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Changing from Retirement to Marriage Visa

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I intend to change from O-A Retirement to Marriage visa. My current visa expires in July and my Stay Permit in September. How do I best go about obtaining the marriage visa in September and do I need to leave the country for this? Also, whilst the advantages are obvious, are there any disadvantages having a Marriage Visa compared to Retirement Visa?

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Posted (edited)

If due to border-closures you are not able to do a border-run before your O-A Visa validity expires in July, unfortunately you will be losing the full 2nd year permission to stay your O-A Visa could have provided you when re-entering before Visa validity expiry date..

If the borders are still not open by September, when your current permission to stay will expire, you have several options:

 

a) Apply for a 60-day extension of stay at your local IO for reason of visiting your wife - that will give you time till November, by which the borders might be open again;

 

b) When the borders are open again by September or November, you could exit Thailand and apply for the 1-year MultipleEntry Non-Imm O marriage Visa at the thai consulate in Savannakhet, Laos or HoChiMin City, Vietnam.  Getting that Visa is an easy process, applying day 1 and collecting your passport with the visa next day with no financials required (except the 5.000 THB Visa fee).  It allows for 90-days permissions to stay on entry, and when timed right you can squeeze almost 17 months of IO hassle-free stay out of that Visa.

 

c) When the borders are not open again by September of November (and your permission to stay has not expired), you can apply at your local IO for a 1-year extension of your Non Imm O-A Visa for reason of marriage.

You would need to show 400K seasoned for 2 months on a personal thai bank-account on the day of application, or have started with monthly income transfers of 40K with foreign origins proven and being able to show at least 2 (some IOs require 3) transfers during the months preceding your application. 

You would need to keep the 400K on your personal thai bank-account until your application was approved when using the money-in-bank method, after which you are free to use that money how you please, and will need to top up again to 400K two months before applying for your next 1-year extension of stay.  When using the monthly-income transfer method you would need to provide evidence of 400K being transfered each in every month, with foreign origins proven.

Note: If your Embassy still provides income-statement letters, you can also make use of that method for your application.

>> In case you choose for option c) it is recommended to visit your local IO prior to applying for the 1-year extension of your Non Imm O-A Visa for reason of marriage.  Your local IO might have additional or different requirements, and that would prevent you from being 'taken by surprise' on application.

 

Edited by Peter Denis

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7 minutes ago, Peter Denis said:

b) When the borders are open again by September or November, you could exit Thailand and apply for the 1-year MultipleEntry Non-Imm O marriage Visa at the thai consulate in Savannakhet, Laos or HoChiMin City, Vietnam.

I would suggest that being the last and worst case option. Many people are wishing now they had not gotten one and are rushing to get extensions now that the borders are closed.

Not everybody wants to do border runs for a new 90 day entry when they end or getting a 60 day extension after each entry.

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Thanks for both you quick and comprehensive reply. I will probably go with option C in September.

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If I remember well, the extension based on marriage requires a lot more paperwork, e.g. ID papers your wife, marriage cert, house photo's , routeplan to house etc. Also the papers had to be send to Bangkok for approval taking a 30 day waiting period.

My IO advised against it and quickly helped me with an extension based on retirement.

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Oh, I completely forgot -- if borders closed, embassy closed -- get the OA medical insurance policy from LMG to extend you OA visa based on retirement. Max you can expect to pay for this is 11,800 (11,400, forgot?) -- less if you're under age 70. Cheap, really, if you're confronted with all the roadblocks to border runs and marriage certificate certifications.

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21 minutes ago, ardsong said:

If I remember well, the extension based on marriage requires a lot more paperwork, e.g. ID papers your wife, marriage cert, house photo's , routeplan to house etc. Also the papers had to be send to Bangkok for approval taking a 30 day waiting period.

My IO advised against it and quickly helped me with an extension based on retirement.

Yes, an application for a Non Imm O marriage Visa or extension, does require considerable more admin-work, than a an application for a Non Imm O retirement Visa or extension. 

But the financial reward is considerable, so opting for the marriage application road is worthwhile if you don't mind the extra admin burden.  Also, it's mainly the very first application that is difficult, subsequent application are just a repeat (but do require updates of all the documents).

Surely IO will often advise against it because it is not only much paperwork for the applicant, but also for them.  And IO of course is not enthusiastic when you apply for a Marriage Visa or extension because on top of the extra paper-work such applications needs to be approved by divisional headquarters, so their work is 'checked'.

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23 minutes ago, JimGant said:

...

If young enough now to do all the wickets to maintain a retirement visa (i.e., healthy enough to travel conveniently), that would be my suggestion. Sickness later on, either you or wife, will make a marriage extension problematic.

I agree with your first paragraph (not quoted) that if your marriage with a thai national was done abroad, that OP will have to face the extra headache of getting a thai-accepted equivalent of that foreign marriage.

But I do not understand your last paragraph.  Why would it be more difficult when sick, to apply for a marriage extension rather than for a retirement extension?

 

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26 minutes ago, JimGant said:

You didn't say, but is your marriage from abroad? If so, you're heading for a headache. First and foremost, you may not even be able to get a marriage certificate acceptable to Immigration. Why? Your embassy/consulate is probably closed  -- and you need an affidavit from them attesting to the validity of your marriage. Then, this affidavit and your marriage certificate need to be certifiably translated into Thai. Then, a trip to MFA to validate such certified translations. Then, when MFA validates such, you need a trip to your local Amphur, which may want your poo yai baan to accompany you, in order to receive your Kor Ror 22. This is the form you give to Immigration. Other problems? You need pictures of you and your wife next to your address post, plus another one from inside the house. Color or black n white -- portrait or landscape? Ubonjoe can guide you here. Then, of course, the wife must go with you to Immigration -- and you'll have to return 30 days later for the finalized extension. Certainly, if money were not a question, the retirement extension stands out -- particularly if renewal time finds a sickly -- or expired -- wife.

 

If young enough now to do all the wickets to maintain a retirement visa (i.e., healthy enough to travel conveniently), that would be my suggestion. Sickness later on, either you or wife, will make a marriage extension problematic.

Further to translated overseas marriage certificate if been married before you need copy of divorce certificate.

Think that will be required to get form 22 from Amphur.

I currently in process of doing change ext of O-A

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14 minutes ago, Peter Denis said:

But I do not understand your last paragraph.  Why would it be more difficult when sick, to apply for a marriage extension rather than for a retirement extension?

 

Ah, you caught me. I meant if the wife were sick -- and you needed her presence at IO for a renewal. Probably a letter from her doctor would suffice. But if she's dead -- back to the 800k for retirement -- and TGIA medical if you're still emanating from your original OA visa. Just pointing out that, going now to a marriage extension, if easy enough, in order to avoid the medical requirement for the OA retirement extension -- could revert back to the original problem of TGIA insurance.

 

But, hey, if you're an old fart with a dashing raven haired damsel of 25 years -- by all means, go for the marriage extension. 🙂

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1 hour ago, JimGant said:

You didn't say, but is your marriage from abroad? If so, you're heading for a headache. First and foremost, you may not even be able to get a marriage certificate acceptable to Immigration. Why? Your embassy/consulate is probably closed  -- and you need an affidavit from them attesting to the validity of your marriage.

This would be a particular PITA for the OP if he was British. The Bangkok Embassy wouldn't issue him with an affidavit under any circumstances. Instead he would need to subject himself to a cumbersomely bureaucratic legalisation process in relation to his UK marriage certificate (if this was, indeed, what he had) as spelt out in its gory detail in the following link:-

 

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/714089/Legalisation_info_June_2018.pdf

 

 

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Been married here for 18 years but would not even consider a marriage visa/extension.

Unless you are in financial difficulties try to avoid just for the intrusion into your lives alone.

They started making it more difficult when the "arranged marriage" scandal was at it's peak

so I am not saying I don't agree with them 

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