Expat Community LaosPermitsRules and Law

Officials Express Concern About Illegal Marriages

Source: Vientiane Times

People of 47 different nationalities are married to Lao citizens, with most foreign partners coming from the three nations of Thailand, the Republic of Korea and China, according to figures from the Protection Police and Lao-Anti Trafficking Department.

Some 1,600 marriages involving Lao citizens and foreigners were recorded from 2012-2015. In 75 cases, foreign women married Lao men, it was revealed at a recent consultation meeting on the matter.

The meeting was held to discuss stricter rules on marriage between Lao citizens and foreigners after it was learnt that some people were breaking the rules and going against Lao culture.

An official from the Vientiane Administration Office, who did not wish to be named, told Vientiane Times on Monday that foreigners who wanted to marry Lao citizens in line with the regulations needed to buy a marriage form from the Office.

Foreigners were then required to take the form to their country to fill in the details for approval by local authorities, then return to the Vientiane office to apply for a marriage certificate.

In the first six months of this year, the Protection Police and Lao-Anti Trafficking Department investigated 16 cases of dual-nationality couples who were contravening the law .

Some Lao citizens are marrying foreigners in a small baci ceremony that is witnessed by the head of the village where they are living, after which they live together as a couple. This violates the law and is an affront to local culture.

Some people believe that Lao women like to marry foreigners such as Thais, Koreans and Chinese because their life will be more comfortable.

Unfortunately, some of the unlawful relationships are claimed to end when the foreign partner travels to their country of origin never to return.