The type of visa your Thai Girlfriend will be applying for is largely dependent on her previous travel history and the length of your relationship. The Thai government wants to ensure that your girlfriend is not trying to flee the country and has every intention of returning to the Kingdom on time and without incident.
If your Thai girlfriend already has a travel history to and from Australia or a travel history through Europe where she did not overstay and returned to the Kingdom on time every time it is possible to apply for a Provisional Marriage Visa rather than a tourist visa. If your Thai girlfriend has little or no travel record from previous travel it is necessary to apply for a tourist visa first so she can begin establishing a positive travel record.
There are visa companies in Thailand that will advise you to apply for a provisional marriage visa regardless of previous travel. We at Key Visa do not advise this and will never recommend it, however if our client insists we are here to serve. For this article we are going to assume that this is a first time trip outside of Thailand and your girlfriend will need a tourist visa.
This trip is the initial opportunity for establishing a good travel record. Your girlfriend needs to be aware that this trip is for pleasure. It is a holiday and she will be unable to work while holding a tourist visa. This first trip is typically intended to introduce your girlfriend to Australian culture, food, and the diversity of a fully developed Western nation. This is a wonderful opportunity to introduce your love to your family and friends and show her your work.
This first trip abroad can make or break any relationship so it is important to not overlook any detail.
Visa Application Documents
By the three month before departure mark all documents should be gathered and in order. They should be sent off no later than 90 days prior to departure. The process for gathering the documents should begin six months ahead of time and needs to be finished by the three month mark or before.
All documents that require translation should be translated by this point and in your possession.
Form 1419tha should be filled out and all answers need to have written evidence in the form of all the documents you have been collecting over the last 3 months.
You can fill out this form on your own, and it is printed in both English and Thai, we advise that you be very careful though because one single error on the form can lead to the entire application being rejected.
**A note about what documents to gather. We would love to list out the documents required but it varies depending on factors such as where the sponsor resides, how long the relationship is, how many times the sponsor has visited Thailand, and other variables.
Key Visa has the experience to identify all the documents needed for each clients unique situation.
The Sponsor letter should already be complete by this time. The sponsor letter must contain three paragraphs.
Personal details (1st paragraph)
Relationship (2nd paragraph)
Financial Status (3rd paragraph)
Further details regarding the sponsor letter can be found in the article preparing six months ahead of time.
The sponsor letter will need to be included with the other documents being turned in with form 1419tha.
By this point in time you should have a minimum of three months worth of electronic communication stored. Anything from emails, google chats, Line messages, facebook posts, and any other type of electronic communication needs to be all pulled together. The more communication records you have showing the legitimacy of your relationship the better.
Proof of Funds
At this point your Thai girlfriend should have had a bank account open for at least three months. She will need to show proof of funds so the Thai government believes she has something to come back to and will not be fleeing Thailand.
Proof of funds can be money setting in the account or income regularly coming in or a combination of both.
The funds requirements change from time to time, you will need to check the embassy website or give our offices a call for the latest information.
If she had no passport at the six month mark then by this time she should have obtained it. Before she can be granted a visa she will need a passport to put it in.
Passport photos should be current, less than three months old. Passport photos can be obtained at any number of locations.
The tourist visa typically does not require travel insurance, however it will never hurt the application process and will give both her and you peace of mind.
It is a good idea to have the insurance policy already purchases before the application is sent in, with the caveat that it can be cancelled if the visa is not approved.
The alternative to purchasing ahead of time is to include the quote for insurance along with a letter of intent to purchase upon visa approval.
Proof of accommodation should be arranged by this time. You will need to have proof of where she will be staying for the duration of the visit. If you will be staying in more than one location or be doing domestic travel then all accommodations must be listed.
As long as you have written evidence your choice of accommodation options varies from staying in your own place, staying with friends or family, renting a temporary unit during the stay, or staying in a hotel.
All routine vaccinations such as measles, mumps & rubella, tetanus, DPT, polio, and chickenpox should be current and she will need to provide proof of this.
If you will be visiting certain remote areas of Australia or if you will be doing adventure travelling or working with animals it may affect the type of vaccines your girlfriend should get. Vaccines should be done approximately four to six weeks prior to departure. The three month mark is a good time to make an appointment with the doctor to discuss travel plans and what all vaccines will be necessary for the trip.
Each traveller with have different needs depending on their plans, duration of stay etc. Be sure to have your girlfriend talk to her doctor about what vaccines are right for the activities and travel plans you have arranged.
Hopefully at this point in time you have your flight already booked. If you do not it is time to do so immediately if not sooner.
Customs and quarantine
When travelling to another country it is the traveler’s responsibility to follow all local laws including those regarding importing illegal substances or items. Medications should be from a doctor accompanied with a written prescription, not just pills purchased at a pharmacy.
Travelling with an animal on a temporary trip should not be necessary. We will cover importing an animal into Australia in our relocation guide. If you have a pet that you need someone to care for during your trip Pattaya has a wonderful dog hotel called Border Jack Dog Resort. They care for dogs in private kennels and have a choice of air conditioned kennels or kennels that come with a fan.
Travelling with cash. Anything over $10,000 AUD will require a tariff to be paid, cash cards carry no such penalty and neither do bank cards. Travelers cheques count as cash. If you need more than this sum to last your trip you may want to leave it in the bank and withdraw as you go to avoid paying tariffs on your money.
Preparing for the Culture Shock and the Great Food Divide
As we addressed earlier, although Australians are laid back and smile often Thailand is known as the Land of Smiles. As friendly as Ozzies tend to be they still are not Thai friendly. Just remember your trip to Thailand and the impact seeing Thai’s smiling faces had on you, and now imagine the opposite effect happening to your girlfriend. The warmth will disappear when she arrives, at least initially.
One thing that can ease homesickness is food. This is a several pronged approach to help with eating issues abroad. During the months before departure if your girlfriend enjoys cooking, encourage her to experiment with western style dishes. Get her ingredients that are readily available in Australia and have her begin learning how to cook things she will enjoy with the ingredients that will be at hand.
If she gets used to cooking foreign food in her native home it will be a much easier transition when you travel. She will get to know what she likes and what she doesn’t like and it will make things immeasurably easier. If she hates to cook you have a lot of dining out to get done.
While she is practicing her new found skills of westernized cooking it will be a good idea for you to research Asian grocery stores in the area where you will be moving and identify several Thai restaurants. Food is a big deal in Thai culture. Many locals when greeting each other ask, “gin khao young?” which means, “have you eaten yet?” rather than asking, “how are you?”. Thai culture revolves around food and families enjoying meals together.
Anything you can do to make meal time special will be a big plus. Any foods you can get her to eat and prepare that are not Thai will also help tremendously.
Keep in mind that Japanese, and Chinese restaurants may also be easier on her Thai palate and Indian food is another type of cuisine that is readily available in Thailand already and exposing your Thai girlfriend to Indian food will be relatively easy. Indian food is not quite so far away from Thai food as Western food tends to be.
Exploring restaurants and new cuisine together will be fun, help ease her culture shock, and it has the added benefit of being a great date activity. Australia has some fabulous cooking schools as well that focus on farm to table programs. Part of what makes Thai food so appealing is that it is fresh. You will have the same advantages in Australia if you take advantage of the farmers markets. When doing grocery shopping consider using the fresh markets as opposed to grocery stores. This will also likely make her feel at home.
A little bit of Thailand in Australia
If your girlfriend gets particularly homesick there are several things you can do to help ease it. Being prepared ahead of time will be half the battle. We suggest you research in whatever area you are going to be living in a good Thai restaurant, as well as a good spa that offers Thai massage. These little comforts of home can go along way.
Knowing where the nearest temple is too will be helpful.
Sydney Thai Food Restaurants
2/299-305 Sussex Street, Sydney NSW (02) 9261 5058
249 King Street Newtown NSW (02) 9550 6277
20 Campbell Street Haymarket NSW (02) 9211 1808
Thai Massage in Sydney
Thai Restaurants in Melbourne
1/1-5 Aviation Road Laverton VIC, Australia +61 9369 3796
174-178 Lygon St Carlton VIC, Australia +61 3 9662 2244
246 Bourke Street Melbourne VIC, Australia +61 9639 6868
Thai Restaurants in Brisbane
- Lanna Thai Restaurant
1/521 Beams Road Carseldine QLD, Australia +61 7 3263 8868
21 Park Rd Carseldine QLD, Australia +61 7 3263 8868
113 Haig Road Auchenflower QLD, Australia +61 7 3217 7277