What if you have a child in Thailand

If you have a child in Thailand, you need to know how you can come to visit them, what rights you have as a foreign father to the child, and what you should do to avoid any unwanted situations that might happen in the future. In this blog, we'll provide information that you need to know.

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Under Thai law, children born out of wedlock are not automatically recognized as the father's child. To establish legal paternity, the father must undergo a legitimization process. This process involves acknowledging the child in front of a district registrar and registering the child's birth certificate with the father's name. Legitimization grants the father certain rights and responsibilities towards the child, including inheritance rights, visitation rights, and child support obligations.

Visa Considerations:

Foreign fathers seeking to visit their children in Thailand must navigate the visa application process. The first step is to ensure that the child is legally recognized as the father's offspring. This involves registering the child's birth at the local district office and obtaining a birth certificate. Once paternity is established, the father can apply for a visa, typically a Non-Immigrant O Visa, which allows for a more extended stay in the country.

The Non-Immigrant Visa-O is specifically designed for individuals who are lawfully married to a Thai citizen or are lawful parents of Thai children. This visa comes in different types, with the Single-Entry Non-Immigrant Visa-O being relevant for visitation purposes. It offers a validity period of 90 days from the date of issuance, during which visa holders may contact the Immigration Bureau of Thailand for the extension of stay and re-entry permit which is normally granted for a 1-year extension.

A required documents to support an application:

  • Passport
  • Permanent Residence or other relevant permits.
  • Proof of Relationship:
    • Copy of the Marriage Certificate, Passport, and Identity Card of the Applicant’s spouse (Copies of documents must be signed by the spouse).
    • Copy of the Birth Certificate, Passport, and Identity Card of the Applicant’s children.
  • Evidence of adequate finance: An original bank statement that states the bank's contact information and an equivalent amount of at least 400,000 Baht (or equivalent) for the last 3 months.
  • flight tickets

Legal Recognition:

Thailand's legal system recognizes the importance of both parents in a child's life. As a foreign father, it is crucial to assert and establish legal rights to visitation. This involves working with Thai authorities to ensure that the child's birth certificate accurately reflects the father's name and details. Legal recognition opens the door to visitation rights and provides a foundation for any future custody arrangements.

Not Married:

If parents are not legally married, the child is considered legitimate only for the mother. To establish the father's legitimacy, he must apply for child certification with the mother's and child's consent at a district office. For foreign parents, authentication involves passport verification at the embassy, translation into Thai, and certification at the Department of Consular Affairs. Form

The process of registering the certification of a foreign child is as follows:

  • Required documents:
  • National ID card and passport certified at the embassy or consulate of the foreign parent.
  • Household registration of the relevant householder.
  • Child's birth certificate.
  • Two personal witnesses.
  • Both parents and the child must sign. If the child is too young to sign or unable to write, the meaning cannot be conveyed, and the registration of the child's certification must have a court judgment.

Divorce and Child Custody:

If parents divorce after having children, agreements on child custody and responsibilities are crucial.Divorce requires agreements on child custody and financial support.In cases of mutual consent, spouses agree on custody and support; otherwise, the court decides.Court judgments consider the child's welfare, and parental rights may be revoked if deemed necessary.

Financial Support after Divorce:

In mutual consent divorce, financial support agreements for the child must be reached. Without specified support, the court determines the amount.

Communication Rights after Divorce:

Non-custodial parents retain the right to communicate with and meet their child and allow for regular contact unless agreed otherwise.

Parental Rights for Unmarried Fathers:

Unmarried fathers have custody rights in three scenarios:

  • Registering the child with the mother's and child's consent.
  • If the parents marry later, and the child is registered after marriage.
  • Through a court judgment granting custody rights.

Visitation Rights:

In Thailand, fathers have the legal right to visit their children, and the Thai legal system generally supports the involvement of both parents in a child's life.

Custody Considerations:

While visitation rights are an essential aspect of a father's relationship with their child, custody arrangements may also come into play. Thai law often favors joint custody arrangements that allow both parents to contribute to the child's upbringing. It's crucial for foreign fathers to engage in open and constructive discussions with the child's other parent to reach an agreement that serves the child's best interests.

Cultural Sensitivity:

Navigating the legal landscape in a foreign country requires cultural sensitivity. Foreign fathers should be respectful of Thai customs and legal procedures. Seeking guidance from legal professionals who specialize in family law in Thailand can help foreign fathers understand the intricacies of the legal system and ensure that their rights as parents are protected.


In conclusion, for foreign fathers with children in Thailand, whether married or not, it is crucial to ensure your name is on the child's certificate and to undergo the Registration of Legitimation of the Child process. This safeguards your parental rights and establishes the child's legitimacy, providing legal protection and clarity for all parties involved

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