Thailand Marriage and U.S Visa
Many Americans get married in Thailand and take their foreign spouse back to the U.S. to live. The easiest way to ensure your spouse can join you in the U.S. is to register your marriage at the district office (Amphoe) in Thailand and apply for a spouse visa for a foreign spouse.
Americans planning to marry in Thailand are free to marry other foreigners or Thai nationals. A traditional Thai wedding includes a Buddhist ceremony but Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Jewish and Chinese weddings are also options. No matter what your weddings plans may be, there are plenty of wedding planners who can help you make all of the necessary arrangements. If you are not religious, you may prefer a secular marriage celebration or choose to forgo the celebration and just make things official.
You must be 18 to register your marriage in Thailand. Thai law prohibits insane and mentally retarded persons from getting married. Thailand does not recognize same sex marriages. Marriage candidates must show that they are single, and prove that any previous marriage(s) they entered are over. Women may not remarry for 310 days from the end of their previous marriage unless they can show they are not pregnant or have given birth since their last marriage ended. Thai law prohibits close blood or adopted relatives from marrying one another.
Although many choose to celebrate their marriage elsewhere, a Thai marriage officially begins when the couple appears at a district office (Amphoe) to register their marriage and collect their marriage certificate. The U.S. recognizes official Thai marriages for all purposes, including determining visa eligibility.
There are 3 types of visas available for spouses of U.S. citizens and one other type is available for spouses of U.S. permanent residents. To determine which visa is best for you, a brief outline of the pros and cons of each type is below.
K3 Visa: a non-immigrant visa for spouses of U.S. citizens.
- Pro: Usually faster to get.
- Con: Your spouse will have to apply for permanent residence after arriving
CR1 Visa: an immigrant visa for spouses of U.S. citizens.
- Pro: Your spouse will be granted work authorization and conditional residence in the U.S. after arrival.
- Con: You have to apply to remove the conditions when your spouse is in the U.S. for almost 2 years.
IR1 Visa: an immigrant visa for spouses of U.S. citizens who have been married for 2 years.
- Pro: Your spouse will be granted work authorization and permanent residence after arriving in the U.S.
- Con: Your spouse will not be eligible until you have been married for two years.
F2 Visa: an immigrant visa for spouses of U.S. permanent residents.
- Pro: The only visa available for spouses of U.S. permanent residents.
- Con: Only a limited number of F2 visas are available, so your spouse may need to wait for a visa.
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Siam Legal is a full service law firm but it has an extensive range of immigration, corporate, and real estate experience accessible to clients both domestically and internationally. It has offices strategically located throughout the major cities in Thailand including Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Samui and Phuket along with international representative offices in Australia, London and Las Vegas.