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It's a crime: Foreigners marrying Thais now subject to fingerprints taken for criminal background

PHUKET: Officials in charge of registering marriages in Phuket have confirmed that they have begun scanning fingerprints of all foreign men who register to marry a Thai woman so that they can have criminal background checks conducted.

By Shela Riva

Saturday 24 February 2018, 10:12AM

A criminal record may be cited as a reason to refuse your marriage registration. Photo: Tanyaluk Sakoot

A criminal record may be cited as a reason to refuse your marriage registration. Photo: Tanyaluk Sakoot

The regulation change, which was issued by the Department of Provincial Administration (DOPA) head office in Bangkok in Aug 2017, was revealed this week after a foreigner contacted The Phuket News asking for clarification on why he was required to have a criminal history check so he could marry his Thai fiancée.

“Specifically they are making farang (foreigners) who are marrying Thai get a criminal record check and a personality profile check to make sure farang are not marrying just to get a marriage visa,” the expat wrote.

“I will only recount to you what is said in the regulations issued,” the Head of the Muang District Office’s Registration department (Palad), who declined to be named directly, confirmed to The Phuket News on Wednesday (Feb 21).

“I did not think of these myself. So please write your story according to the regulations and not as an interview with me,” he requested.

The marriage registration model issued by the DOPA in June 2015 says, “The Department of Provincial Administration considers that marriage of foreigners to Thai citizens will have effects on socio-economic conditions…

“Where in some cases of the marriage of a Thai woman and foreign man, some foreigners will use a marriage certificate to apply for a visa to extend their stay in Thailand, work without a permit, and other illegal activities.

“Some officials have also been found to be involved in this,” said the notice.

“In order to prevent this, the Department of Provincial Administration sets a model in the case of a foreign man registering to marry a Thai woman, which are to be strictly enforced by each district office,” it said.

The Palad at Phuket’s Muang District Office – which covers all of Phuket Town, Rassada, Wichit, Chalong, Kata, Karon, Rawai and Nai Harn – explained that criminal record checks are one way which all district offices in Phuket have enforced the model set by the department.

Of note, in August last year, the DOPA issued another notice under the regulations of which it was specified that foreigners from any of 13 countries were recently being “more commonly involved in wrongful marriage and family registration”.

“Many groups of foreigners in Thailand, legally in the country on a Non-immigrant Visa-O from some 13 countries have been registering for marriage certificates and family registration in order to wrongfully obtain a marriage visa, be involved in illegal drugs, or conduct other criminal activities,” said the 2017 notice.

In order to check this is not the case and the marriage registration or family registration is for correct reasons, all district offices are to check additional information from aliens from the list of 13 countries, which the Palad denied to reveal to the public.

QSI International School Phuket

“It’s better not to reveal the 13 countries. It might cause damage for the countries,” he said.

The DOPA notice also stated that the Chief of each District Office – in Phuket there are three: Muang, Kathu and Thalang – was to be responsible for being the registrar of all marriage certificates.

The Palad clarified that in the process of criminal background checks for marriage certificates, fingerprints will be taken during the registration process and sent to the Forensic Police.

“The police are the ones who conduct the checks. They can only check for criminal records within Thailand, it is not possible to check for records in other countries,” he said.

“The time taken for the certificate to be approved or rejected will depend on other circumstances surrounding the foreigner.

“This includes whether the foreigner has been here a long time, already have children with a Thai person, have businesses here, and so on,” said the Palad.

“All of this is supporting evidence that they are not registering for marriage for the wrong reasons, and will mean the process will be faster. It can take just one day,” he added.

“However if they are a tourist for example, hasn’t been here very long, there may be further checking into the history of the person.

If a person is found to have a criminal record relating to drugs or breaking immigration laws, the office will refuse the marriage certificate, the Palad warned.

“We cannot issue a marriage certificate for anyone with a criminal record that makes us suspicious of their intent in registering for marriage with a Thai person,” he said.

The Palad refused to elaborate on what was regarded a “suspicious” criminal history.

“We have to look at each case,” he said.



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Jor12 | 28 February 2018 - 10:22:04

Clearly he does not, contrary to opinions of some. People are certainly on the planet earth but certainly are not citizens. That is reserved to the locale to which the indigenous people live who decide how to live their lives in accord with what they want. It is clear that the expats are the only ones wanting to see their adopted country that is befitting the country from whence they came. Get use...

Pauly44 | 28 February 2018 - 08:24:21

This guy clearly has a bee in his bonet about expats, "you are not entitled to anything" blah blah, 
well I've got news for you, all humans are citizens of planet earth of which you clearly are not! Just accept the place you are living in doesn't want you there!

Jor12 | 27 February 2018 - 21:33:09

Agree 100% and well said. Now we have the neo-colonialist wanting to shape editorial content, so that only voice will be his. Just wake up to the fact that Thailand is the only Asian country that has never been colonised and is no mood to even listen to lectures from the American Ambassador, let alone you or anyone else and good luck to them. If you don't like it then leave.

ematt | 27 February 2018 - 16:58:07

And for those who are always complaining about being "discriminated" against, feeling persecuted, etc., I have news: You are not a citizen here and this isn't your country. You are not automatically entitled to anything whatsoever here. So get over it, or go home!

ematt | 27 February 2018 - 16:49:53

Re: "Not everyone here is a tourist". It's not the tourists who are the problem. It's the chronically malcontent, supercilious, whining resident expats who pollute the place with their neo-colonial spewing. If you don't like it, leave. If you don't like it, leave. If you don't like it, leave.

Jor12 | 25 February 2018 - 17:54:36

How can it be discriminatory? As the article states, "...marrying just to get a marriage visa." which means other benefits that are not normally afforded. This can't apply to Thai's, because they are already citizens. Therefore, it's not a prejudicial distinction.

DeKaaskopp | 25 February 2018 - 16:23:20

"There is no marriage visa!" Nonsense! I had one myself!
Banning someone for recommending to leave{ tourists or expats}this place if someone doesn't like it? For what? Leaving this place if it doesn't fit in ones idea of the life he wishes for should be quite normal.Except for those who feel satisfied by being unhappy!As seen here many times.

malczx7r | 25 February 2018 - 12:54:36

I mentioned Bohol, great place.  If they have criminal records, how are they getting in the country, why isn\'t immigration getting them as they come into the country?  And if they can only check for crimes committed here, then that\'s not much of a check, but i do agree with the comment, too many scumbags are here!

Andys999 | 25 February 2018 - 08:08:35

It’s the visa immigrant O where this falls apart . The visa O is an annual visa for which you’ll have already met the countries entry requirements for issuance . The process in your home country and from an embassy outside Thailand differs likewise the annual extension from immigration or an external embassy . A lot of what has been said doesn’t stand up to scrutinyThere is no marriage visa

Concernd | 25 February 2018 - 07:57:58

If a foreigner has a biometric passport they have it already 
If Thai Immigration has on arrival the same quick system like in Singapore  Malaysia etc where the biometric passport get scanned and the scanned  fingerprint is the same - there you are.
If you are a honest one no worries about 

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