Virginia, US
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| Lubna Albar

Settling Down with Little Pad-Thai: Starting a Family in Thailand

Recently, a close girlfriend of mine has given birth to a cute little baby girl in Thailand where her husband is currently on assignment. As new parents, I can see that they are quite concerned with the immigration issues that their little bundle of joy may face, especially in light of the possibility that the assignment may be extended for another couple of years.

Given that I have just become a mom myself, I understand the stress that they are going through and hence have voluntarily set out to ‘investigate’ this issue further - to see how I could provide input to help the couple reduce their level of anxiety so that they can channel all their energy (or what’s left of it from the sleepless nights!) to provide their little princess with utmost tender loving care.

It may be helpful to first note that babies who are born in Thailand to foreign expat parents will be eligible to stay in Thailand without any visas until they reach the age of 14 years old. However, this exception will only be provided if the child does not leave Thailand during the assignment period.

Obtaining a non-immigrant "O" visa 

Should the new born be required to leave Thailand at any point in time before they reach 14 years of age, the child will need to obtain a non-immigrant visa category “O” at the Thai Embassy overseas prior to returning to the “land of smiles." It is important that the Thai original birth certificate (which will be issued by the Thai Authority [Administrative Department]) be brought with them for the first trip out and be presented to the Immigration officer at the airport prior to departure as a form of verification that the child was born in Thailand.

After entering Thailand with a valid non-immigrant "O" visa, the child can then proceed to apply for a long term stay (dependent visa) and will receive a visa approval for the same period as the validity of their parents’ visa. This process will be carried out in Thailand and at the One Stop Service Center with a processing time of between 3 - 4 working days.

For families who will be taking frequent trips out of Thailand, it is essential that the child obtains a multiple re-entry permit once the long term stay visa process has been completed to reserve the visa status in the country. In most occasions, the multiple re-entry permits will be applied twice – once when the non-immigrant "O" visa is obtained (and if the child needs to leave Thailand before the completion of the long term stay (dependent visa) and the second upon the completion of the long term stay (dependent visa). Otherwise, the whole process of application of the long term stay (dependent visa) may have to be repeated.

Armed with the above information, I simply cannot wait get in touch with my girlfriend to share this news with her. After all, the process seems quite straight forward and I am positive that the relevant immigration service provider in charge of their relocation will be able to handle this with ease.

Likewise, I hope that this piece of information would come in handy not only for her but for all foreign expats who have recently started or will be starting a family in Thailand. Now the only thing these families would need to fret for would be finding the right confinement nanny to assist them as they settle in with the new member in the team.

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