Marriage Of Foreigners In Turkey And In Thailand

ADMD Law Office
Rattiyaporn Chusuwan

1. Marriage of Foreigners in Turkey

According to Turkish Marriage Legislation and regulations, a Turkish citizen, a foreigner, or two foreigners of different nationalities can get married in Turkey. Civil marriage in Turkey may only be realized before competent civil Turkish authorities. Two foreigners of the same nationality may also marry in Turkey in the Turkish Marriage Offices run by local municipalities. The citizens of any country may get married in Turkey. Marriage in Turkey has absolutely no restrictions on the citizenship or religion of people. Many countries of the world recognize the legitimacy of civil marriage concluded, including Turkey.

a. Conditions of Marriage in Turkey

Enforcement and Implementation of the Turkish Civil Code index in line with Turkish Civil Code No. 4721 (“TCC”). The Conditions for the license of Article 124; legal marriage age in Turkey is eighteen, a man or woman shall not get married unless they turn eighteen. However, the judge may allow a man or woman having turned seventeen to get married under exceptional circumstances or for a very important reason. If possible, parents or guardians of the people in question shall be heard.

An informal marriage with children is considered child abuse in accordance with the Turkish Criminal Code No. 5237 published in the Official Gazette No. 25611, dated September 26, 2004. Those violations are punished by the law, including imprisonment. State institutions, health and education institutions, and NGOs are obliged to inform the Turkish authorities of children facing any risk of protection. In addition to that, anyone who witnesses that infringement is obliged to inform the related authorities.

Couples who are wishing to marry should have the following requirements to get married in addition to the age-related conditions in accordance with the Turkish Civil Code. According to Article 125 of the TCC, persons without mental competence shall not get married. Mental illness is an obstacle to marriage, only those who have the ability to distinguish and have mental health are allowed to marry.

Marriage between kinships in the direct line is also prohibited in Turkey in accordance with Article 129 of the Turkish Civil Code. In this context, marriage between brothers, uncles, aunts, nephews, and adopted children, as well as an affinity by marriage between couples from lineal kinship, is prohibited even if the marriage has terminated including the ones between the adoptive parent and adopted child or between one of them and descendants and spouse of the other.

If one or both of the parties, are already married and wish to marry again, the first marriage must be terminated. Polygamy is prohibited in accordance with the Turkish Civil Code and is considered a crime in the Turkish Criminal Code. These legislations apply both to Turkish nationals as well as to foreigners including refugees.

The waiting period for women on Article 132 of the Turkish Civil Code; notes that if the marriage has ended, a woman shall not remarry until after three hundred (300) days have passed as of the dissolution of the marriage. If that woman is not pregnant from her former marriage and the spouses willing to remarry each other, in this case, the court may revoke this period.

b. Documents Required to Get Married in Turkey

In order to get married, the following documents must be submitted to the municipalities’ marriage offices:

Petition of the Marriage: To initiate an action, the man and woman shall file a petition of the marriage in person at the Municipality

Passport and Birth Certificate: These documents have to be translated into Turkish by a certified notary in Turkey;

Health Certificate: The document based on the result of a blood test, should be taken from a State medical institution in Turkey, and has to be in Turkish;

Passport Photos: six (6) photos of the bride and another six (6) photos of the groom must be printed in standard passport size;

Certificate of Capacity to Marry (Certificate of Celibacy): The document states if a person is single, divorced, or widowed. It should be received by the proper Civil Status Register of his/her own country. If this Certificate is to be issued in the country of the foreigner should be certified by his/her Consulate in Turkey. It should also be translated into Turkish and notarized, otherwise, it shall not be valid for civil marriage in Turkey. The Certificate of Celibacy may also be issued by the Consulate of the country of the foreigner located in Ankara or in Istanbul which has to be certified by the Governor of Ankara/Istanbul. If it is issued by the Embassy of the country of the foreigner in Ankara, it has to be certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Turkish Republic in Ankara, and;

Accommodation Document: If both partners are foreigners, that are planning to register their Civil Marriage in Turkey, a letter should be written by the hotel where they are staying (or the lease they have executed). In this document, the date of departure and the duration of stay shall be written.

c. Marriage Registration in Turkey

According to Article 134 of the TCC “Man and woman to marry each other apply together to the Marriage Registry Office in the domicile of one of the parties”. The marriage officer is the mayor when there is a municipality or other officer to be assigned with this task, in villages it is the head of the village.

In order to register a marriage in Turkey, foreigners have to collect the requested documents; a registration form, a certified translation of the record output document for each spouse, personal photos of the couple, lease agreement or proof of housing, the medical examination report for both spouses issued by a government hospital in Turkey, and other required documents according to the couple’s condition. After that, they may apply to the Marriage Office. The form is delivered to the concerned employee with payment of the transaction fee in the presence of the spouses.

According to Article 139 of the TCC , - If the marriage officer determines the existence of conditions for marriage or if the decision of dismissal is revoked by the court, the officer shall notify the parties to marry of the day and time of marriage, or provide them with a marriage license document if they wish so.

According to Article 143 of the TCC , After completion of the ceremony, the marriage officer provides the parties with a marriage certificate. The family book issued by the Turkish Municipality is delivered and may be translated into different languages if needed.

d. Costs of Marriage in Turkey

The costs of marrying in Turkey could be divided into different sections, namely:

Marriage processing fee costs in Turkey depend on the municipality where persons shall register their marriage.

Costs of translation and attestation of official documents, due to some formal documents having to require endorsement from the embassy or consulate. For the translation and attestation from the Turkish Notary, prices vary according to the document type and the number of words.

The costs of health reports are free or low-priced unless the report requires specific procedures to be paid during the examination.

2. Marriage of Foreigners in Thailand

In Thailand, Thai marriage can be formalized with or without a Betrothal Ceremony in a ritual manner and also by Court. The Betrothal Ceremony is only a swear to marry and in the form of an agreement. Unless the man gives engagement property to the woman as proof, the agreement is not effective. The injured party is entitled to claim damages in the event of a breach of the betrothal agreement. Marriage registration is the formal recording of the union into the Registry of the country. It is the registration that shows the start of a legal marriage in Thailand. Thai marriage registration varies depending on nationality.

a. Condition of Marriage in Thailand

Under the Thai Civil and Commercial Code (“TCCC”), Section 1448-1460 arranged in line of Marriage, the couples who wish to marry should have the following eligibility to get married in Thailand:

Either of them should not be less than 17 years of age or should be of marriageable age in accordance with the law enforced in their home country. According to Section 1448 of the TCCC, the Court may, in case of having appropriate reason, allow them to marry before attaining such age;

Following the provisions of Section 1449, neither of them should not be an insane person or adjudged incompetent;

Both of them should not be in blood relations in the direct ascendant or descendant line, or brother or sister of full or half-blood i.e., should not be within the prohibited degrees of relationship regarding the provisions of Section 1450;

In accordance with Section 1451, both of them should not have the same adoptive parents (Section 1451);

According to Section 1453, either of them should not have a spouse at the time of marriage. If a woman whose husband died or whose marriage has become terminated, the marriage can only take place after the expiry of 310 days from such death or termination of marriage, but before such period if,

  • A child has been born during such period;
  • The divorced couple remarry;
  • There is a certificate showing that the woman is not pregnant;
  • There is an order of the Court permitting the woman to marry.

b. Documents Required for Marriage in Thailand

Getting married in Thailand requires the service of an Amphur, which is the equivalent of a district office or a country office, in the case of American citizens. The Amphur shall require these documents from parties who wish to get married:

Affirmation of Freedom to Marry, which they can obtain from their respective Embassies;

Passport, certified by their Embassy;

Parental consent, if one or both of the parties are below 20 years old;

Certified Thai translations of the above documents from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for any binding document to be registered in the Thai court, it has to be in the official language which is the Thai language;

Thai ID card. (For locals)

c. Marriage Registration in Thailand

As a foreigner, the person shall be supposed to go to the home country’s embassy in Thailand and obtain an affirmation of freedom to get married. The document provided by the home country verifies that they are legally single and free to get married. This process may require carrying several documents such as his/her passport. At the end of all, he/she necessarily pay around 3,500 baht to complete the whole process. The affirmation of freedom to marry needs to be translated into Thai. These documents need to be provided to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bangkok to get legalized.

The legal Thailand marriage registration could be done at any District Office in any province on any working day between 8 AM and 3 PM. The foreigner shall apply for original passports and proof that they are single when marrying a Thai citizen in Thailand. If they have previously been married which ended in divorce or death, they shall submit the original certificates.

A statutory statement required by the Thai officials will cost 1,000 Thai Baht for each (US$30). The House Embassy in Bangkok may innately charge a fee for notarizing it, and the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) will issue a certificate allowing you to legally marry anywhere in Thailand and will charge a minor fee for registering it.

Another step is to deliver the marriage certificate to the consulate so that the marriage may be recognized in the home country. First, they will have to get the marriage certificate translated into their national language by the ministry of foreign affairs.

Special attention should be made to pre-marriage planning. The assets of the foreigner should be protected. A Thailand prenuptial agreement was prepared by a licensed Thailand lawyer. Prenuptial Agreements in Thailand must be prepared in English and Thai languages. If, for instance, the foreigner is a US Citizen with assets in USA and Thailand, the prenuptial agreement should be prepared in such a manner that it is recognized and legally binding in both USA and Thailand. When Prenuptial Agreement is signed, and prepared, well in advance of the marriage date, they are less likely to be objected.

d. Costs of Marriage in Thailand

The specific fee that he/she needs to pay at the embassy, and most embassy releases documents within the day. The legalization process takes two (2) working days from the date of submission. In some cases, an edition shall be required, thus, it is essential to have a sufficient number of days to be in Thailand for marriage registration. After all, documents are legalized, the registration process at the district office shall take place.