Applying for a marriage visa can be a little tricky, simply because there are a number of requirements which must be met. Furthermore, there are all kinds of different marriage visas, such as the K-3 Marriage Visa, designed for citizens of the United States to bring their Thai spouses back to America.
The K-1 Fiancé Visa. Traditionally, however, a marriage visa pertains to two foreigners or a foreigner and a Thai national who wish to get married in Thailand. The Thai Marriage Visa is actually, truly, a non-immigrant “O” Visa. The “O” stands for Other, distinguishing this visa from work visas and the like. Normally, these types of visas are single entry and they are valid for only three months – at least this is the case in Thailand. However, when the non-immigrant O Visa applies to a Marriage Visa, recipients can receive a “spousal extension,” wherein the extension lasts for a year. However, in order to qualify for either the visa or the extension, there are requirements to meet, such as having a bank account or income which contains at least 40,000 baht, having a valid medical certificate, and a valid marriage certificate.
For the most part, other requirements include the same things required for the majority of other Thai visas. For instance, you will need to present a valid passport and its copy, appropriate pictures, and various other stipulations. As well, you will need to present proof that you are single. If either party has ever been married before, whether they are divorced or the spouse died, they have to either present proof of legal divorce or a death certificate. The only other fee is a 1,000 baht charge for a statutory statement. Sometimes, but not always, the Embassy and the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs may charge small fees for notarizing your documents.
As far as time frames go, after you have filed for the Marriage Visa and it has been approved, you have 90 days during which you must also file an application for the spouse extension. In order to do this, you must have the aforementioned information. If, after that application has been approved, you and your spouse want to leave Thailand, you have to submit an application to Thailand’s Immigration in order to receive a permit for re-entry to the country. After that has been approved, you can leave and return to Thailand all you like without detrimental affect to your Marriage Visa. If, however, you do not apply for or receive a re-entry permit, then as soon as you leave Thailand, your Marriage Visa and your extension will be invalidated and considered canceled. Moreover, you have to file for the extension every year.
There are positive and negatives to living in Thailand as a married couple. For starters, if you are married to a Thai native, you can own a home and property, as well as open a business. Furthermore, you have the security of living in a country with extremely low crime rates, as well as an incredibly low cost of living. As well, it is a country full of kind, friendly, and respectful people, where the weather is always pleasant and the economy is on the rise. Negatives to living in Thailand are few but quite important. For one, the economy contends to go up and down without warning sometimes, and although right now it is constantly getting better, it could get worse at any time. Another negative is the risk of natural disasters, such as tsunamis, happening in Thailand.
So what do married couples do in Thailand? They succeed. The low cost of living makes it very easy to be successful. Married couples in Thailand raise families and build their lives together. They run businesses together, such as restaurants and exporting businesses, and they have children, knowing that they will be growing up in a country which boasts high literacy.
So to sum up the documents needed:
- Copy of your passport; (*)
- Copy of your Thai wife’s ID card; (*)
- Copy of your marriage certificate – fancy and multiple page one; (*)
- Copy of her Tabian Baan; (*)
- Copy of children’s birth certificate’s; (if applicable)
- Copy of your Thai bank book showing 400,000THB; or
- Copy of bank book showing income of 40,000THB per month;
- Copy of map to your house in Thailand;
- Copy of photos of you and your wife together;
The above documents would be needed for the extension of the marriage visa at Thai immigration in Thailand. It is best to use a lawyer as the process takes about 3 weeks to complete and it can become difficult if you are trying to prove income of 40,000THB per month as some wish to use a pension letter to show as proof. The documents marked (*) are documents you need at the Thai embassy when you apply for the 90 day visa. The remainder of the documents including the ones you already submitted needs to be taken to Thai immigration for the extension.
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