Marriage in Laos

Decree No. 198/PM governing marriage between foreigners and Lao citizens went into effect on December 19, 1994.  Enforcement of the decree began in late May 1995. The decree applies to all foreign citizens who wish to marry a Lao citizen. Lao marriage regulations have no provision for marriages between two foreigners, and the Lao government will not issue a marriage certificate to two foreigners. A detailed explanation on how to obtain a Lao marriage certificate can be found on this webpage (PDF 108 KB). The explanation is accurate to the best of the Embassy’s knowledge, but procedures, timelines and fees are subject to change without notice.

The Lao government will not issue a marriage certificate if the correct procedures have not been followed. Any attempt to circumvent Lao law governing marriage between foreigners and Lao citizens may result in deportation of the foreigner and denial of permission to reenter Laos.

Lao authorities advise American citizens interested in marrying Lao citizens to begin the process by contacting the Lao Embassy in Washington D.C. The marriage application forms for Lao citizens who wish to marry foreigners are available in Provincial offices. Lao citizens residing in Vientiane Capital can obtain the forms in the Municipality Administration Office.

Affidavit that you are legally free to marry

Lao law requires all foreigners who marry Lao nationals in Laos, to first prepare a sworn Affidavit of Marriage: Marriage Affidavit (Click here for PDF) (PDF 117 KB). Then, the affidavit(s) must be notarized by their own country’s embassy, affirming that they are legally free to marry.

Fee: $50 for the affidavit of marriage; an additional $50 for the second affidavit. Please click here to make an appointment.

A Lao marriage certificate can be used to file an I-130 immigrant visa petition for a spouse. For more information on the petition process, please visit the website for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).