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Translation Of Marriage Certificate


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My girlfriend has read on 4 year old Thai ladies' forums that you must lodge a sworn translation of your marriage certificate with the British Embassy otherwise your Thai marriage will not be recognised in the UK.

I tried to explain to her that a marriage in Thailand is recognised under British law. She is a bit sceptical and I'd like to put her mind to rest that I'm not a dodgy guy.

Does anyone have any links in Thai explaining that a translation of the marriage certificate is not necessary ?

If getting a sworn translation is required to get things done properly then I'm all for it. The reason I'm trying to get out of it is that I don't think it has any meaning, translations should be done by a native speaker of the target language so the translation could be ropey, cost (I heard that getting it notarised could cost B4000), time required to do it when time is at a premium.

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You cannot lodge your marriage certificate, translated or otherwise, with the embassy, but you can lodge a copy of it with the General Records Office in the UK via the embassy. Whether you do so or not will have no effect on the legality of your marriage under UK law and most people don't bother.

Under the Foriegn Marriages Act of 1892 your legal Thai marriage, i.e. the ampur registration, is also a legal marriage in the UK.

See Depositing marriage documents in the UK.

There is a Thai version of the embassy website, but I'm afraid I can't read Thai so don't know if this information is on it; and the wife isn't here to ask.

You could try copying and pasting the English version into Word and then using Word's translation feature.

If you are thinking of moving to the UK, or even just visiting, at some point after your marriage then it will be worth getting a transation done anyway. You should submit one with her visa application and may need it in the UK. Doing it in Thailand will be a lot cheaper than in the UK.

If you are only going to use the translation for a UK visa or in the UK then a certification by the translation bureau is sufficient. But if you want to use it for a Schengen visa, to visit Europe, you should have the translation certified by the Thai MFA.

Edited by 7by7
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Thanks 7by7.

I know most of this already, it's the Thai link that I really need. I can read Thai moderately well but not that fast, especially when searching through lots of documents to find the relevant one. I typed สมรส (marry) into the search box at the Thai version of the UK embassy but it broke the system.

According to the embassy website, you must submit a certified translation (exact words), B1750 plus GRO fee. Any advice about getting a cheap certified translation would be appreciated. Would certification involve another trip to MoFA ?

I don't imagine trying to get a Shengen visa. What other uses are there for such a certificate when in the UK ?

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Depositing a copy of your marriage certificate with the GRO in the UK serves no legal purpose; the marriage is already legally recognised in the UK. All it means is that if at some future date you are in the UK and need or want a copy of the certificate then you can obtain one from the GRO.

If you think this is worth paying 1750baht for, that's up to you. As I said, most people don't bother.

However, if you do decide to do so, then "certified translation" means certified by the office that translated it. The certificate must show:

  • confirmation from the translator that it is an accurate translation of the original document
  • the date of the translation
  • the translator's full name and signature
  • The translator's contact details.

I couldn't recommend any particular translator; those near the embassy are usually pretty competitive, for the obvious reason.

There is no need to have the translation certified by the MFA.

To be honest, it is unlikely that you or your wife will need to produce the certificate in the UK; in most situations her passport and visa would suffice. However, she will need it should she wish, after living in the UK for 3 years, to apply for naturalisation as British on the basis of marriage to a British citizen.

My wife also needed it when applying for a GB driving licence as she wanted that in her married name but her passport was at that time in her maiden name. If memory serves she also needed it when applying for a NI number for the same reason. Even though her visa named me as her spouse!

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