Thai Child Support Visa
Foreign males who have children with a Thai national can apply for an “O” visa based upon having a dependent Thai child. This type of visa is usually issued as a marriage visa but can be issued for those committed to supporting their Thai child or children, it is especially useful for foreigners who have children with their Thai partner but are not married.
A stay in Thailand due to a dependency basis:
Foreigners wishing to apply for a long-stay visa based on supporting their children can do so. This is a recognised and valid reason accepted by the Thai government for long-term stay. While this type of visa is commonly called a Thai Child Support Visa or a Guardian Visa, these are not officially recognised visa categories.
Requirements to obtain the visa:
If a foreigner wishes to obtain a visa on the grounds of supporting their Thai child they will need the following documentation:
- Application form: This is known as form TM7
- Passport: Original passport as well as a copy of the passport
- Photograph: A recent 4 cm x 6 cm photograph of the applicant
- Evidence: This should identify that the supporter or the one being supported is of Thai nationality, or that they are residing in the Kingdom
- Proof of finances: You will need to produce your personal Thai bank book that shows funds of at least 400,000 baht in your account or an income of at least 40,000 baht per month. This should be accompanied by a letter from your bank confirming these funds, or a letter from your country’s Embassy confirming your monthly income is at least 40,000 baht
- Birth certificate(s): Copies of birth certificates should be presented if these are available
Legitimation of a child:
If you are married to a Thai national and a child is born you are considered to be the father of the child. However, legitimising the father of a child between unmarried couples who have children is a more complex situation.
Such a situation raises two important issues:
1.Legitimisation: How does the father of a child born out of wedlock legitimise his child.
2.Custodial rights: Does the biological father have any custodial rights over his child.
Civil and Commercial Code of Thailand (CCC)
Point 1 falls under the country’s CCC law. It recognises that any woman who is unmarried and gives birth to a child is the legitimate mother of the child. As such it is the mother only who has parental rights over the child.
If the biological father wishes to legitimate this child to gain parental rights he has 3 routes to achieve this:
This first option is the most straightforward. The biological father marries the mother of their child. When the marriage registration is being completed the father must inform the registrar of relevant details of the legitimate child.
The registrar at the district office can then issue a marriage certificate which states that the husband is the legitimate father of the child.
Section 1547 of the country’s CCC states that the father can submit an application for child legitimation with the local district office, but to do this the mother and the child must give their consent to the said application.
If such consent is not given by both the mother and the child within 60 days from this application, or either the mother or the child raise objections stating that the applicant is not the father of the child the father must pursue this by filing a petition of child legitimation to the appropriate law court.
Judgement by court:
Section 1555 of the country’s CCC state that if the court is to grant legitimation of a child the father must prove grounds for this. There are 7 individual and clearly stated reasons that can be cited.
It is imperative that any father wishing to take this route uses a fully qualified solicitor to understand each reason in order to decide any that are applicable as grounds for his legitimisation application.
If a father decides to take the “Judgement by court” route to legitimise his child he needs to provide as much additional evidence as possible to strengthen his case. This includes such things as:
- DNA testing results
- Photographs of the couple together while the mother was pregnant
- Witness statements confirming the father had made public that the woman was pregnant with his child
- Bills and correspondence proving the father paid hospital bills and/or settled other expenses for mother and child.
Based on the above evidence and hearing a judge will give his findings. If found in the father’s favour then he can complete his child’s legitimisation registration at his local district office.
Fathers custodial rights:
Custodial rights need to be agreed between the mother, father and child. Once this is established the father has said custodial rights. If an agreement cannot be reached on custodial rights then the father must take his case to the law courts in order to prove he should be given custodial rights.
Once again, based on the evidence provided a judge will make the final decision regarding the extent of custodial rights for the father.