International marriage, intermarriage, or transnational marriage is a marriage between two people from different countries according to Wikipedia. As of the mid-2010s, around 20 thousand transnational marriages were registered in Vietnam, 85% of which were Vietnamese females, and the most common partner being from China, America, or South Korea (source).
So clearly, a lot of people (and especially women) are getting married in Vietnam to foreigners. If you are reading this article, maybe you are considering marrying a Vietnamese person yourself or having a wedding in Vietnam. You are not alone!
In this article, we will cover all aspects of marriage in Vietnam. This will include marriage culture, traditions, and the legal process involved in a marriage between a Vietnamese citizen and a foreigner.
Please keep in mind that we are a blog, and not an official or legal source. Things may have changed since we published this article. For important matters regarding marriage and immigration, we recommend that you also contact a government immigration agency or family immigration lawyer.
What’s Marriage in Vietnam Like?
Transnational marriage is fun because you can bring two cultures together. You can discover how weddings and marriages are different in each culture but also how alike are they.
Some Vietnamese parents may be traditional and expect the wedding to abide by traditional Vietnamese wedding standards and process. We’ve even heard of a Western man who married a Vietnamese woman, and they had their wedding celebration in France. The Vietnamese parents attended it, and it was totally Western style, but later in the evening they invited the couple back to their hotel, where they had set up a traditional Vietnamese wedding scene and asked the couple to undergo some traditional rituals. For the Vietnamese parents, this part was the true wedding.
Some Vietnamese parents may be more internationally minded and be interested in incorporating some elements of your country’s marriage traditions into the ceremony, even if it takes place in Vietnam. This is something you should of course discuss with your future husband/wife and the parents beforehand.
Traditional Vietnamese Weddings
There are many Vietnamese marriage traditions. Regardless of whether you are planning to do a simple wedding or a traditional one, these are some components that it may involve:
- Formally asking to receive the bride from their family
- Meeting the bride’s family at their home
- Bringing the bride to the groom’s house
- Reception rituals, prayers, dances, gift giving
- Traditional wedding ceremony and decorations or offerings
- Eating of special foods and drinks
- Traditional Vietnamese clothes (áo dài) worn at weddings
- Changing of bride’s dress (i.e. more than one dress may be needed)
- Lots of relatives and/or family friends in attendance
- Gift giving to the couple in the form of cash inside red envelopes
You can find more details about all of the above here.
Some Vietnamese marrying foreigners will plan two different weddings ceremonies to honour both cultures.
For example, the couple will first have a traditional wedding ceremony and reception in Vietnam or wherever they live. Then the couple will hold a second one to the non-Vietnamese partner’s liking – whether that be a destination wedding in a tropical country, a family reception in his or her home country, or a gathering of friends in Vietnam with drinks, dancing, speeches, and/or any other desired elements.
Vietnamese Wedding Examples
Here’s an example of a Vietnamese wedding taking place in a Western country, so it has several of the above elements, but in a Western setting:
And here’s a traditional wedding take place in Vietnam:
If you decided to get married both in Vietnam and your partner’s home country, the paperwork will be different. If you get married in Vietnam first, remember to bring the marriage certificate with you.
How to Get Married in Vietnam
Getting married in Vietnam requires a fair amount of paperwork. You’re going to need both patience and time to undergo the whole process. It may even be possible that you’ll have to go back to your country to get a certain document – we’ll cover that below.
But actually submitting your marriage application and registering the marriage or is not expensive or overly complicated. In fact, most couples don’t even officially/legally marry on the wedding date. It’s just considered a formality that needs to be done sometime around the wedding celebration.
The good thing is, you don’t need to hire anyone to assist you. The process of getting married in Vietnam is pretty straightforward. Just find some patience (and a fair bit of TIME), and follow these steps:
Requirements for Getting Married
1. Affidavit of Single/No-Marriage/Divorced Certificate
This is a requirement for both parties (foreigners and Vietnamese citizens).
This is basically a certificate that proves you are not married to anyone else already, or if you have been, that the marriage in question has been legally dissolved or voided. It’s proof that you are free to marry in Vietnam and/or in your home country.
Your embassy in Vietnam should be able to provide this document to you. If not, make sure to have this ready before you leave your home country. If that’s not possible, find out if someone at home can request this on your behalf and have it mailed to you.
Your embassy in Vietnam might require you to show your current Vietnam visa or residence permit in Vietnam to request this document. For Vietnamese citizens, you should get this from you local People’s Committee.
Here are a few examples of where to get this form:
- Affidavit of Single Status – US citizens
- More information for US citizens
- Marital Status – UK citizens
- No Impediment To Marriage – Australian citizens
2. Legalize and Translate your Single Certificate
Once you have your single/free to marry certificate, you must have this legalized and translated into Vietnamese. If doing this in your home country, the Vietnam embassy there should be able to do both of these things. For some nationalities, such as Americans, this MUST be done in your home country – see more info about that here.
If you can do this in Vietnam, it doesn’t usually take too long to process. You should be given a receipt as proof that your documents have been received.
- Where: Department of Internal Relations
- Time: between 7:45 – 10.00 or 13.15 – 15.00
- Fees: depends on the language and origin of the original documents
- HCMC location
- Hanoi: visit the embassy of your country to find out if they can do this, for example:
- UK Embassy
- Australian Embassy
3. Proof of Residency
Both parties can get this from their local police of the ward they currently live in. Your landlord should be able to assist you with this. If the foreigner resides outside of Vietnam, they must obtain this from their local office in their home town or embassy if possible.
4. Mental Health Check
Bring your marriage application form (see #6 below) and four (4) copies of passport-sized photos (for each person). You will be asked a series of questions individually so they can assess whether both parties are mentally stable enough to make an independent decision for getting married.
You have to inquire your with local District Justice Office if they require a specific hospital to do this or if you can seek the service from independent hospitals.
- Fee: 1,200,000 VND for same-day service
- HCMC location
5. Prepare copies of other important documents
Besides the above crucial document, you should prepare copies of your divorce (if it applies), passport, visa in Vietnam, and birth certificate. This will all have to be included in the submission.
6. Complete the Marriage Application Form
Get a marriage application form and fill in your details. You should be able to get this from your local District Justice Office. Don’t sign the form yet – you should sign the form in front of the People’s Committee civil status official (see next step).
Make sure that only one person fills in the details to make sure the handwriting in uniform. Two visibly different handwritings on one page will not be OK.
- HCMC location – 143 Pasteur, Phường 6, Quận 3, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh
- Hanoi location – 221 Tran Phu, Ha Dong
- Da Nang location – 16 Bạch Đằng, Thạch Thang, Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng 550000, Vietnam
7. Document Submission
Next, you must bring all your documents to your local District Justice Office and submit your application. You will be scheduled for an interview to prove that the marriage is bonafide. If you or your partner does not speak Vietnamese fluently, you may bring an interpreter with you.
- Fee: 1,000,000 VND – must be paid in cash
Important note: don’t dress too casually when going to submit your marriage application and documents. In other words, don’t wear flip flops, shorts, and so on.
8. Picking up your Marriage Certificate
Once your application is approved, you will be notified to pick up your documents. Bring your passport and TRC (residence permit).
Note that some District Justice Offices might ask you to pay during the submission of the application, while others pay ask for the payment when you return to pick up your documents.
Obtaining a Notarized Translation of Marriage Certificate
This is optional, but if you want, you can easily get a copy of your notarized translation of your marriage certificate. For example, if you want to have a notarized English copy of your marriage certificate. I would recommend doing this, as it may be needed for various situations when you want to prove your marriage if/when you leave Vietnam.
- Where: Department of Justice
Recap of Documents Needed to Get Married in Vietnam
Let’s do a recap of documents you must prepare for your application to get married in Vietnam:
- Marriage application form with passport photos attached: 1 original copy
- Mental Health Certification: 1 original copy for each party/person
- Single/No-Marriage Certificate: 1 original consular-legalized copy for each party/person and 1 original notarized Vietnamese translation
- Temporary Residence Card: 1 certified true copy (you can do this in any place that offers notary service)
- Pink book (Certificate of Land Use Right and Ownership of House and Other Assets on the Land) for those who own property in Vietnam: 1 certified true copy
- Passport: 1 certified true copy for each party/person
- Passport photos, 4×6 cm: 8 pieces (four per person)
- Proof of residency in Vietnam: 1 original true copy from the police
Other Things to Know about Getting Married in Vietnam
- You may need to have been in Vietnam for at least 21 days before submitting your marriage application. Consult your country’s embassy to find out.
- Your marriage application form must be submitted in the place where the Vietnamese partner was born.
- If both parties are foreigners, the marriage application form must be submitted to the city where you reside
- The woman must be at least 18 years old and the man must be at least 20 years old
- Same-sex weddings are no longer illegal as they once were in Vietnam. However, gay marriages are not legally protected by the law, so you can’t go through the process of legally getting married there.
- Important reminder: all documents must be translated to Vietnamese and then notarised
- Make photocopies of all your documents for yourself (you have to submit all documents in original copy)
- Marriages must be registered within 15 days from the date the District Justice Office receives the application. You may apply for a 10-day extension if necessary.
- Rules may vary by province and city. It’s best to inquire or double-check the requirements before submitting your application, since it’s time-sensitive once you submit your application.
- If you are both foreigners, you can online register your marriage in Vietnam if one or both of you has residency there.
DIVORCE IN VIETNAM
I know we just talked about marriage and weddings in Vietnam, so why am I spoiling it already? Still, it’s important to at least know what will happen should your marriage take a turn for the worse.
Here are some basic things to know:
- Divorce is legal in Vietnam.
- The application to file for divorce must be sent to External Relations.
- A lawyer might be required if dividing assets and a child or children are involved.
We hope you found this guide to getting married in Vietnam useful. We try to keep the information here are current as possible. Still, with such as important matter, it’s important to always check the official sources.
Since you’re planning to marry in Vietnam, the Vietnamese language sources are always the most correct and current. If you and/or your future spouse can’t do that, it’s best to enlist the help of someone who get. Having said that, we wish you a happy marriage!