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Authorities to speed up Lao-foreigner marriage process

Authorities are exploring ways to speed up the marriage process for Lao and foreign nationals after learning of issues slowing the application process that have triggered public complaints.

The Foreign Expatiate Management Department, Ministry of Public Security last week held a meeting in Vientiane to discuss and highlight potential issues slowing the process in order to seek solutions.

Consideration and approval for a marriage application involving a Lao and a foreign national should take about three months after submission to the ministry, but it in fact takes longer than that, a senior department official told Vientiane Times on Friday, but he declined to immediately give details.

The meeting also discussed ways to regulate and legalise undocumented marriages between Lao nationals and foreigners who entered and resided in Laos unlawfully, notably in the provinces, according to Khouamsangob newspaper published by the Ministry of Public Security.

Statistics from the ministry showed that hundreds of Lao and foreign national couples have been granted approvals to marry legally every year.

From 200 9 to 2016, some 2,631 approvals were granted for Lao nationals to marry foreigners of various nationalities.

Last week's meeting also reviewed the implementation of a Lao policy which permits foreign nationals and those with no nationality to apply for Lao permanent residency with varying criteria having been set for different groups of foreign nationals.

To be eligible to apply for Lao permanent residency, the applicant must have never been found guilty by a court and imprisoned, according to a Prime Ministerial Decree issued in 2011 to regulate the issue.

Foreign applicants should have lived in Laos for at least 10 years. Immediate relatives of the foreign expatriates who have permanently resided in Laos for at least 10 years are also eligible to apply.

Foreign nationals of Lao origin as well as those foreigners whose parents hold Lao nationality can apply immediately.

Those foreigners who married Lao nationals legally and have lived in Laos for two consecutive years can also apply.

Investors with registered capital of at least US$500,000 and who have operated businesses in Laos legally for at least five years are eligible to submit an application.

Experts whose professional experience is needed for the development of Laos, people who have been granted special privilege by the Lao government as well as those who have been certified as making a good contribution to the Lao revolutionary task and national construction and development are all eligible to apply.

The PM decree also details all required documents, steps and relevant departments that the documents need to go through.



By Times Reporters
(Latest Update
March 06,

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