Marriage Law Amendments Ease Processes For Foreigners, Citizens

Source: Vientiane Times

Amendments to the Law on Family Registration passed by the National Assembly (NA) recently will ease and regulate marriage between Lao and foreign nationals as well as family registration affairs in general.

Presenting the drafted law to the ongoing 5th ordinary session of the NA’s 8th legislature, Minister of Home Affairs, Khammanh Sounvileuth said the existing law promulgated since 2009 was not comprehensive and insufficiently clear.

Amendment to Article 18 of the drafted law specifies that marriage registration between Lao and expats living in Laos as well as Lao nationals and unspecified nationals living in Laos can be undertaken at the Home Affairs Department of a province where the couple, groom or bride lives.

Meanwhile, marriage registration between foreign nationals or unspecified nationals residing in Laos can be done at the Home Affairs Department of a province where the couple, groom or bride lives.

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Otherwise, marriage registration can be done at the embassy or consulate of countries of the relevant couple in Laos.

An official of the Ministry of Home Affairs involved in drafting the amendment explained the new law aims to offer options for expats in the case they want to have their marriage registered by local authorities in line with the Lao law.

Meanwhile, marriage registration between Lao and foreign nationals or between Lao and unspecified nationals living in a foreign country can be done at a Lao representative office to that country. Or the marriage registration can be done by authorities of the foreign country where the couple lives in accordance with the relevant laws of that country, according to the draft.

The amendment specifies that marriage registration between Lao nationals living in a foreign country can be done at a Lao representative office to that country.

Marriage registration between Lao nationals in Laos shall be done at the Home Affairs office of a district where the couple, groom or bride lives.

All the state bodies in charge including Lao representative offices in foreign countries must issue a marriage registration for a new couple within five days after an application is submitted, according to the draft.

Mr Khammanh told legislators that the amendments to the existing law have introduced a system that encourages and facilitates citizens to register their families and family members, which will ease management in this regard.

He said the existing law “does not have a system to encourage the people to make registration. The people do not know what they will benefit from registration.”

Additionally, the existing law does not stipulate the registration of deaths. Amendments to the law seek to address these shortcomings by incorporating more comprehensive contents as legal guidance to regulate family registration affairs.

The draft could be revised in line with recommendations from NA members.

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