Marrying in Laos

Marriage in Laos

As many foreigners have discovered to their dismay, marrying or divorcing a Lao citizen is not a straightforward process.  The Lao government must grant a foreigner permission to marry a Lao citizen.  The process is lengthy taking on average, several months and involves the presentation of a number of documents, interviews and assessment of the application by various government offices.

Whilst KK Consulting & Real Estate can’t bypass these processes, we can certainly help to smooth out any issues that may arise, and can help you with the inevitable paperwork.

Foreigners must also get into contact with their embassies to get permission and relevant papers. In order to find your embassy, visit our Embassy page to see where yours is located.

Below is a very brief introduction to the processes involved.

What the foreign citizen must provide to marry a Lao citizen

All of these documents must be translated into Lao and be certified by the Ministry of Justice.

  1. Proof of engagement.
  2. Letter of no objection from the foreigner’s parents.
  3. Marriage application form.
  4. House registration and birth certificate.
  5. Curriculum Vitae.
  6. Medical certificate.
  7. Single status certificate or proof of divorced status.
  8. Police clearance.
  9. Financial statement.
  10. Copy of passport.
  11. A letter confirming the foreigner’s intention to ensure the Lao citizen’s return to Laos in the event of divorce.
  12. Letter from the Embassy or Consulate of the foreigner confirming the single status and police clearance OR letter from Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirming no objection from the Lao government.
  13. 6 photos size 3×4


What the Lao citizen needs to provide to marry a foreign citizen

  1. Proof of engagement.
  2. Letter of no objection of parents.
  3. Marriage application form.
  4. House registration and birth certificate .
  5. Curriculum Vitae.
  6. Medical certificate .
  7. Single status certificate or proof of divorced status.
  8. Police clearance.
  9. Financial statement.
  10. Lao ID or copy of passport.
  11. Record interview from Population & District Police and Province Police.
  12. 6 photos size 3×4


The legal status of baci ceremonies for engagements and marriages

The marriage application form includes the requirement for a Proof of Engagement Letter, which must be signed by both families as witnesses together with the Village Chief.  There must be a Lao engagement ceremony or similar in front of the Village Chief, even if there is an engagement party overseas.


Who do you make the marriage application to? 

The application documents will go to:

  1. District Administration Office (District of the Lao citizen resident).
  2. Population & District Police (Interview).
  3. Population & Province Police (Interview).
  4. Foreigner Management Department.
  5. Immigration – Emigration Department (Interview).
  6. General Security Police Department.
  7. Justice Management Department.
  8. Provincial Administration Office


How can a foreigner and Lao citizen divorce

The Family Law, No.05/NA, dated 26 July 2008 governs both marriage and divorce.  There are two kinds of divorce – by mutual agreement and by court decision.

The simple agreement to divorce will apply in the situation where:

  1. A couple mutually agrees to divorce.
  2. The couple have no disagreement over the children of the marriage.
  3. The couple have no disagreement over marriage property.
  4. The couple have no disagreement over liabilities.

The Court will oversee and order divorce where:

  1. The request for divorce is submitted by the husband or wife but the other spouse does not agree to the divorce.
  2. If there is a disagreement in respect of the welfare of children, marriage property or liabilities of the divorcing couple.

When a court receives the request for a divorce the court has a duty to try to reconcile the couple. In the event that reconciliation does not occur immediately, additional time for consideration not exceeding three months shall be given.

If the married couple do not reconcile, the court shall grant the divorce if it appears that they cannot cohabit or care for and preserve the family unit. In its decision on divorce, the court must formulate measures to protect the interests of minor children and if the husband or the wife is unable to work support him or herself.

After the pronouncement of divorce by the court, the court must send two copies of its decision to the family registrar officer for registration of the divorce, and give one copy to each spouse.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Translate »
Scroll to Top