Getting Married in Thailand for Muslim and Non Muslim Couples
Despite being a predominantly Buddhist country, the Kingdom of Thailand remains a favorite marriage destination among marrying couples with various religious and cultural backgrounds. The reason is that, Thailand hosts a bevy of religious institutions to carry out marriages following the foreignersí religion. This holds true with the case of Muslim couples who come to Thailand for marriage.
Getting married in Thailand under Islamic Laws for Muslim marrying another Muslim or a Muslim marrying a Non-Muslim follows a simple and straightforward procedure. The process entails visiting the National Islamic Center in Bangkok where the marriage takes place. You need to make an appointment in advance as the center is not open all week. If the Muslim is marrying a Non Muslim, the latter party has to be converted into Islam first through a ceremony that lasts for 10-20 minutes. Then the marriage can be initiated.
What are required?
Essentially, the following documents are required for the marriage.
b. Divorce certificate (if applicable)
c. Photos (1.5x1.5, 9 pcs)
For nationalities of Kuwait and Bahrain, a letter of consent from your embassy in Bangkok is required as an additional document.
Some embassies in Thailand require their Muslim citizens to get married under Islamic Marriage first prior to their marriage under Thai law. The marriage takes place in a mosque at the Islamic center so you need to dress appropriately and this is the same with your guests if you are bringing some. The ceremony lasts for an hour or two with the marriage officer issuing a Marriage Certificate at the end of the ceremony.
There is a Service Fee for the Islamic Center which currently is THB 5,000. There is also transportation fee as the Islamic Center is quite far from central Bangkok. And if you are using a law firm to assist you, there is a service fee for them as well.
Using a Law Firm to Assist You
To make things easier, itís prudent to enlist the services of a competent legal office to assist you with all the procedures involved. The law firm can liaise with the Islamic Center and your embassy beforehand should you need the marriage in Islam prior to your marriage under Thai Law. This will save you a lot of hassle and worries as your concerns for the marriage registration are being taken care of properly.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Arunrat Hanpol
Atty. Arunrat Hanpol is a graduate of the Faculty of Law at Thammasat University in Bangkok. She is a licensed lawyer and was admitted to the Thai Bar in 2009. Her practice areas include Family Law, Property Law, Commercial and Corporate Law; Labour Law; and dispute resolution/arbitration.
She is presently a candidate for the LL.M. degree (major in Business Law) at Thammasat University.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.