Wednesday, July 6, 2016


When a foreigner marrying a Vietnamese, this is cross cultural marriage with challenges and complexity in relationships which could be legally difficult.  The Vietnam laws on Marriage and Family on marriage and family relations involving foreign elements provide legal grounds to avoid false marriages to gain citizenship or conduct human trafficking.

The following should be taken into consideration when a foreigner marrying a Vietnamese. However due to the complexity, it is suggested family lawyers in Vietam to be consulted to ensure the correct processes and procedures are carried out in timely manner:
1.Marriage consultation:
If marriage registration between a foreigner and a Vietnamese belongs one of the following cases, Vietnamese citizen must be consulted by the provincial Marriage Consultancy Center: i) the age gap between two partners is 20 years or more; ii) this is the third marriage of the foreign partner, or the foreign partner has gone through a divorce with a Vietnamese citizen; iii) the partners do not completely understand about the families and backgrounds of each other; about the languages, traditions, customs, cultures, and laws on marriage and families of each other’s country.
After being advised on marriage consultation, Vietnamese citizen will be issued a certificate by Marriage Consultancy Center (hereafter referred to as Certificate) which is part of the application dossier.
When the Vietnamese citizens is fluent in a foreign language or foreigner is fluent in Vietnamese, and  the interviews at the Justice Department show that both sides have an good understanding of family circumstances, personal situation, and the understanding of language, customs, traditions, culture, laws on marriage and family in each country, the Certificate will not be needed.
2.Submission for marriage registration
One of two parties would submit directly to provincial Department of Justice of province where the Vietnamese citizen applicant resides.  A dossier of marriage registration is prepared including the following papers of each party:
a) The marriage registration declaration (standard form);
b) The papers of marriage status of each party:
Vietnamese shall provide the written certification of marital status issued by the People’s Committee where he/she resides.
Foreigner shall provide the documentary evidence on marital status of foreigners  issued by a competent agency of the country of which the applicant is a citizen.  In cases where foreign laws do not prescribe the certification of marriage status, it can be replaced by the certification of oath taken by the applicant that he or she concurrently has no wife or husband, in accordance with the laws of those countries; the written certificate of marriage eligibility issued by a competent agency of the country of which the applicant is a citizen (unless laws of this country do not regulate about this document); for foreigners who have already been divorced with Vietnamese citizens at foreign competent agencies, they must submit the written confirmation that the divorce which carried out abroad have been recorded in civil status book as prescribed by law of Vietnam.
c) The medical examination from a Vietnamese or foreign competent health organization, certifying that such person does not suffer from mental diseases or other diseases which make a person incapable to aware or control his/her acts;
d) Copies of personal papers, such as identity card or passport, passport or papers of substitute value such as travel document or residence card;
e) Copies of the household registration book, the temporary residence book (for Vietnamese citizens living in the country); permanent residence card, temporary residence card or temporary residence certificate (for foreigners residing temporarily or permanently in Vietnam).
f) Certificate of Marriage Consultancy Center on marriage to a foreigner that Vietnamese citizens have been given advice for marriage in compulsory cases mentioned above.
All documents provide by parties have to have valuation within 6 months to the date when the dossier is received.
3. Interviews for marriage registration to a foreigner in Vietnam
Within 15 days as from the date of receiving the complete and valid dossiers as well as fees, the provincial Department of Justice shall have the responsibilities to implement the direct interview at head office for both marriage partners in order to check, clarify personal matter, voluntary marriage and extent of understanding each other of both marriage partners.
If the interview result shows that two parties fail to understand status of each other, the provincial Department of Justice shall make an appointment for re-interview; the next interview shall be performed 30 days after the preceding interview.
In cases there are issues which need to be verified, the provincial Department of Justice dshall carry out necessary procedures to verify.
4. Certificate of marriage registration in Vietnam
After interviewing both marriage partners, studying and verifying the marriage registration dossiers, opinions of police agencies (if any), the provincial Department of Justice shall report result and propose settlement of marriage registration to submit to provincial People’s Committees for decision, enclosed with 01 set of marriage registration dossier.
Within 05 working days, after receiving the written submission of the provincial justice department together with the marriage registration dossier, the chairman of the provincial People’s Committee shall sign in the certificate of marriage and return dossier to the provincial Department of Justice for holding the ceremony for marriage registration.
In case refusal for marriage registration, provincial People’s Committees shall have a document clearly stating reasons thereof and send it to the provincial Department of Justice in order to notify both marriage partners.
5. Ceremonies for marriage registration in Vietnam
Within 05 working days, after the Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee signs the marriage certificate, the provincial Department of Justice shall hold ceremony for marriage registration.
The marriage registration ceremony shall be solemnly organized at the office of the provincial Department of Justice. When the marriage registration ceremony is held, both marriage partners must be present. The representative of the provincial Department of Justice shall preside over the ceremony, requesting both parties to state their final intention on voluntary marriage. If they agree to marry each other, the representative of the Department of Justice shall record the marriage in the marriage registers, requesting each party to sign on the marriage certificate, the marriage register and hand over the original marriage certificate to the husbands and wives, each with one certificate.
The marriage certificate shall be valid from the date the marriage registration ceremony is organized as provided. The grant of copies of the marriage certificate from the original registers shall be implemented by the provincial Department of Justice at the requests of the wives or husbands.


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