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Is it possible to get married in Australia on a tourist visa?

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This is a question often asked by our clients who want to marry their Thai partner in Australia. Some of them may have previously had a traditional Thai Buddhist wedding ceremony in Thailand and now wish to legally marry. Although a traditional Thai Buddhist wedding ceremony may add to the evidence of the genuineness of a spouse relationship, it is not a legally recognised marriage in Australia for partner visa purposes. That being said, a marriage in Thailand is recognised in Australia if it has been registered at a local district office, called an Amphur. However, is it possible to get married in Australia on a tourist visa? The answer to this is yes, and many of our clients do so.
 
I married my Thai wife in Australia, can she now apply for a partner visa in Australia?
 
The answer to this question needs a thorough explanation. Prior to submitting a partner visa application, or any visa application for that matter, you must ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria for the visa that you are applying for. The Migration Act and Regulations provides for certain criteria that must be satisfied at both time of application and decision. If you do not meet the criteria then your visa application must be refused.
 
Many people mistakenly believe that being married to another person means that their spouse now meets the criteria for the grant of a partner visa. This is definitely not the case. Apart from being married it is also requirement that the applicant and sponsor be in a genuine and continuing spousal relationship to the exclusion of all others. When assessing whether a spousal relationship is genuine, the Department will take consideration all of the circumstances of the relationship, including the following factors which can be found in the Migration Regulations.
 
  • financial aspects of the relationship
  • nature of the household
  • social aspects of the relationship
  • nature of the persons’ commitment to each other
 
Assuming that you are now legally married to your Thai wife and you are satisfied that she meets the criteria for a partner visa, the next question will be, can she now apply for a partner visa in Australia on a tourist visa? The answer to this will depend upon what conditions are attached to her tourist visa. Her tourist visa grant notice will list what conditions her visa is subject to. If her visa has Condition 8503 attached to it, this will prevent her from applying for a partner visa whilst she is in Australia. She will need to depart Australia and apply back in Thailand.
  
What happens after I apply for a partner visa in Australia?
 
If you have made a partner visa application in Australia, you will be granted a Bridging Visa A which will only become active after your current visa ends, in this case your tourist visa. Once active, the Bridging Visa A will allow you to remain lawfully in Australia until a decision is made on your partner visa application. If you need to depart Australia during this period you must apply for and be granted a Bridging Visa B which will allow you to return to Australia during the processing of your partner visa application. If you have applied for a partner visa in Australia, it can only be granted whilst you are also in Australia at the time of visa grant.

 

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Please note that this posting is of a general nature only. It does not constitute legal or migration advice and may not apply to your particular circumstances.

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🙂


 

 

Disclaimer:

Makes me sick, in the fact that I must include a disclaimer. All opinions, advice and comments expressed by me are of my own personal opinion, and not that of a Immigration Agent, Lawyer, or related professional. They are given in the spirit intended, as an independant contributor, to a public forum. No implied, or expressed guarantee or undertaking as to accuracy or relevance is given.

 

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One clarification I would like to add comes from a question asked a long time ago. Someone saying he went to the girls village and everyone tired string to him and she told him they were married poor guy was packing it. The string is used for many things lol.

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12 hours ago, AussieDude said:

his is a very good point and an area of some confusion. I would like to unpack this.

In Thailand, formal legally registered marriages have only existed for the last 40 years. Traditional Village or Cultural Marriages have existed for over 4500 years. To call these traditional marriages as "Buddhist Marriages" is incorrect, as Buddhism only came to Thailand around 250BC.   Today most traditional marriages have a Buddhist component and a cultural component, which varies depending on the ethnicity of the couple (i,e Chinese heritage). Buddhist Monk DO NOT preside over a Traditional Wedding, as  say a Catholic Priest would.  The monks bless and sanctify the proceedings, always before, but not always during. In a traditional wedding (again it varies with the ethnic heritage of the couples families) the ceremony will be usually presided over by the parents of the couple, or a respected family member, married couple or elder.  Affluent, notable trend setting Bangkok Thai couples will often secure a TV/Film celebrity to preside.

I agree with you on the term "Buddhist Marriages" is an incorrect usage by foreigners regarding Thai marriages for many of the reason you list as well as others.


Although I am not sure where you get “legally registered marriages have only existed for the last 40 years” from? as marriages where first registered in Thailand in 1913 after King Rama VI became King (1912) although the law was established in 1904. The marriage law was called พระอัยการลักษณะผัวเมีย. Although this was more as the woman's right to register under her husbands surname, which was considered a marriage registration, although this only applied to palace law (court officials etc), not ordinary people.

Modern Marriage registration (that applied to ordinary people) became legally recognised and legally registered by the state in 1935 under the Family Registration Act. 

12 hours ago, AussieDude said:

But regardless......

Most Thai still see a Traditional Marriage as equally binding and as formal as a registry Office Wedding at the local Amphur. But these traditional marriages are not recognised outside of Thailand, and as an example are classed as de facto in Australia.

I agree its culturally acceptable in Thailand, but its not legally recognised.

12 hours ago, AussieDude said:

Where the confusion exists is when say an Aussie guy (call him Dazza) marries a Thai Girl (must be a biological female) in a traditional ceremony, and Dazza just dismisses it as a cultural thing with no legal bearing, a cool street party.  Back in Australia, Dazza is not legally married. Any children of the union are protected under our Family Law and Child Support Laws. All is cool.

Dazza isn’t also legally married in Thailand, and while children of the union are recognised legally in Australia, they are not legally recognised in Thailand as his children.

Which can cause all sorts of issues.  

12 hours ago, AussieDude said:

Here the confusion starts. 

In Thailand, it's a little more serious. Although technically Dazza is not legally married, he is subject to all sorts of conditions, similar to a de facto in Australia, but in some cases worse.

Except for cultural/family/local community issues, Dazza isn’t subject to any conditions in relation to the “traditional marriage“ 

12 hours ago, AussieDude said:

Examples;

  • Until the traditional marriage is formally annulled, Dazza can not legally remarry either by way of another traditional marriage or a legal marriage. However traditional marriages are not centrally recorded so this is hard to enforce.

Not sure where you get your information, but this is not the case, de facto, traditional marriage or civil union are not legally recognised in Thailand in anyway. So not sure how or why you think they need to “formally annulled”  

How would they go about getting this “formally annulled”? as Thai law doesn't even recognize annulments/voiding of marriage for these reasons? 

12 hours ago, AussieDude said:

This is the gotcha....Thai estate and inheritance law recognises Traditional Marriages as equally as legal marriages. Thai Estate and Inheritance law is mind blowingly complex for a westerner, and deeply seated in traditional thai cultural and tradition. Its often observed that the family of the deceased husband has total rights to the estate, over his widow and children.

I don’t believe they are “mind blowingly complex” just different. 

Again, not sure where you’re getting your information, but a de facto, traditional marriage or civil union is not recognised as equally legally in succession law in Thailand. In fact, they are not recognised at all. 

A spouse in Thai law is only a legally married partner.

Family of the deceased don’t have total rights to the estate over widows (legally married) or children of the deceased. 

Succession law in Thailand is basically dealt with like this.

They are two kinds of statutory heirs, the spouse (only if legally married) and any of the following relatives which run in the following order 
1.    Descendants
2.    Ascendant
3.    Brother or sister of the same mother and father
4.    Brother or sister of the same mother or the same father
5.     Grandfather and grandmother
6.    Uncle and Aunt

The estate is split between these two types of statutory heirs
So, if there is a spouse, the share of the estate is split equally between the spouse and any descendants.
If no descendants, its goes down the list splitting up to various degrees.   
 

12 hours ago, AussieDude said:

Thai Family Law (in general) still upholds traditional concepts such as adultery, abandonment, and consummation.  These laws again apply equally to Legal and Traditional Marriages.

Again, not sure where you’re getting your information, but they don’t apply to traditional marriages, but some of the above do apply to a betrothed if Khongman has been given.

12 hours ago, AussieDude said:

I know of a recent case when the abandoned Thai wife sued the farang husband for compensation, and he is in prison until he can make good.

Some of this could be correct as Thai law does allow for maintenance, although I doubt they would go to prison over it as debtor aren’t imprisoned in Thailand. 

12 hours ago, AussieDude said:

Thai Traditional 'Law' does not have to be served in a Court, Village tribunals are still common place, and the judgement and orders of the elders presiding are often upheld by the local police.

I agree, traditionally disputes are handled by the village elders (phu yai baan) or even the Kamnan.

Thai police and village Phu yai Baan’s/Kamnan encourage restorative justice.

But parties in the dispute are not bound to partake or agree to it and the matter will go before the law courts if need be. 

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8 hours ago, Aussie_83 said:

One clarification I would like to add comes from a question asked a long time ago. Someone saying he went to the girls village and everyone tired string to him and she told him they were married poor guy was packing it. The string is used for many things lol.

 สายสิญจน์ /saai sin (string) is used for many purposes including marriage as you say, but สายสิญจน์ aside, going to a girls village to meet her parents traditionally means that she is announcing to her family and village that this is the person are going to marry.

 

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3 hours ago, Nightcall said:

 สายสิญจน์ /saai sin (string) is used for many purposes including marriage as you say, but สายสิญจน์ aside, going to a girls village to meet her parents traditionally means that she is announcing to her family and village that this is the person are going to marry.

 

It was his first trip and he had just meet her and they were trying to railroad him. Poor guy was packing it that it was legal.

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On 6/15/2019 at 5:19 PM, Aussie_83 said:

It was his first trip and he had just meet her and they were trying to railroad him. Poor guy was packing it that it was legal.

While I have no first hand knowledge of the example you have given, people should be aware of the significance of visiting a Thai girls home, especially in rural Thailand. 

 

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7 hours ago, Nightcall said:

Is that it? a dirty delete! I was hoping for a discussion on the matter.

Not at all.  I was concerned about your comments, so I have temporarily pulled my post, while I fact check. 


 

 

Disclaimer:

Makes me sick, in the fact that I must include a disclaimer. All opinions, advice and comments expressed by me are of my own personal opinion, and not that of a Immigration Agent, Lawyer, or related professional. They are given in the spirit intended, as an independant contributor, to a public forum. No implied, or expressed guarantee or undertaking as to accuracy or relevance is given.

 

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On 7/29/2019 at 8:16 PM, Nightcall said:

How's the fact checking going? 

See my IM.


 

 

Disclaimer:

Makes me sick, in the fact that I must include a disclaimer. All opinions, advice and comments expressed by me are of my own personal opinion, and not that of a Immigration Agent, Lawyer, or related professional. They are given in the spirit intended, as an independant contributor, to a public forum. No implied, or expressed guarantee or undertaking as to accuracy or relevance is given.

 

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On 6/15/2019 at 1:52 PM, Nightcall said:

I agree with you on the term "Buddhist Marriages" is an incorrect usage by foreigners regarding Thai marriages for many of the reason you list as well as others.


Although I am not sure where you get “legally registered marriages have only existed for the last 40 years” from? as marriages where first registered in Thailand in 1913 after King Rama VI became King (1912) although the law was established in 1904. The marriage law was called พระอัยการลักษณะผัวเมีย. Although this was more as the woman's right to register under her husbands surname, which was considered a marriage registration, although this only applied to palace law (court officials etc), not ordinary people.

Modern Marriage registration (that applied to ordinary people) became legally recognised and legally registered by the state in 1935 under the Family Registration Act. 

I agree its culturally acceptable in Thailand, but its not legally recognised.

Dazza isn’t also legally married in Thailand, and while children of the union are recognised legally in Australia, they are not legally recognised in Thailand as his children.

Which can cause all sorts of issues.  

Except for cultural/family/local community issues, Dazza isn’t subject to any conditions in relation to the “traditional marriage“ 

Not sure where you get your information, but this is not the case, de facto, traditional marriage or civil union are not legally recognised in Thailand in anyway. So not sure how or why you think they need to “formally annulled”  

How would they go about getting this “formally annulled”? as Thai law doesn't even recognize annulments/voiding of marriage for these reasons? 

I don’t believe they are “mind blowingly complex” just different. 

Again, not sure where you’re getting your information, but a de facto, traditional marriage or civil union is not recognised as equally legally in succession law in Thailand. In fact, they are not recognised at all. 

A spouse in Thai law is only a legally married partner.

Family of the deceased don’t have total rights to the estate over widows (legally married) or children of the deceased. 

Succession law in Thailand is basically dealt with like this.

They are two kinds of statutory heirs, the spouse (only if legally married) and any of the following relatives which run in the following order 
1.    Descendants
2.    Ascendant
3.    Brother or sister of the same mother and father
4.    Brother or sister of the same mother or the same father
5.     Grandfather and grandmother
6.    Uncle and Aunt

The estate is split between these two types of statutory heirs
So, if there is a spouse, the share of the estate is split equally between the spouse and any descendants.
If no descendants, its goes down the list splitting up to various degrees.   
 

Again, not sure where you’re getting your information, but they don’t apply to traditional marriages, but some of the above do apply to a betrothed if Khongman has been given.

Some of this could be correct as Thai law does allow for maintenance, although I doubt they would go to prison over it as debtor aren’t imprisoned in Thailand. 

I agree, traditionally disputes are handled by the village elders (phu yai baan) or even the Kamnan.

Thai police and village Phu yai Baan’s/Kamnan encourage restorative justice.

But parties in the dispute are not bound to partake or agree to it and the matter will go before the law courts if need be. 

While a very good post I see you failed to mention that it's still common practice in rural Thailand to have traditional weddings that aren't legal under Thai law, but are considered to be such in any dealings with the Thai government. 

Thai courts if it got that far are bound by Thai laws, but most of these issues are settled at a local level and this type of marriage is very much recognized and consider a valid legal marriage. 

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