Can I stay here because I have a Thai family?

I currently have a multiple-entry non-immigrant “O” visa that I obtained on the basis of being married to a Thai. I am 55 years old, but did not apply for a retirement visa because I still have business interests in Australia and must return there every 90 days.

When I am due for an extension of my “O” visa, can I apply for a 12-month extension under page five of the National Police Office Order 606/2006 – 7.17?

If so, will I still have to do 90-day renewals with this type of visa?

Additionally, I have a nine-year-old daughter whom I have adopted in Thailand and I would like to know what are the requirements if my daughter invites me to stay in Thailand under this order?

S. Young, Karon.

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1 Answer(s)

As you are married to a Thai woman, you can apply for a non-immigrant “O” marriage visa with multiple entries – as you have done. With this type of visa, you can apply for a one-year permit to stay, which will be granted if your qualifications comply with those listed in article 7.17 of the order 606/2006, which specifies proof-of-income requirements.

You can also apply for a one-year permit to stay as you have adopted a Thai daughter. The requirements are defined by the same article of this order.

However, although you don’t need to show a minimum income, you must show that your income is enough to allow you to be responsibly provide care for her.

You must also present all related documents that prove you are truly looking after her. These would include her birth certificate, documents that prove you have custody of her, receipts of expenses that relate to her such as education fees, clothing and so on.

Once you are granted a one-year permit to stay, you will not need to leave the country to renew your visa every 90 days.

The Gazette notes:

You cannot “extend” a visa, only a permit to stay. Visas, issued by the Foreign Ministry through its network of embassies and consulates abroad, allow you to enter the country.

However, such entry remains at the discretion of the Immigration Police, who issue a permit to stay at the border checkpoint when you arrive.

It is these “permits to stay” that appear as a stamp in your passport near the corresponding visa, that can be extended to one year – if you meet the qualifications.

Confusion between visas and permits to stay are a common cause of visa woes by many foreigners living in Phuket.

Pol Capt Krissarat Nuesen of the Phuket Provincial Immigration Office.

Answered on September 29, 2007.
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