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Thai Marriage Visas And Banking: A Catch 22?

Transcript of the above video: 

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing the Catch-22 associated with Marriage Visas and Banking here in Thailand. What are we talking about? Well a lot of folks will come into Thailand or they will get married in Thailand while they are a tourist or something, and then they'll want to go ahead and stay here in Thailand and live here on what is called an O Marriage Visa. 

For those who are unaware, the O category which is often discussed in the context of Retirement Visas, is actually something of a catch-all category. It's what we would call sort of like a residuary if you will in the context of a Will; it's a clause in the Immigration Act. O Visas were basically created under the clause that said well "or any other Visa created by Ministerial Regulations" is what it sort of says. So they basically created the O which stands for "Other" to encapsulate, in this case, relatives of a Thai national. They also later used the same catch-all category to create the so-called Retirement Visa. That's why Retirement Visas are primarily driven by Immigration Regulation made internally within Immigration rather than promulgation of law because the Immigration Act actually has that provision that allows for it to be created by regulation. 

Back to the Marriage Visa issue though, where is the Catch-22? Well if you are in Thailand without a Marriage Visa and you happen to be married to a Thai, oftentimes there are three things necessary. One is the proof of marriage. If you are married in Thailand, that's fairly easy to present. If you were married abroad, then you have to deal with documentation associated with certification of that foreign marriage for recognition in Thailand. That can be a somewhat cumbersome process; I will get into that in another video I am making contemporaneously with this one. That said, the more pertinent issue on this video is banking and there is something of a catch-22 to banking if you are coming in to Thailand without a Marriage Visa. What I mean to say is most banks will not set up a Bank Account unless you have a Non-immigrant Visa. So if you are just in Thailand on a 30-day stamp, some sort of 60-day stamp, Visa exemption, if you are here on visa-on-arrival or Tourist Visa, generally speaking banks are not going to go ahead and open you up a Bank Account and therefore you are not going to be able to get your Marriage Visa because oftentimes they want to see proof of money in a bank account, specifically 400,000 Baht for the O Marriage Visa. So this is something of a Gordian Knot if you will, something of a catch-22. I have a number of ladies here in our office that deal with Immigration on regular basis - here in Bangkok especially, but Pattaya as well - and we deal with this stuff quite regularly. They are rather capable at cutting this sort of Gordian Knot, cutting through the paradox if you will, getting through the Catch-22 but again it is going to be circumstantially dependent. 

So those out there who are looking to get a Marriage Visa and are finding themselves having problems with the banking side of things, it may not be a terrible idea to contact a legal professional and gain some insight and guidance into how best to proceed.