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Non-Immigrant Visa "O" - Thailand "Marriage Visa"
If you are legally married to a Thai citizen, then you can apply for a one-year Non-immigrant visa type "O", often falsely referred to as "marriage visa" (it's actually an extension of stay based on marriage). A foreigner can get this visa only if it is a registered marriage; a ceremonial marriage at a Buddhist temple or a "common law"/"de facto" marriage is not recognized by the government or family courts.
Initially, you will have to apply for this type of visa at a Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate abroad, preferably in your respective home country. You will then receive a permission to enter Thailand for initially 90 days.
This visa can then be extended to a maximum of a full year at a local Thai immigration office and may be renewed at the Thai Immigration Bureau in Bangkok every year.
Financial requirements: In order to qualify for the one-year extension, you will need to show a minimum deposit of 400,000 Baht on a Thai bank account (if your extension was approved before October 2006, in which case the "grandfather clause" applies when renewing your visa) and/or proof a family income in Thailand of 40,000 Baht per month.
At the moment, it is only little transparent how "marriage visa" applications are proceeded. While some Thai embassies, such as the one on Penang in Malaysia (where you can easily apply for a multiple-entry Non-Immigrant visa "O") may be happy with either a bank deposit of 400,000 Baht or the submission of an income letter stating a minimum income of 40,000 Baht a month, others might require both in order to issue your desired visa. Please consult your local Thai embassy in advance and enquire about the requirements and documents needed in your case.
The basic documents required for a successful "marriage visa" application and the subsequent extension to a full one-year permission of stay include your marriage certificate, child's birth certificate (if any) and "positive evidence" (bank statement) of a 400,000-Baht deposit in a Thai bank, respectively proof of income (income letter).
Please note that you'll actually have to live with your spouse (and be able to prove this) and must keep the 400,000 Baht on your account until the full one-year length of your "marriage visa" is being granted after 90 days.
Documents required for the visa extension may include the wife’s house registration and ID card, pictures of the house and family, as well as a recording interviewing the husband (visa applicant) and his Thai spouse to confim their status of husband and wife.
As Thai Immigration law requires the proof of a family income, it had become a popular option for less wealthy partners of Thai spouses to apply for a Non-Immigrant visa "type O" on the grounds that they're being supported by their spouse provided he/she has a sufficient monthly income and can proof this by submission of tax statements.
However, it appears that in November 2008 Thai Immigration have changed the rules yet again and the minimum income of 40,000 Baht per month, or the 400,000-Baht deposit on a local bank account, must be the husband's.
From Police order 777/2551: In case of marriage with a Thai woman, the husband who is an alien must have an average annual income of not less than 40,000 Baht per month or a money deposit in a local Thai bank of not less than 400,000 Baht ...
Full List of Documents required for Marriage Visa Extension
Another kind of Non-Immigrant visa "O" ("dependant" visa) is available to those married to holders of a Non-Immigrant visa of either type or their children. Applicants will have to submit their birth or marriage certificate respectively.
To find Royal Thai Embassies and consulates worldwide, please visit www.thaiembassy.org (official website). For further details, please visit the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
For up-to-date visa information, or forum discussions of visa-related issues, please have a look at the Thai Visa Expat Forum. For legal advisors or law firms that can help you with the application process, please check the links on our Business in Pattaya page.
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