Rights and obligations of foreigners who marry in Vietnam

foreigners getting married in Vietnam

Nowadays, with the trend of international integration in both economic and social fields, marital and family relations with foreign subjects are increasingly common in Vietnam. This raises many concerns for both domestic individuals as well as foreigners about whether they will enjoy the rights and obligations when their marriage relationship is established in Vietnam under Vietnamese law.

In this article, BLawyers Vietnam briefly presents an overview of the issues related to the rights and obligations of foreign spouses who marry in Vietnam.

1. General legal provisions on marital relationships involving foreign subjects

According to Vietnamese law, foreigner nationals are defined as people who hold a foreign nationality identity document or a stateless person who enters, exits, transits, or resides in Vietnam on a permanent or temporary basis.

Vietnam’s law on marriage and family defines a marriage and family relationship with foreign subjects as a marriage relationship in which at least one party is a foreigner or overseas Vietnamese; or a marriage and family relationship between Vietnamese citizens that is based on establishing, changing, or terminating that relationship under foreign law, or that arises abroad, or that involves assets related to that relationship abroad.

Therefore, when foreigners register for marriage in Vietnam, they will be viewed as having a marriage relationship with a foreign subject. In this case, the marriage between those foreigners residing permanently in Vietnam at the competent authority of Vietnam must comply with the Law on Marriage and Family regarding marital conditions.

2. Conditions for registering marriage with foreign subjects in Vietnam

When foreigners register for marriage in Vietnam, they must comply with the following conditions:

  1. The man must be at least 20 years old, and the woman must be at least 18 years old;
  2. Marriage is decided by the man and woman voluntarily;
  3. No loss of civil act capacity; and
  4. Marriage does not fall into one of the cases prohibited under Vietnamese law.

Please note that Vietnamese law does not recognize same-sex marriage. As a result, individuals in this situation might consider starting a marriage in a country where same-sex marriage is allowed.

3. Determining the rights, legitimate interests, and obligations of foreign individuals who marry in Vietnam

a. Regarding marriage registration

Except where Vietnamese law stipulates otherwise, foreign individuals who register for marriage in Vietnam are regarded by the State to have the same rights, legitimate interests, and obligations as Vietnamese citizens.

Marriage between foreigners and Vietnamese citizens is subject to the laws of their respective nations governing marriage conditions. If the marriage is performed at a competent state agency in Vietnam, foreign individuals must follow the regulations in the Law on Marriage and Family of Vietnam.

In addition, marriages involving foreign individuals residing permanently in Vietnam and performed at a competent Vietnamese agency must comply with the marital conditions of the Law on Marriage and Family Law.

b. Regarding termination of marriage relationships

Foreign individuals in marriage relationships have the right to terminate their marriage under Vietnamese law. Divorce between Vietnamese citizens and foreign individuals, or between foreign individuals resident in Vietnam on a permanent basis, is thus settled at a competent Vietnamese agency in accordance with the rules of the Law on Marriage and Family.
Of note, the Vietnamese court only has jurisdiction over divorce cases involving foreign subjects in which the foreign individuals meet the residency conditions under the current Law on Entry, exit, transit, and residence of foreigners in Vietnam.

Therefore, to guarantee legitimate rights and interests while establishing marital relationships under Vietnamese law, foreign individuals who intend to register for marriage in Vietnam must follow the procedures for enrollment for permanent residency cards in Vietnam.

c. Regarding property relations and common children

Vietnamese law creates conditions for foreign individuals to register for marriage with each other in Vietnam to have the right to agree on a property regime of the spouses according to the Law on Marriage and Family. Furthermore, based on the rights and obligations of foreign individuals under Vietnamese law when forming a marriage relationship with foreign subjects in Vietnam, the property regime of the spouses during the marriage period must be determined under the current Law on Marriage and Family.

Regarding the rights and obligations of the father/mother as foreign individuals regarding common children, these individuals have the same rights and obligations as Vietnamese citizens and must comply with Vietnamese law on the rights and obligations of caring for and nurturing common children during and after the marriage period.

The above is not official advice from BLawyers Vietnam. If you have any questions or suggestions about the above, please contact us at consult@blawyersvn.com. We would love to hear from you.

Date: 31 Jan 2024

Writers: Trinh Nguyen, Uyen Tran & Chi Huynh

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