She’s Thai, I’m Malaysian. So we met, we fell in love, and we were engaged.
Last month, our wedding ceremony was finally realised. But that did not mark the end of our wedding, until the legal aspect of it was completed.
I’m sure there are many people like me – a Malaysian with a Thai better half figuring out how to go about marriage registration. The whole process can be a challenge; it is a stark difference and a lot more work compared to a couple of the same nationality registering marriage in their own country.
The last time I searched, information pertaining to this was a little scarce. So in this post, I will share my experience as a Malaysian registering my marriage in the land of smiles, and I reckon this will benefit some people out there who may chance upon my blog later on.
I was told that the process of registering marriage to a foreign citizen would be speedier if done in Malaysia. However, I had opted to register my marriage in Thailand as my partner and I were already in Thailand for our Thai wedding ceremony and it would be crazy for us to have to travel back to Malaysia (Putrajaya) for marriage registration. You may choose to register your marriage in whichever country that is most convenient for you.
Below I will walk you through the procedures of registering marriage in Thailand:
- A few months before my Thai wedding ceremony, I applied for the Certificate (Statement) of Marital Status from the National Registration Department Malaysia (JPN) and got them to mail it over to my home. This document is to certify if a citizen is single and eligible for marriage, or if there is any record of marriage being registered before. The validity of this certificate is 150 days after the date of issuance.
- After receiving the Certificate of Marital Status from the JPN, it will need to be certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia in Putrajaya, Kuching, or Kota Kinabalu before it can be used overseas. I got mine certified in Wisma Putra, Putrajaya, and the whole process took me under two hours (even though it took me a whole day to travel to KL and back on the same day, from Penang). With this, one can then bring along other documents to register his or her marriage in Thailand.
- Before going to the Embassy of Malaysia in Bangkok, I sent one of the officers via email the scans of 1) my certified Certificate of Marital Status; 2) the information page of my passport; 3) details of my residential address, occupation, and monthly salary, as well as the name, occupation, and address of two referees (my parents) – this was for them to prepare a certificate of affirmation to marry. All of these documents would be translated into Thai and certified for both the English and Thai versions. To avoid having to go to the embassy another time, contact the embassy to arrange for translation beforehand and inform them of the time you will be picking up the documents. After making payment upon the collection of these documents, do keep the receipt for later use at the marriage registration office.
- After obtaining the documents above, bring them to be legalised at the Department of Consular Affairs (Chaeng Wattana Road) of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand. Please note that for express service, you will need to submit your documents before 9.30am and it costs double the normal price; you will pick up your legalised documents at 2.30pm on the same day. Otherwise, regular service will take three working days. There is a new Legalization Division opened at the Khlong Toei MRT subway station from Monday to Friday between 9.30am to 3pm (as of August 10, 2018); however, this division only caters for regular service.
- After that, you can bring the relevant documents to any local district office called the “Amphur” or “Khet” to register your marriage. We did ours at Khet Bangrak Registration Office as it was one of the few district offices that requires no appointment for marriage registration. However, they will require two witnesses who are your family members or relatives. Documents required for marriage registration, as I’ve obtained from Khet Bangrak, can be referred to here. On top of the legalised documents, we also need to have my Thai partner’s registration card and house registration ready. I brought along a copy of our wedding invitation card, which came in really handy because the officer eventually made use of and filed it as evidence in support of our marriage registration. For my case, no Thai interpreter was required. We arrived at Khet Bangrak at as early as 6.30pm and an officer at the entrance area was helpful and kind enough to assist us through the paperwork. We became the first couple of the day to register our marriage at 8am.
- After the Thai marriage registration, the whole process is not done yet! The marriage registration will have to be reported to JPN within 6 months, and this can be done either in Malaysia or via the Embassy of Malaysia in Bangkok. For us, we opted to do it in Bangkok and the documents required for this can be referred to here. Please be mindful that if one chooses to do this in Malaysia, JPN may require a different set of documents. If done at the Embassy of Malaysia, the Thai marriage certificate and the spouse’s Thai birth certificate will have to be translated into English and then legalised. Both procedures can be done at the Department of Consular Affairs at Chaeng Wattana Road.
- If the Thai spouse decides to stay in Malaysia for a long term, the application of Spouse Visa can be done together with the submission of the Marriage Registration Application form (JPN.KC 06) at the Embassy of Malaysia. Both applications would take three working days to complete. On the third day, both the husband and wife need to be present at the embassy to sign some documents. Only then, the whole process is considered complete.
The whole process may seem difficult and complicated, but frankly speaking, it is rather straightforward. It only requires a bit more time compared to those of normal marriage registration. Essentially, what makes everything so time-consuming is the back-and-forth translation and having to run errands across three different locations in the hustle and bustle of Bangkok.
But trust me, all the time, money, and effort put into this is going to be worthwhile. After all, this is not something you would want to do for a second time!