Living in Thailand

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This section provides essential information for New Zealanders undertaking a short- or long-term stay in Thailand(external link), Cambodia(external link), Laos PDR(external link)

Marriage in Thailand

For each person who is getting married and who is a foreign national, the Thai Registrar’s Office requires a completed statutory declaration [PDF, 461 KB], translated into Thai.

A ceremony is not required as part of the legal marriage procedure in Thailand.

There are 4 Steps to getting legally married in Thailand, outlined below for you.

Step 1: Statutory Declaration

You must come to the New Zealand Embassy in Bangkok, in person, to complete the statutory declaration form, and Bring with you:

  • Your New Zealand passport
  • Details of 2 referees who are not family - their street addresses and full names; the street address should not be a Thai address.
  • Statutory Declaration fee of 1,700 THB in cash (the exact change is appreciated.).

If previously married, the Order Dissolving the Marriage (Divorce Certificate) or death certificate will be required.

We understand that Thai Authorities may also require a copy of your passport certified by Embassy.

Step 2: Translation

Get your documents translated into Thai. This can be done at any translation service. The Embassy cannot recommend any particular translation agent. Translation services are located near the Embassy and also near the Consular Affairs Department which you need to go to for Step 3.

Step 3: Legalisation

After the documents have been translated they must be legalised by the Thai Consular Affairs(external link).

*‘Legalising’ is the act of matching the NZ Embassy staff signature on the Statutory Declaration with specimen signatures held on their records. You can expect to pay an application fee (currently between 200 to 800 Baht per document) and that it can take up to 2 days to process. However this is only a guide of what you can expect, the New Zealand Embassy cannot give you confirmation about how long it will take or the final cost.

Step 4: Registration of Marriage (Last step)

To register your Marriage, you can go to any Thai District Registration Office, which is referred to as a "Khet" office within the Bangkok area, however for outside of Bangkok they are referred to as a “Ampur” office. 

 

Clubs & Societies

New Zealand Society

The New Zealand Society is a non profit organization that supports New Zealand families living in Thailand. Their main event of the year is the New Zealand Ball in February.

For information on joining the NZ Society, please contact the New Zealand Society Thailand (external link)(external link).

Australian-New Zealand Women's Group (ANZWG)

Membership is open to all Australian and New Zealand women, and those married to Australians or New Zealanders. There is also possible membership for women with strong Australian/ New Zealand connections.

The aim of the Australian-New Zealand Women's Group(external link) is to promote good will in the community by charitable and other work, to assist Australian and New Zealand expatriates in Thailand and to foster friendship between members of the group. ANZWG also publish the Bangkok guide(external link), a very popular expat guide for living in Bangkok.

For more information on becoming a member, please contact: membership@anzwg-bangkok.org

Accidents involving rented motorbikes, vehicles and jetskis

New Zealanders visiting Thailand who are involved in motor accidents or who accidentally damage rented motorbikes or other vehicles will have to pay for damages before they can leave the country. In a number of cases slight damage, including scratches, has resulted in passports being given to the Police, who require the hirer to make reparation before their passports will be returned to them.

Even if insurance is taken out as part of the rental, there is usually an excess amount that has to be paid in the event of an accident.

The New Zealand Embassy will not be able to undertake negotiations on your behalf. You may need to engage a lawyer if the situation becomes serious. The Embassy is able to provide a List of Lawyers.

If you leave your passport with a rental firm, the Embassy will not provide you with a replacement, you will need to resolve the issue in order to recover your passport.

  • Passports should never be left with rental companies or individuals – only provide a photocopy.
  • Always take out insurance and have adequate funds to cover the cost of any excess to the insurance cover. If you cannot pay the excess, don’t rent a vehicle.
  • Be prepared to make a realistic payment for any repairs. Initial assessments may be inflated and may need to be negotiated down.
  • Paying between 25-50% of the initial claimed amount is not unrealistic (in the case of minor damage or accident). It is realistic to expect some level of payment will be necessary.
  • You will be expected to pay hospital costs for anyone you injure – and possibly loss of income compensation as well.
  • DO NOT ride a scooter/motorbike in Thailand if you have never used one before.
  • If you do not have the appropriate vehicle licence it is unlikely that you will be covered by your travel/health insurance if you have an accident.
  • Always wear a helmet. If you are not wearing one, this could also impact on your insurance cover.
  • Be aware that the Police may play an intermediary role if there is any dispute. Their decision is the final word.

Scams in Thailand 

Unfortunately, scams targeting tourists are commonplace in Thailand.  Many visitors to Thailand have become victims of scam tactics and some have lost considerable amounts of money.  Some common scams are listed below and there is also a local website dedicated to exposing tourists scams in Thailand which has more information www.bangkokscams.com(external link).

New themes and variations for conducting scams are constantly appearing. Visitors should be alert to being targeted by even the most friendly of people, be they locals or foreign nationals.  Victims of any scam should report the incident to the Thai Tourist Police. Observe the adage: If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

As well as scams, tourists may be targets for drink "spiking" using knockout or "date rape" drugs like Scopolamine, Rohypnol or Gamma Hydroxybutyrate (GHB) and should be vigilant to this.

Gem Scams

Use caution when purchasing gems as "bargains" are not always what they appear and gem “experts" many be part of the ploy. Tuk tuk drivers receive a commission for taking you to a factory or shop - it is not because they want to do you a favour. There is a gang of well-dressed people known to be working this scam in the vicinity of the Erawan temple and on the skytrain walkway above it in Chit Lom. They appear to just be passers-by but they are not, they will strike up conversation and recommend you visit a gem factory for special discounts. They can be very persuasive but do not get into any tuk-tuks they may flag down for you.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) website has some simple but practical advice on purchasing gems and jewellery: www.tat.or.th(external link).

Card Scams

Card scams can involve being befriended by a local and asked to join in a friendly game of cards. Once you have won a few times, the stakes increase and your winning streak disappears. These scams can have serious consequences – local gangs have been known to force victims into withdrawing large sums of money from ATM machines (or risk fingers being cut off) in order to pay these card game debts. There are many sad stories told about why you should join in a game of cards, such as to help the family earn enough money to pay for a hospital bill or medical operation. Avoid getting involved. Gambling is illegal in Thailand.

Time-Share and Holiday Club rackets

At prime tourist holiday locations such as Phuket and Koh Samui, a number of property Time-Share and Holiday Club rackets are being run. In a typical sting, visitors are approached on the street and asked to complete a tourist questionnaire or survey, later they are contacted and told they have won a lucky draw for participating in the survey and they need to come and collect their prize. Upon arriving they are subjected to heavy pressure and intimidation to purchase or make an initial deposit of a few thousand dollars on a time-share property, holiday club or are required to attend seminars on the benefits of such time-share and club arrangements. Many people pay in order just to get away.

Other common scams are:

  • Advance Tourist Visa scam
  • Airport Taxi scam : Official looking touts will pretend that they are metered taxis and will tell you it is 500-1000 baht to go into town. The meter taxi outside is less than half this amount. Ignore anyone who asks if you want a taxi. The real taxi drivers are waiting outside by their cars.
  • Boat/JetSki Insurance scam : If you rent anything, be it motorcycle, car or jet ski, make sure all scratches and dents are documented or else you could be blamed and liable for the (highly inflated) damage claim.
  • The Grand Palace (or other tourist spot) is Closed scam : As you approach the Grand Palace, someone will tell you that it area is closed for some reason, but they are happy to take you to another location - usually a gem store or a tailor shop.
  • Thai Gem scam : You should not take the word of other people on how much money you can make if you sell these gems on return to your home country. If you don't know about gems be very cautious what you buy.
  • Wrong Change scam : A common scam in convenience stores - you hand over a 1,000 baht note to pay for a purchase but only receive change as if you had handed over 500 baht.
  • Patpong Sex Show scam : Don't believe the touts outside who say free sex shows and drinks for only 100 baht each. You will end up paying a bill in the thousands. Stay clear if you are alone as they can turn violent if you refuse to pay.
  • Hualamphong Scam : Outside the train station you will meet official looking people who will say they will help you book the seats. They take you to their nearby travel agent and pretend to ring the train booking office. They then say the train is full and your only way to travel is on one of their buses.

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