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Marriage in Thailand and the Immigration Implications


Mixed marriages are quite common in Asian countries such as Thailand. It's a fact that numerous foreigners from the different parts of the globe have been smitten by the beauty of Thais which has resulted in their marriage and migration to this famous tourist destination.

Marriage registration in Thailand is somewhat different from the formalities inherent in solemnizing a marriage in a common-law or Western country. Most notable about the Thai system of marriage is the fact that until a marriage is registered at the local civil registrar office, the marriage is not legal. This system runs counter to notions of “common law” marriage which is prevalent in certain US states and other jurisdictions which have a common law tradition. Another interesting aspect of marriage registration in Thailand is the fact that a Thai wife’s name does not automatically change to that of her husband upon the registration of the marriage. In fact, there is a separate procedure which would need to be undertaken by a Thai wife in order to change her surname.

Marriage Visa

Marrying a Thai is one way to remain long term in the Kingdom as a marriage permits a foreign national to apply for a 1 year O visa. Applying for such a visa is the first step towards achieving the goal of staying for good in the country.

The Thailand marriage visa allows for a one-year extension of stay based on marriage and is recommended for foreigners married to a Thai national. It allows for a full year of stay without having to exit the country.

The marriage visa extension can be renewed every year but only in Thailand. Some foreign nationals married to Thais opt to obtain a 1 year multiple entry marriage visa from a Thai consulate abroad. A foreigner in Thailand on an O visa is able to apply for a Thai work permit. Thereafter, he or she can legally work in the country.

To be eligible for this kind of visa, a foreigner must be married to a Thai national and must show a marriage certificate as proof. Prior to marriage registration, the foreigner may also be required to provide a copy of an Affirmation of Freedom to Marry that can be obtained from the foreigner's Embassy in Thailand.

There are also financial requirements that must be met. One is the security deposit amounting to 400,000 Thai Baht in a Thai bank account and this generally needs to be in the account for at least two months before applying for a visa. Another option is to prove that you are earning the requisite monthly income in order to be eligible for the O visa.