If you are married to a Thai national and wish to live in Thailand long term then you will need to obtain a Spouse Visa. You will need to meet a number of criteria and should seek legal help before you start the application process.
The process of obtaining a spouse visa in Thailand is relatively straightforward as long as you have all the relevant documents and paperwork together. However, it is important to remember that this is a visa that needs to be applied for at the Thai Immigration office in Bangkok or through an agent who has power of attorney.
Applicants must present documents that verify their identity, address and financial status. These include copies of their bank books showing 400,000 THB deposited at least three months prior to the application and/or copies of their income showing 40,000 THB per month.
You will also need to provide proof that you have been legally married for at least one year. This will be verified through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bangkok. You will also need to provide your Marriage Certificate, which must be stamped and verified.
Once the above documents are in place and have been approved, you can then apply for a Non-Immigrant O Marriage Visa (NON-IMMIGRANT “O” VISA). The first visa that is granted to you will be valid for 3 months, after which it can be renewed annually as long as you comply with the immigration requirements.
After your initial visa expires, you can apply for an extension of your stay at the immigration office in your home country or at the Thai Immigration Office in Bangkok. This extension will last for a period of one year, and once you have lived in Thailand for that amount of time you can then apply to receive your permanent residency as a Thai national.
During this time you will have to report your residence and stay every 90 days to the local Immigration Department. In addition, you will need to leave and re-enter the country several times during this period. If you fail to do so, your Thai visa will be canceled and you will need to obtain a re-entry permit before you can return to Thailand.
You should also note that a Thai immigration officer may visit your home and ask your neighbours to confirm that they know you as a couple. This is to ensure that your marriage is not just a marriage of convenience.
Once you have successfully obtained a CR1 or IR1 visa your spouse can then enter the US with a visa that will allow them to work in the United States as an unconditonal permanent resident, known as a Green Card. This will give your Thai spouse the chance to pursue their life goals in the US and become a citizen of the USA.