Marrying in Thailand

Marrying in Thailand

Postby boatman37210 on Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:42 am

My plans at this point are to go to Thailand in December, marry my fiancee in Thailand, and not return to the US.

It's my understanding that if I were already married I would obtain a non-immigrant o visa before leaving the US and convert the o visa to a marriage visa after I arrive in Thailand. Please correct if I am wrong.

What is the process I would need to follow based on my first sentence above where I am not already married?

I talked online with a legal firm that deals in visas, but could not get a clear answer. The visa I would need to apply for in the US would be one where I could enter Thailand without a return ticket. The visa would need to be converted to a marriage visa after I arrived.

It may be that I go on a tourist visa, after marriage apply for an non immigrant o visa in Thailand, and then convert to a marriage visa before the o expires. That's probably wrong, but thought I would give you an idea of what I am trying to figure out.

Thanks for your help.
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Re: Marrying in Thailand

Postby susiQ on Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:24 pm

Hi, I'm not an expert on this matter but if the people from the legal firm couldn't give you clear answers then why not ask people at the Thai consulate in the US directly. I am a Thai citizen, married an American man 24 years ago. We went to Immigation and asked them what we needed to do to change my status then we started from there. Also 7 years ago, I took my 2 daughters to Thailand and registered them in the Thai system and they both have Thai ID card. I did it all by myself. As long as you can read, write and speak the lanuage, you can do it.
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Re: Marrying in Thailand

Postby boatman37210 on Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:59 pm

Contacting an embassy or consulate by email or phone in my experience does not work. They either want you to make an appointment to come in, which is not an option due to distance, or they are impatient on the phone and do not answer your question. If they do attempt to give you an answer, they do it in such a manner that you come away feeling that the answer you received was just to get you to go away. Showing up in Thailand based on a vague answer could cause problems.

I post on a forum in hopes of a response from someone who has been through the same process that I will have to go through.

I need a visa before leaving the US that will allow me to enter Thailand with a one way ticket. Tourist visa will not do it. The only two options I think are the retirement visa or the 1 year non-immigrant visa. The retirement visa I may or may not be able to qualify for. Unless someone else has better advice, I am going to look at the 1 year non-immigrant. Surely there has to be a way to receive the marriage visa after we are married without having to leave the country.

As far as getting it done, I know I can get it done. You can get to Chicago by way of Miami, but doesn’t mean it is the right way to do it. I want to do this the right way if possible and avoid any unnecessary problems or expenses. Armed with good information will, I hope, allow me to accomplish this. Getting information is easy. Getting information that you can hang your hat on is not at least in my experience.

Thanks.
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Re: Marrying in Thailand

Postby susiQ on Fri Feb 11, 2011 4:27 am

Sorry if I wasted your time but as a woman from Thailand living in the US, I thought maybe I could help you find the information you're looking for. The whole process will take time, a lot of patience and some necessary expenses. At least you don't have to hire someone else to do it for you. Or if you like to hear from someone who was in the same situation and actually had done it before, that's okay by me. You know that you have to be 50 or over to apply for a non immigrant visa for retiree, right? Wish you the best.
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Re: Marrying in Thailand

Postby chazthai on Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:21 pm

Let me see if I can add some detail without muddying the waters too much...

I agree that the Thai legal system and regulations are byzantine maze, with conflicting requirements and unclear English translations. Also, you must be certain to comply with all of the preliminaries: these you can find online by contacting thaiembdc.org/consular/visa. If that isn't clear, try thaiconsulnewyork.com. All the necessary documentation is listed there - health certificate, police clearance (!), proof of sufficient income and more. I won't go into the details here.

You will do best to apply for a Non-immigrant O-A (longstay) visa ($150), which gives you one year to settle in, after which it can be renewed or converted to a so-called Retirement visa, if that is your intent. I have no experience with what you call a "Marriage Visa". You will probably have to visit the nearest Thai consulate to do this, after you have prepared all the documentation, and you may have to return the next day to pick up your passport and visa.

I applied for and received my O-A visa with no problems from the New York consulate, a month before I came to live in Thailand full-time in November, 2007. Also, if you intend to leave Thailand and return, apply for a Multiple-entry permit at the beginning, and each year upon renewal of your visa. In fact, I just this morning renewed my visa for another year at the closest Immigration Office - they are located in most of the major cities in Thailand.

Above all, try to remain relaxed and pleasant throughout - Thais do not like impatient foreigners, and they have a rigid bureauocracy (sp?) which involves much stamping of papers and carbon copies! It saddens me that they often regard foreigners as rich and stupid, but much of that is due to sometimes misplaced national pride.

So do your homework, be patient, and smile...GOOD LUCK!
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