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Lao Relationship Law

There are important rules that people need to know if they wish to pursue a relationship with a Lao woman.

Non-marital sexual relationships between foreigners and Lao citizens are against the law in Laos. Foreigners are not permitted to invite Lao women to their guesthouse or hotel room, police may raid rooms without notice.

Every year on the 2nd of December is Lao National Day and around this time of year is the most dangerous to stay with a Lao woman in the evening because many police officers are out to search for people who are doing any unlawful activities. What the hell am I saying, every day is dangerous because you are not allowed to stay overnight in a home or accomodation with an unmarried Lao woman anywhere in Laos.

Please also be aware that in Laos, an engagement means nothing and therefore being engaged to a Lao woman does not give the foreigner the right to stay under the same roof with her. Only when they are officially married as husband and wife and they receive their official marriage paperwork then the partner can be together.

Permission for marriage or engagement to a Lao woman must be granted by the Lao authorities. Penalties for failing to register a relationship can face fines and possible imprisonment. It is against the law to get married in Laos without the authorisation paper from the Lao government.

I understand that "you can't be together if you are not married" law in Laos can be abit harsh because the best way for two people in love to know each other better is to live together first, this way they will know each others true colour and they can make sure that they're compatible before they decide to make a lifetime commitment to marry each other. You don't want to rush into a marriage without knowing your partner.

The law is there for a reason and that is to protect Lao citizens from sleeping around and catching infectious diseases, that's the only theory I have been able to come up with. But then again, bars are allowed to operate and prostitutes can work legally in Laos, so obviously there is a double standard law here.

This law means that the Lao authorities supports the "arranged marriage" system where both parents know each other really well and they choose whom they want their children to marry. Sometimes we do have to ask ourselves, is this the right thing to do? Why is it that unmarried couples are not given the basic rights and freedom to stay together and the chance to know each other better? Sorry but we can't answer that question because we also think this law is abit ridiculous.

Our opinion is that staying overnight with your girlfriend or fiancee should not be a crime that is worthy of getting fined and going to jail. You may be an idiot but you're not a danger to society, it's not as if you've murdered anyone or went to rob a bank. You can't have Lao authorities controlling or intervening in peoples lives, it's unacceptable and there should be some common sense, who people want to live with should be their business and most people would agree.

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