Many expats in Thailand who are Muslim get married in Thailand and many times to non-Muslims and a special ceremony has to be done to convert to Islam before the marriage. If you are one of those then this might be of interest to you.
Over the years there has been a growing number of converts to Islam in Thailand. Many in Thailand simply want to have an Islamic wedding without the official government registration however if you are planning on obtaining a visa for a traditional Islamic marriage you are not going to get the visa for your Thai wife to your home country. If you are getting married in Thailand then you will first need to obtain a letter of affirmation or freedom to marry letter from your local Embassy located in Bangkok. This will start the marriage process for you. There is currently only one law firm in Thailand that does Islamic wedding conversions and that is GAM Legal Alliance in Bangkok.
Islamic Marriage in Thailand
You will firstly need to obtain the letter from your local Embassy. This can be difficult depending on your country. If you are from a Western country then the process for the letter is easy and will take about a day or two. If you are from an Islamic country then it becomes difficult. Most Islamic marriages paperwork tends to start in your home country, be this Malaysia, Jordan, Morocco or Indonesia. Most times it requires documents from your home office which needs to be handed to the local Embassy. Once you have these documents then it gets easier. Thai marriage registration can be difficult.
Once you have the documents then the wedding can be arranged. If you are getting married to a non-Muslim then you first need to complete the conversion process and this is done via the Islamic Centre in Bangkok who has to conduct the conversion process. Most times this can be done at the attorneys’ offices and have the wedding registered the following day. The lawyer will normally make all the arrangements as there are very tight schedules to meet as the Imam is very busy. The process take less than 30 minutes to complete. Note that she will need a letter from her parents for the conversion to take place. This letter needs to be handed to the Imam.
Now that the conversion process is done you can arrange the traditional Islamic wedding in Thailand is not short of wedding locations. What is required now if the documents from your Embassy as these need to be certified by the Department of Foreign Affairs and is also needs to be translated
The marriage documents that have now been verified by the Thai Foreign Affairs Office needs to be taken to the local District Office or Amphurs Office where they will issue you with a Thai marriage certificate. This is the easy part of the process and should not take more than an hour to complete at their offices.
Should you have questions which are not covered then you need to speak to a family lawyer in Bangkok for more advice and assistance. From here you can now apply for a Thai spouse visa which will allow you to stay in Thailand or a foreign visa such as a US visa in Thailand if you are an American or an Australian Spouse Visa if you are from Australia. See also the requirements for a marriage visa in Thailand.
Take sound legal advice when getting married in Thailand.