Obtaining and Renewing Your Visa Based on Having a Thai Spouse
Do you have a Thai wife or husband? Do you want to stay longer in Thailand? If you are married to a Thai national, you may be eligible for a visa extension based on having a Thai spouse.
There is No Marriage Visa
People speak casually about a “marriage visa”, but the truth is that there is really no such thing on the books with the Thai Immigration Department. Instead, one is able to obtain a Non-Immigrant visa, then extend this visa based on having a legal Thai spouse.
You Need a Non-Immigrant Visa
If you wish to enter Thailand to visit your Thai spouse or to live here permanently with him or her, then you can apply for a Non-Immigrant O visa for this purpose at any Royal Thai Consulate or Thai Embassy in your home country or elsewhere. Other types of Non-Immigrant visas, if already obtained, may also be granted extension based on having a Thai spouse. A final option is to visit Immigration in Bangkok (only the main office) and apply for a change of visa from another type (ex. Tourist Visa) to a Non-Immigrant visa. This option is tremendously complicated and requires extensive paperwork – it’s only a reasonable option for people who for whatever reason are unable to travel to other countries to obtain visas.
Extension of Visa
Non-immigrant visas are normally issued for 90 days, after which you must, as a foreigner, either exit the country or obtain permission to extend your stay. If you are married to a Thai, you may obtain an extension of stay up to a complete year (so after the initial 90 days you will be granted 275 more days to complete the year. Once your first extension has been processed, you are then able to extend your stay for a period of 365 days and you can do this again year after year without limit.
All of this is of course conditional. First, to be legally married your Thai spouse must:
- Be 17 years of age or older
- Be a Thai citizen with proof if identification
- Not be legally married to anyone else
You must have appropriate proof for the immigration officials that you are legally married.
The other major condition relates to finance. A foreigner married to a Thai spouse had to provide proof of 40,000THB/month income or else a lump sum of 400,000 in the bank. Thai Immigration does not want foreigners coming to Thailand to be drains on her resources, but rather to make positive contributions.
It’s important to note that foreign men who were previously living in Thailand and receiving visa extensions based on previous regulations may continue to do so under the new law – they are essentially grandfathered in.
How The Process Works
In order to obtain the extension, you must apply for the extension at your local Immigration office with all of the required paperwork while your current Non-Immigrant visa is still valid. Normally you will receive a temporary extension of 30-45 days if your paperwork seems to be in order. After this temporary period, you will need to return to Immigration to hear the results of your application for extension. At which time, you should be granted an extension which will allow you to complete a year’s stay.
After the first time, you simply prepare the same fee and paperwork and apply for a year on year extension. Again this will require 2 trips to Immigration, for application and for hearing your results. After your extension is granted, like all foreigners resident in Thailand you must report to immigration once every 90 days, though you’re given leeway of 1 week before or after your 90-day date in order to make your report in person.
What You Need to Prepare
To apply for your visa extension based on marriage to a Thai national, you need to prepare and submit the following:
- Application form T.M. 7
- 1 photograph (4x6cm)
- Copy of passport, especially Non-Immigrant visa and TM6 arrival/departure card
- Visa extension fee 1900 THB
- Copy of your marriage certificate (if married in another country, a letter of evidence is required from your embassy as well)
- Copy of Kor Ror 2 (marriage registration or long tabian) from amphoe office, dated not older than 6 months from issue of copy
- Children’s birth certificates (if applicable)
- Copy of spouse’s house registration
- Copy of spouse’s identity card
- Proof of combined income of 40,000THB or over for the previous 3 months (income tax records PDN1. forms, pension documentation, proof of income through investments, work permit, etc.
Outside of Bangkok, it is often require to prepare 2 COPIES of every required document and photos. Ensure that all copies are signed in ink prior to submittal. This list is what most Immigration offices ask for, however officials are able to ask for further proof of the marriage at their discretion. Therefore, the following should also be prepared in case they are requested:
- Map to your home in Thailand
- Picture of your house and yourself with family, both inside and outside showing the house number
Immigration staff may also interview both spouses to determine if they are actually married, so it’s best to have your spouse accompany you for your application. The Thai spouse has actually have to fill some documents regarding their relationship. (see an example of documents here).
Marrying a Thai national allows foreigners to extend their stays in Thailand for up to 1 year at a time, with regular 90-day check-ins required at Immigration. As long as you and your spouse are legally married and have an appropriate combined income level, you should be eligible for yearly visa extensions.
Police order 777/2551
2.18 In the case of a family member of a Thai(applicable only to parents, spouse, child, adopted child or child of his/her spouse):
Permission will be granted for a period of not more than 1 year at a time.
(1) The alien has obtained a temporary visa (NON-IM)
(2) Proof of family relationship
(3) In the case of a spouse, the marital relationship shall be dejure (legitimate) and de facto;
(4) In the case of a child, adopted child or child of his/her spouse, the said person must not be married, must be living with the family, and must be less than 20 years of age; or
(5) In the case of a parent, one of parents must have an average annual income of not less than 40,000 baht per month or a money deposit of not less than 400,000 baht for expenses within a year.
(6) In case of marriage with a Thai lady, 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 for the past 2 months for expenses within a year.
(the paragraph about “husband” should be considered as “husband” or “wife”.)