return home to your home country. Usually this will mean that both countries will have to legally recognise the marriage. If you plan to get married in Thailand then this is definitely the case. You will be required to to obtain an affirmation to marry in Thailand.
At this point i am going to put a disclaimer into this post as the rules and regulations for getting married can change at a moments notice and the following is intended as a guide to how i completed my affirmation to marry in Thailand. You should check for the official guidelines on your local government websites.
What is an affirmation to marry?
This is quite a simple answer really. It is a sworn statement that declares that you know no legal reason why you can not be married. But there is more to it than just theat. There are a number of things that you have to declare, most importantly you should not be in a marriage already.
What does the sworn affirmation cover?
The affirmation to marry in Thailand only covers a limited number of questions but they are all extremely important. The list includes things such as your name, your parents names, your address (this should be you usual address in the UK), your occupation, your passport details and a statement that you are not currently involved in another marriage. You may also be required to provide details of any dependents from previous relationships.
You will also need to provide details for you proposed partner in Thailand. The details for them should include their name (as shown on their passport or ID card) address ((as shown on their passport or ID card), their passport or ID card number and that they are a Thai National.
The next thing to include is a statement that both of the 2 people mentioned above are over the age of 18. There are some serious legal ramifications if you enter into a marriage with a minor and this will protect you against this.
References to 2 individuals who know you should also be included in your affirmation to marry. The detail should include the names and addresses of both individuals.
This final piece of the affirmation is your statement that to the best of your knowledge the information is correct above.
It is important to note that you should not sign your affirmation until you are at the counter in the embassy. After all this is a sworn statement and should be done in the presence of a consulate official. An example of the affirmation on the gov.uk website can be found here.
Where to begin when completing the affirmation to marry in Thailand
When you are looking to start the process of completing your affirmation to marry in Thailand you will first need to make an appointment at the embassy. Some embassies will allow you to turn up on the day, but some may require you to make an appointment. The UK embassy will require you to make an appointment. A link to the gov.uk booking site can be found by clicking here.
It is important to note that the UK embassy only has appointments at specific days of the week. These often get taken up very quickly, so check the availability as soon as you can.
Before you arrive at the embassy
Once you have your appointment booked at the embassy, you will need to ensure that you meet a few requirements. One of the lesser known requirements is that you should have been present in Thailand for 3 days prior to your appointment. This will be checked at the embassy to ensure that you have entered the country legally. I would recommend leaving any visas in your passport on the page where you have had you entry stamp placed. This will save the consulate official time in searching for it later.
You will be advised to print off your affirmation before you turn up for your appointment. You should try and leave this until as late as possible as the details required can change. This will mean that you will need to complete the affirmation again. But do not worry, the UK consulate building has a couple of computers that will enable you to complete this quickly and email it directly to their office. They will then print this out for you to check. Remember to check for any tiny mistakes of this as this will be your sworn statement.
Where is the UK Embassy in Bangkok?
Where to stay if you are visiting the UK Embassy in Bangkok?
If you are looking for a great place to stay whilst you are waiting for your appointment at the embassy, i would certainly recommend the Moonite Boutique. The location is only 400 yards away from the embassy and is within walking distance of everything you will need to complete the process making this an ideal place to stay. A link to this hotel on Agoda.com can be found by clicking here.
On the day of your appointment at the UK Embassy
When the day of your appointment arrives there a few things i would advise you to do. The first is arrive at least 30 minutes early. As you will need to sign in at the embassy along with your partner and pass through the security gates. At this point you will be required to hand any any mobile devices that you have on you you. These will be placed into a secured area and you will be handed a token to ensure that the correct phones are returned to you on your departure. You will then need to pass through the metal detector where you will be given a form to complete. You are now free to go to the consulate office inside the embassy. This whole process can take around 10 minutes to complete so be prepared.
Complete the form you have been given.
On the form that you have been given you will be asked to provide details of the services that you require from the consulate office. Again this will take around 5-10 minutes to complete so allow time for this. If you are just using the service to get your sworn affirmation to marry i would advise getting a certified copy of your passport completed as well. This will cost an extra £25 but you will need this later when you want to register your marriage so i would advise doing this all in one visit. This form will also include the costs that you will need to pay.
Now you can take a seat and wait to be called. You should listen carefully for your name as you do not want to miss your slot. When you are called you should have all paperwork ready to be presented - including partners id or passport. The consulate official will check the paperwork and if there are any issues you will need to rectify these before carrying on with the affirmation. As i said earlier there are 2 computers in the main waiting area, so should you find an error you can easily rectify this this prior to the process continuing.
The official will ask you to take a seat again while they validate the information you have supplied. Once this has been completed you will be called back and asked to check the information one more time prior to being finalised. At this point the official will advise you of the amount you will have to pay. The affirmation will cost around £50 and the certified passport will cost around £25. This amount will be converted into Thai baht so allow for some fluctuations in the costs. My total amount payable was 3225 THB on the day.
You can pay this amount in either cash or via a credit card. Please check that your card will be accepted prior to arrival if you do not have the correct amount in cash. The consulate official will issue you with a receipt and ask you to take a seat again.
At this point you may be tired of being asked to wait to have the paperwork checked. But this is all part of the process. Once this has been done you will be called to a another counter where you will swear in front of a consulate official that the information is correct. You will then be asked to sign you affirmation. Once you have done this you will be asked to take a seat again.
You will be called back to the counter where you will then be presented with your officially stamped documents. You should check these thoroughly before leaving the counter as you will need to rectify any mistakes. After you have done this you are now free to leave the embassy. You should collect any belongings from the security office and then start the next part of the process.
The next step you will need to undertake is to get the documents translated into Thai. There are a number of translation offices located in and around the embassy. You may even be approached as you exit the embassy by workers from the translation offices as you leave the embassy. It is important to not that you should use a certified translation company to complete your translations. This will ensure that there are no issues when you take the documents to the ministry of affairs later.
How much do the translations cost?
The cost for this service can depend on how many documents you need translating into Thai. A quick estimate would be around 600 - 900 baht for 2 pages to be translated. I would not advise haggling over a 100 baht or so at this point as you need to have these completed. If you do not agree with the price there are lots more places to have this completed.
Once you have found your preferred translation service you will be advised when you can have these collected. Some may do this then and there for you whilst others may have a backlog. If you are in a hurry to complete this you may be able to pay a bit extra and be prioritised higher up the workload.
A service that i found at the translation service i used was that they would take the documents to the ministry of affairs and have them officially stamped for me. However this does come with an additional cost. I was quoted 4500 THB (around £125) for this service, but once i looked through what it did and the time it would save me i decided that this would be a good idea. Enjoying my time in Bangkok was more important than the cost of this service.
But i want to take translated documents to the ministry of affairs myself, can i do this?
This is by no means uncommon as the service previously mentioned can put some people off. If you wish to do this you can simply take your translated documents to the ministry of foreign affairs.
Where is Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bangkok?
A taxi to here will cost around 150 baht from the wireless road area. Depending on traffic this can take a while to get there.
Why do you need to do this?
This is the final piece of making the affirmation legal. The paperwork will need to be certified by the a Thai government official. If you want your marriage to be legally recognised in your home country you will have to complete this step. You will need to take your translated documents to the ministry of affairs and have them checked by an official. There is a nominal cost for this service, but be warned you can be waiting for some time to complete it. You should allow for a few hours for this to be completed depending on the time of day you arrive.
Once the documentation has been checked you will be advised when you can collect your paperwork. This normally takes around 2 days to complete. Alternatively you can have them posted to you, although this will take longer.
Once you have completed all of this you will be free to register your marriage in your partners local amphur office.
Hopefully this has been of some help to you.