Australian Embassy
Lao People's Democratic Republic
Km 4, Thadeua Road, Watnak (P.O. Box 292)

Marriage and Relationships

Marriage and Relationships between Foreigners and Lao Citizens

Marriage between foreigners (including former Lao citizens who have acquired Australian citizenship) and Lao citizens in the Lao PDR require official permission from the Ministry of the Public Security. Lao Government regulations make no provision for marriage between two foreign citizens, and it is therefore not possible for two foreigners to be legally married in Laos.

Sexual relationships between foreigners and Lao citizens who are not legally married are not permitted under Lao law. Permission for marriage or engagement to a Lao citizen must be submitted in a formal application to Lao authorities. Penalties for failing to register a relationship range from USD$ 500-5,000, and possibly imprisonment or deportation.

The Lao Prime Minister's decree (198/PM of 19 December 1994) sets out the law relating to marriage between foreigners and Lao citizens and lists the documents needed to obtain approval to marry. These are as follows:

Application for marriage
Biographical details for pair intending to marry
Certificate of residence
Photocopy of identity card or passport
Certificate of no impediment (or evidence of single status)
Certificate of health
Character reference
4 x 6cm passport photographs
Certificate of financial status
Written statement guaranteeing return of Lao citizen to his/her homeland according to his/her wish in case of divorce.
Comments of Ministry of Foreign affairs of the Lao PDR.
Comments of the Police at the provincial or prefectural level
Comments of the Justice Service at the provincial or prefectural level.

The Australian Embassy in Vientiane can provide a certificate of no impediment (CNI) for Australian citizens. Other documents are the responsibility of the couple intending to marry. 

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