Thai Marriage Visas: Apply for and Renew Your One-Year Visa

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I stepped out onto the slushy streets of New York City. The wind ripped through my bones. Warm air billowed from my mouth like the steam twisting and rolling out of the metal stacks on East 52nd Street. Behind me, the Thai Consulate building. In front of me, a world of opportunity.

As far as I was concerned, it was the last winter I’d be spending in America, because in my hand was my passport, and in my passport, my visa. A guarantee that Thailand would be my home for at least the next 365 days.

Applying for my Thai marriage visa was the last step in my seven-year plan to move from America to Thailand. But perhaps it was the most important. So, I want to walk you through how I did it and how, since 2014, I’ve been renewing my marriage visa every year in Thailand.

Note: Before we jump into this guide, you can also use the details below to apply for a dependent visa if you have Thai kids. All the requirements are exactly the same, except you can deposit the THB400,000 into your Thai account as close as the day before you apply.

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Overview

In Thailand, anyone who’s married to a Thai citizen can get a one-year extension of stay based on marriage, commonly referred to as a marriage visa. 

Before getting this visa, though, you must have a non-immigrant type O visa based on marriage from the Thai consulate in your home country, like I did in NYC.

Once you’re in Thailand, you can then apply for an extension of stay based on marriage to a Thai national, which is valid for one year.

With this visa, you’re allowed to apply for a Thai work permit and work in Thailand for a Thai-registered company. You don’t have to apply for a work visa, but your employer must give you a work permit.

If you aren’t legally married to a Thai citizen, you can always get a Thailand Elite Visa.

Financial Requirements

To qualify for a one-year marriage visa so you have to show THB400,000 in a Thai bank account deposited two months before applying.

Update: You used to be able to get an income affidavit from your country’s embassy showing you had 40,000 baht a month going into your home bank account as proof of finances. But this is no longer the case for U.S., U.K., and Australian expats. Embassies won’t issue this income affidavit. And if they do, Thai Immigration won’t accept it.

Non-Thai women married to Thai men don’t have to show the same financial documents to get a one-year marriage visa. The Expat Women with Thai Partners Facebook group is a good place to get help if you need it.

Application Process from Outside of Thailand

If you’re coming to Thailand from your home country, and you’re married to a Thai citizen, you can apply for a one-year marriage visa at the Thai Embassy in your country. That’s what I did when I moved from America to Thailand in 2014. Since I lived in New Jersey, I went to the Thai Embassy in New York City.

They gave me one year in the kingdom, but instead of doing 90-day check-ins, I had to leave Thailand every ninety days and then come back in. So, I’d drive to Aranyaphrathet and crossed the Thailand-Cambodian border every three months.

The process to get my marriage visa in NYC was easy and my wife didn’t have to be there. Here’s how I did it.

Applying

Your visa doesn’t go into effect when you arrive in Thailand. It goes into effect when the Thai Embassy approves your paperwork. So, I went to the Thai Embassy in New York City about three weeks from our departure date, because I wanted my one-year visa to start as close as possible to my Thailand arrival date.

Because different embassies ask for different documents, and because different countries have different agreements with Thailand, contact your local Thai Embassy for their list of required documents. In New York City, here’s a list of documents the Thai Embassy asked me for.

Documents

  • airline ticket
  • Thai spouse’s passport
  • three 2×2 inch passport photos
  • passport with six months validity
  • marriage certificate translated to Thai
  • bank statement showing “sufficient funds”

Cost

The cost for a single-entry marriage visa is US$80. And the cost for a one-year multi-entry marriage visa is US$200.

Time

Depending on where you get your visa, it could take anywhere from two days to two weeks. When I applied for my marriage visa in New York City, it took about two weeks for the embassy to approve my paperwork.

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Renewing

If you’ve been in Thailand for one year and have to renew your visa but don’t have 400,000 baht to show in a Thai bank account, you may be able to renew your visa at a Thai Embassy in a neighboring country.

I have friends who go this route. And they’ve told me if you go to the Thai Embassy and drop off your paperwork in the morning, they’ll give it back to you by the next evening. But if you’re booking a round-trip flight, I’d leave a few days for some breathing room.

Two popular places to renew your Thai Marriage Visa are Phnom Phen, Cambodia, and Savannakhet, Laos. Each city is only a short plane ride away from Thailand and each has a Thai Embassy. The embassies in both places ask for the same documents, which are listed in the section above.

Application Process from Within Thailand

If your single- or multi-entry marriage visa issued in your home country is going to expire, you can apply for a new visa inside of Thailand fifteen days before your original visa expires.

Applying

To apply for your marriage visa in Bangkok, go to the Government Complex in Chaengwattana. Track down Building B by following the blue pathway on the road in the complex. At the end of the road, you’ll see a megalith surrounded by a moat. That’s where you want to go.

In the far left corner of the building, on the first floor, you’ll find the Immigration Office. Enter the office and go to the counter so they can check your paperwork. If you’ve done this before, and are sure you have everything, go straight inside and get your queue number.

You’ll wait in Section L for an officer to call your number. Be sure to have all the documents listed below. For the most recent list, check the Immigration Bureau’s website. I have to warn you though — the website’s in need of an update and some sections may not work.

Documents

  • passport
  • bank book
  • 2×2 inch photos
  • marriage certificate
  • form tm7 (download)
  • Thai marriage certificate*
  • copy of spouse’s Thai ID card
  • form ค.ร. 22 (if married overseas)
  • copies of your TM.6 departure card
  • copies of every page of your passport
  • forms ค.ร. 2 and 3 (if married in Thailand)
  • children’s birth certificates translated to Thai
  • photos of you and your spouse at your house
  • photos with you and your kids at school, if applicable
  • copy of Blue Book Thai address page with spouse’s name
  • hand-drawn map showing how to get to your Thai residence form the nearest major highway
  • for men, a letter from a Thai Bank showing 400,000 baht in savings**
  • copy of your bank book’s most recent updated page showing the THB400,000***
  • copy of your bank book’s front page with your name and account number

*If you got married inside of Thailand, you can get your Thai marriage certificate at the district office in the city you got married in. If you got married outside of Thailand, you must get your marriage certificate translated into Thai. You then have to bring the translated certificate to the Department of Consular Affairs in Chaengwattana to have it approved and stamped. Once the DCA approves your translated marriage certificate, you can take it to the district office in the city you live in, and they will print for you a certified Thai marriage certificate.

**KrungThai Bank was the only bank willing to let me open an account under my name on my existing marriage visa from the Thai Embassy in New York City.

***When you copy your bank book, make sure the date of your last transaction is on the day you’re going to apply for your visa. So, withdraw or deposit a few hundred baht to show some activity on that day. But make sure you have the THB400,000 required balance.

If you can read Thai, or your Thai spouse is willing to put in some leg work for you, MFA also has a detailed explanation of all the documents needed. Their website is more up-to-date than the Thai Immigration Bureau’s.

Cost

It costs THB1,900 baht for the marriage visa application.

Time

You will be asked to come back in 30 days to receive you visa results and get your one-year stamp.

Renewing

Each year you’ll go through the same process listed above to renew your one-year marriage visa.

Keeping Your Visa Active

To keep your marriage visa active, you need to do 90-day check-ins at immigration, stay married to your spouse, and apply every year under the same process mentioned above.

If your spouse passes away, immigration won’t renew your marriage visa when it expires. But if you have children, you can switch your visa to an อุปการะบุตรไทย, or ubogarabut Thai Visa. There’s no official name for the visa. But I like to call it the “Take Care of Thai Kids Visa.”

If you want to leave Thailand and you plan on returning, make sure you get a Thai re-entry permit. To leave and return one time, you’ll have to pay THB1,000 for your re-entry permit. If you plan on leaving and returning multiple times, you’ll have to pay THB3,800 for your re-entry permit.

Overstaying

If there’s anything you don’t want to do when it comes to marriage visas, it’s overstay your visa. If you overstay your visa you can be jailed and blacklisted from the country.

A neighbor of mine got caught doing this and was banned from Thailand for 10 years.

Reapplication Process

The reapplication process for overstaying your visa is the same as when you apply for or renew your visa. But you’ll have to pay the fine for overstaying your visa. They’ll give you separate paperwork to fill out. You’ll have to sign and agree to their terms, and you’ll only know those terms if you can read Thai.

Fines

The fine for overstaying your visa is 500 baht per day.

Time

If you’ve overstayed your marriage visa and apply for a new visa, you’ll get your results in ten to thirty days.

Now, on to You

Despite what you read online, applying for or renewing your marriage visa is a straightforward process. And as long as you have all the documents and financial requirements, you shouldn’t have any issues.

And remember, this guide only scratches the surface of applying for or renewing your marriage visa. For other questions about qualifications, the application process, financial documents, and re-entry processes, it’s best to seek a reliable legal adviser.

John Wolcott is the global editor for ExpatDen. He's a New Jersey native who now lives in Bangkok with his wife and two daughters.

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