If you are a foreign national who is married to a Thai citizen and want to join your spouse there, you will need what is often referred to as a Thailand Marriage Visa.
You will also need this type of visa if you are accompanying your spouse who will work or study in Thailand under his/her own Thailand Student Visa or Work Visa.
Basics of the Marriage Visa for Thailand
A Thailand Marriage Visa is the commonly-used term for a Non-immigrant O Visa which is extended on the basis of marriage to a Thai national.
What this means is that, first, you have to apply for a Non-Immigrant “O” Visa for Thailand from a Thai Embassy or Consulate abroad. At this point, you will receive a 90-day visa, which you can use to travel to Thailand. Then, after you enter Thailand with the Thai Marriage Visa, you can apply to extend it to one year at the Thailand Immigration Department.
However, it is not only the spouses of Thai citizens who can apply for a Non-Immigrant O Visa.
Who Else Is Eligible for Marriage Visa in Thailand?
Other than spouses of Thai citizens, the following categories of travelers should also apply for a Thailand Non-Immigrant O Visa:
- Dependents (spouse and children under 20) of foreigners who are working or studying full-time in Thailand
- Volunteers who work for an NGO
- Foreigners over the age of 50 who want to retire in Thailand:
- One-year retirement visa “O-A”
- Five-year retirement visa “O-X”
- Foreigners who want to receive medical treatment in Thailand
What differs the Marriage Visa from the others is that once you get to Thailand, you have to extend your Non-Immigrant O Visa on the basis of marriage to a Thai citizen.
Thailand Marriage Visa Requirements
The documents that you have to submit when you apply for a Thailand Marriage Visa at the Thai Embassy/Consulate in your country are:
- Your passport, which is valid for at least another six months and has at least two blank visa pages. If you’re applying for a one-year visa, your passport should be valid for at least another 18 months.
- Photocopy of your passport
- A completed and signed Thailand Non-Immigrant O Visa application form. You may be able to download it from the website of the embassy/consulate or get it there if you apply in person.
- Passport-sized pictures of yourself, with the following specifications:
- White background
- Taken within the last six months
- You must have a neutral facial expression, staring straight ahead
- Your entire face must be fully visible
- Headgear is only allowed for religious purposes and even then, only if it does not cover the face
- Glasses are allowed only if they do not cover your eyes and do not have heavy frames
- Number of pictures depends on the specific Consulate or Embassy (in most cases, four should be enough)
- Copy of the Marriage Certificate (legalized/notarized and signed by the spouse)
- Copy of your Thai spouse’s passport and Identity Card (signed by the spouse)
- Proof of your Thai spouse’s financial status. They must submit bank statements showing at least 400,000 Thai Baht in total or a monthly income of 40,000 Thai Baht
- Payment for the visa processing fee
The documents you need when you extend your Marriage Visa in Thailand include:
- Your passport and a copy of your passport;
- Your marriage certificate
- Bank statements from your spouse’s account showing at least 400,000 Thai Baht in total or a monthly income of 40,000 Thai Baht
- A map showing your address of residence in Thailand
- Your spouse’s house registration papers (Tabian Baan)
- Pictures showing you and your spouse together (including pictures inside your house and outside showing the house/apartment number)
- Copy of your Thai spouse’s passport and Identity Card
The Immigration authorities reserve the right to request any additional documents as they see fit.
The documents you submit have to be either in Thai or English. If they are not, you must translate them by an authorized translator and submit both versions.
Several of the documents you submit have to be legalized by the relevant Embassy/consulate ot notarized before you submit them.
How to Apply for a Thailand Marriage Visa?
You have to get a Marriage Visa for Thailand from one of the diplomatic representation offices of Thailand abroad (a Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate). The application process is as follows:
- Contact the Thailand Embassy or Consulate where you will submit the visa application. You can also visit their website if one is available. Learn about the opening hours, working days, and their preferred method of paying for the visa fee.
- Make an appointment, if one is required. You can find a list of the diplomatic mission offices of Thailand here.
- Collect the required documents for a Thai Marriage Visa.
- Submit the documents and visa application. Depending on which Embassy/Consulate you apply in, you can submit the application:
- Through the post, in which case you have to enclose a pre-paid and self-addressed envelope
- Wait for the application to be processed.
- Collect the passport and visa. If you applied by mail, they will be mailed back to you.
How Much Does the Thai Marriage Visa Cost?
The cost of a Thailand Marriage Visa changes depending on which embassy or consulate you are applying in due to changes in local currency. However, you should expect to pay the following amounts (in approximate):
- Fee for a single-entry visa: 2,000 Thai Baht
- Fee for a multiple-entry visa: 5,000 Thai Baht
In addition to the change in currency, different representative offices also have their own requirements when it comes to the method of paying for the visa. You may be asked to pay in cash or through a bank transfer.
How Long Does It Take to Process a Thailand Marriage Visa Application?
The processing time for a Thailand Retirement Visa depends on the specific representative office through which you apply. In most cases, the processing time is about 5 – 10 business days, although some offices process visas in as little as two days.
What Is the Validity of a Thailand Marriage Visa?
A Thailand Marriage Visa is issued for a maximum duration of 90 days, for single or multiple entries. If you have a single-entry visa, you can only enter the country once within those 90 days. If you have a multiple-entry visa, you can enter multiple times within the duration of the visa.
However, after you enter Thailand, if you intend to stay for more than 90 days, you should apply for an extension of stay from the Thailand Department of Immigration before your visa expires.
After Arriving in Thailand With a Marriage Visa
All expatriates in Thailand have to comply with certain rules. After entering Thailand on a Marriage Visa, you first have to get an extension of your stay, so you can be allowed to stay long-term. Then, you have to apply for a re-entry permit, so that you may leave and re-enter without your visa becoming void. And finally, every 90 days that you continue to live there, you have to report your address and stay to the Immigration Department.
Extending your stay
The Marriage Visa that you obtain from an Embassy or Consulate is valid for a maximum of 90 days. So, if you want to continue to live in Thailand with your spouse, you have to get a one-year extension on your visa. You can get the extension from the Bureau of Immigration in Bangkok.
Before the visa extension ends, you can apply to extend it for another year. Once you have lived in Thailand for three years through visa extensions, you become eligible for Thai Permanent Residency.
Getting a Re-Entry Permit
Once you get the visa extension, you should also get a Re-Entry Permit, which can be issued for a single-entry or multiple-entries. The purpose of the Re-Entry Permit is to allow visa holders to leave Thailand without forfeiting their visas.
If you do not get a Re-Entry Permit before leaving Thailand, you will have invalidated your single entry, and you won’t be allowed back in unless you get another visa.
In addition, every foreigner who lives in Thailand long-term has to submit a 90-Day Report to the Thai Immigration authorities, declaring their stay. So, every 90 days that you live in Thailand, you have to go to your local office of the Thailand Immigration Department and report your address.
Can I Work in Thailand With a Non-Immigrant O Visa?
A Thailand Marriage Visa issued on its own does not allow the holder to work. Anyone who wants to work in Thailand has to get a Thai Work Permit from the Thailand Ministry of Labour. However, while some claim that you can get a Thai Work Permit while holding an O Visa, you may actually have to convert your existing visa into a Thai Work Visa before you can apply for the work permit.
If you have found an employer, ask them for more information, as they are likely to be experienced in handling work permit applications. Or, alternatively, ask the Immigration authorities or the Ministry of Labour for more information.