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Thailand & Indonesia - Wedding Legalities

To find out about the kind of ceremony you can have in Thailand and Indonesia please see the Essentials section.

And if you're unsure about any of the terms used below, our Paperwork Explained guide should help you make sense of it all!

The official advice to all couples is that they contact the Thai authorities to be sure of the latest requirements well ahead of their wedding. See the contacts section for details.

Thailand - The Application Process

1) To marry in Thailand you need to make an 'affirmation of freedom to marry' in person at the British Embassy in Bankok or at Honorary Consuls in Pattaya or Chiangmai. It's not possible to book an appointment in advance. Addresses in our contacts section.

This affirmation is essentially a simple form that you need to complete. You can download and complete a copy ahead of time from the British Embassy website. Click here to see a sample copy (Nov 09). Do not sign it until you get to Thailand.

While you are there, you will have to make an oath and sign the form in front of a British Consular Official.

Essential Documents to take with you to the appointment:

* Passport

Additional Documents - where relevant (NB originals or certified copies only - no photocopies)

* Death certificate if widowed

* Divorce certificate

2) Collected your completed affirmation from the Embassy the following day (same day service not an option).

3) Get the affirmation translated into Thai.

The British Embassy won't do this. Many translation companies advertise on the web, in the Thai local press or within a short walk of the Embassy. The Embassy won't recommend any particular firms. Your tour operator or planner should also be able to help.

It's usually necessary to then get the original and the translated copy notorised by a Consular official back at the Embassy.

4) The translated copy then needs to be certified by an official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bangkok (at their Legalisation and Naturalisation Division). See 'Contacts' for details.

The service normally takes 2 working days, although it is possible to pay an express fee for a same day service.

5) Submit the affirmation and translation to the Registrar, who, if satisfied, will register the marriage and issue a Thai marriage certificate.

* Marriage registration can be filed with the registrar at any District Office or Minor District Office nationwide.

* Once the marriage registration is done, each party will be given a copy of the Marriage Registration Certificate as evidence.

* If both parties are unable to file for marriage at any District Office of Minor District Office, the couple can submit a request to the Registrar to register their marriage at any location under the supervision of that District Office. The couple is required to provide transportation for the Registrar. There's a very small service for this.

NB A widow or divorcee will be permitted to remarry not less than 310 days after the previous marriage has expired. There are exclusions to this clause.

Your Marriage Certificate

The Thai marriage certificate will be in Thai language only. You can organise a “sworn translation” of the marriage certificate from a translation bureau, to enable you use the document for legal purposes in the U.K.

The British Consular Section can arrange for your marriage certificate to be deposited with the General Register Office (GRO) in the UK. This isn't essential, it simply means that you are able to get a certified copy of your marriage certificate directly from the GRO should you need to do so in the future. Just let them know if you would like them to do this.

Indonesia Wedding - The Application Process

1) Get a Certificate of No Impediment in the UK - allow at least 3 weeks from application to receiving your CNI. You do this through your local Registrar - see paperwork explained for details. Your wedding must take place within 3 months of the CNI being issued.

2) On arrival in Indonesia you must get your CNI validated by the British Authorities by visiting the British Consulate in Jakarta or Honorary Consulate in Bali in person. They will give you a covering letter validating the CNI as genuinely issued by a competent UK Registrar.

As well as a CNI from the UK, couples will also need to take a valid passport and, if married before, their original decree absolute certificate.

3) At least 10 business days before the wedding, couples must give notice of their intended marriage to the Registrar of Marriages in the district where the wedding is to be held in Indonesia.

The address of the Civil Registry Offices in Jakarta and Bali are on the UK Embassy site - see the contacts section.

Essential Documents to be produced to the Registrar (preferably originals or legalised copies):

* A Certificate of No Impediment (as authenticated by the British Embassy above)

* Passport

* Full birth certificate

* Details of names, religion/faith (such as baptismal certificates), occupation and domicile of both parties

Additional Documents - if relevant:

* Death certificate if widowed

* Decree absolute (if you weren’t divorced in a UK court, the previous marriage certificate is also required)

* A letter from the couple's UK church (for Christians who want a church wedding in Indonesia).

Any arrangements to marry in Indonesia MUST account for the necessary processing period of obtaining a Certificate of No Impediment, there is no fast track system and you should not make any bookings unless you are sure that you are able to obtain the necessary documentation before the wedding date.

After the wedding

Ensure that you are given a marriage certificate as proof that you have been legally married. The documents may well be in Indonesian, so it's recommended that you get them translated by an authorised translator in Indonesia before you fly home. Alternatively, you could get the certificate translated & legalised at the Indonesian Embassy in London.

When you get back to the UK you should then register this translated certificate at your local Registry office. See Paperwork Explained for what to do with your Marriage Certificate.

All religious marriages (except Muslim marriage) must be registered with the relevant district Civil Register Office to make it valid and legal under Indonesian Law.

The Civil Registrar will issue original marriage certificates to both husband and wife.


Payable in cash only on the day of application.