After a month of travel through Europe, our engagement in Wicklow, Ireland and wedding in Bali, Indonesia we arrive in Bangkok City to complete the legal part of the marriage. By far the most tedious of proceedings but also the most important. Legal marriage in Bangkok involves a three-part process; first obtain an “Affirmation of Freedom to Marry” from the British Embassy and translate it opposite, Second have the document legalised at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Third complete the legal marriage at a local registry office. Fun…? Three tedious processes making up three mind-numbing days.
1. Affirmation of Freedom to Marry (British Embassy)
For the ‘Affirmation of Freedom to Marry’ we fill out the form at home to then bring to the British Embassy. No arranged time or appointment. The British Embassy is found at 14 Wireless Road, Bangkok, a short walk from Ploen Chit Skytrain (BTS) and opens Mon-Fri for only 3 hours between 08:00am and 11:00am. Bring passport (UK) and pay the required fee (2,990 Baht). The queue takes roughly one hour. Once received the document you will need it translated to Thai. Walking back to Ploen Chit BTS station the Wave Building, 1st floor, has offices who will translate the document. Cost 300 Baht (200 Baht for translation, 100 Baht for an official stamp). Eager touts will pester you along the way. For the ‘Affirmation of Freedom to Marry’ form check the British Embassy Website. Phone (+66 (0) 2 305 8333).
2. Legalising the Document (Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
By far the worst of the three processes. My original plan was to go directly to the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs after completing the translation. To do this you have to start early and arrive at the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs before midday. Any later and the document will not be completed that day meaning having to return the following day. There is an alternative option where the Translation Office do the legwork. It takes three days for return but maybe worth it if working with no time constraints. I opt to hold off and instead visit early the following day. I travel from central Bangkok to the Skytrain’s Mo Chit station which is closest to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (123 Chaeng Wattana Road, Laksi). Another option is the Subway (MRT) to Chatuchak station. From here an 80 Baht taxi fare finds the offices. Straight up the stairs, up more again and here you will fill in a form and hand it to the counter along with Translated Affirmation of Freedom to Marry Document and a copy of passport. For same day return you will need to pay the Express Service Fee (800 Baht). I am told it takes 3-4 hours. I return in 3 hours to be told it will take 3 more hours. They are either way off on time estimates or they completely forgot to start mine. In total I wait 6 hours. Plastic chair. Quick bites at the Coupon Food Court. Quite possibly the dullest day of my life.
3. The Legal Marriage in Bangkok (Registry Office / Khet)
Thankfully we were already wed in Bali. Marriage days don’t come less romantic than in Bangkok khets. Queues, plastic seats, watching digits pass on a number board. For the Legal Marriage we opt for the central Khet Bangrak Registration Office (80 Baht taxi from Sukhumvit). No appointment. We turn up late afternoon and after an hour or so photocopying, signing and queuing we are officially married. The Bangrak Khet is best for Western marriages and the process is relatively simple. For two witnesses we act as witnesses for the couple in front of us while they do the same for us (quickly signature on paper). For photocopying documents there is a small print shop a couple doors down. The marriage costs nothing.
21 thoughts on “Dotting I’s and Crossing T’s”
Tedious indeed mate. Can you not just get a bit of old rope and “tie a knot” in it?? I must be behind the times…love the photo of the old couple trying to work a photocopier…
Tried the rope thing. Didn’t work. Thankfully I only have to do it once 😀 How does it work in Hong Kong? 😉
Hi, thanks for your post about this ! Very useful =) ! i´m about to do about the same thing like what you did next week except that I´m going to bring the documents to Ko Lanta (island not far from phuket) and get married there. Do I need to copy all pages of my passport for the legalising part at the ministry of foreign affairs in Bangkok ? Thanks a lot ! =)
Congrats and best of Luck. You should only need the photo pages for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the two pages with personal info. We loved Ko Lanta, only been in low season and the place was like an island of our own 🙂
Hey Allan, Today i have submitted my freedom to marry certificate and front page of my passport in MOFA for attestation.! do i need to legalized my passports last page too.?
BTW i am getting married in bangkok.
Hi Rj. Unfortunately it has been a while since writing this so the best I can offer is already in the text. Sorry about this. A.
Thanks for this Great detailed article. Very useful for me because I gonna marry next month and needed detailed procedure and related addresses.
I am an Indian and I am processing the similar certificate from my embassy. Though process is hilarious and hard for Indians 😛
Thank you so much for detail on legalising the document in thai language. It really helped me.
Have a great day 🙂
Thanks Rahul. Congratulations and best of luck with everything 🙂
Appreciate the info here! Curious, what sort of questions do they ask when going about the procedure at Bang Rak?
Can’t remember exactly. We weren’t really asked anything other than to fill in forms, and I left the wife to do that. All surprisingly simple 🙂
Will be starting this process tomorrow – did it only take three days?
Do we need anything other than passports, copy of passports and the documents we pick up along the way?
Did you dress smartly for any stage, or at least smarter than an average backpacker?
Three days is the quickest it can be done but it maybe best to space it out. I cant remember the exact paper work but it was all easy to organise nearby. At the Khet specifically we needed quite a few photocopies.
Not really a requirement to dress smart or anything, but yeah probably better not to dress like an average backpacker, at least for the final Khet process 🙂
Aiming to do it Monday/Tuesday/Thursday as it’s a national holiday on Wednesday.
I’ve not really got that many smart clothes but guess a shirt is better than a tshirt bought in Cambodia for example!
Hi again, I was wondering what additional steps you took after the marriage certificates written in Thai were issued?
Presumably we need to translate the marriage certificates to English?
Do we also need to register the marriage at the embassy or when we return to the UK? (We are both UK citizens). They said at the British Embassy today that we didn’t need to come back but surely we need to tell our country somehow?
That was it for me. We haven’t considered the UK yet but I think the marriage certificate would need to be translated into English then maybe brought to the Embassy or registered once in the UK. As your said really 🙂 Interested in how this goes. Best of luck by the way.
On our way to the last step right now > marriage registry in Bang Rak.. This is my experience do far >>
it is possible to do this 3 step process in 2 days if you begin early in the morning on both days.. but its a lot of running around.. and for the Foreign affairs office visit, i recommend arriving there 8am, pay the 800baht for express service as i did and get your stamp in 2 to 3 hours.. (i arrived at 10.30am the day before and was told i can’t do express because that was for the first 50 customers only) so get there earlier than 10am at least. I’ll be a married man soon! Thanks for the helpful article Allan.
Best of luck. Hope your experience was more romantic than ours 😉
just found an agency, for a fee of 10000 baht they are promising to get all steps done in one day, actually I have been told that if we start at 8am all process will be done around midday. we will give a try the day after tomorrow, I will keep you posted.
Hi Tom, Did you manage to sort it out via agency? can you give any information if they where good and where I can find them? Also a question about dates, do you get married on that day, or can you put a date like 2 week upfront that you are getting married? or put a date like tomorrow, so the actaully marriage is on the date you want ?
hi there! my sister wants to get married in Thailand legally so any help greatly appreciated. Tom if you can share about the agency that would be fantastic thank you