Some foreign nationals are exempted from the requirement to apply for a visa in Thailand.
However, for the extension of the visa, the applicant must go to the immigration office of the city where he stayed to apply for an extension of his stay in Thailand.
To obtain a visa, the foreign national must have a valid passport or an appropriate travel document accepted by the Royal Thai Government and meet the criteria specified in the Thai Immigration Act B.E. 2522 (1979) and its rules and regulations. In addition, the applicant must be outside Thailand at the time of application. It gives the type of visa according to the purpose of travel. For more information on visa categories and general information on each Thailand visa services, please see Types of Visas and Visa Issuance. In most cases, applicants must apply for a visa in person. However, Royal Thai Embassies and Consulates in several countries and in some cases may also accept applications sent through agents, licensed travel companies or by mail. Please contact our visa lawyer who will provide you with all the information you need to obtain further details.
Only Thai embassies or royal consulates are authorized to issue visas to foreigners wishing to travel to Thailand. Royal Thai embassies and consulates are authorized to issue permits to foreigners travelling to Thailand. However, the authority to authorize entry and stay in Thailand rests with the immigration authorities. Under certain circumstances, the immigration officer may refuse to allow a foreign national with a valid visa to enter Thailand if he has reason to believe that the foreign national falls into the category of foreign nationals whose entry into the Kingdom is prohibited by the Immigration Act B.E. 2522 (1979).
Note that if your passport is lost or stolen in Thailand, you can always transfer your visa to your new passport.
According to the Thai Immigration Act B.E. 2522 (1979), foreigners who fall into any of the following categories cannot enter Thailand:
|➤ Not having a valid passport or other document instead, or holding a valid passport or other document without a valid visa issued by Royal Thai Embassies, Royal Thai Consulates, or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, except for those who are eligible for visa exemption. The conditions for visa issuance or visa waiver are stipulated in the ministerial regulations|
|➤ Not having sufficient resources after entering the Kingdom|
|➤ Entering the country to work as an unskilled or unprepared worker, or to engage in a professional activity in violation of the Foreign Employment Law|
|➤ Have a psychological disorder or suffer from any of the diseases mentioned in the ministerial regulation|
|➤ Have not yet been treated for, inoculated with, or otherwise medically protected against smallpox, and have refused to receive such treatment from the immigration physician|
|➤ Have been imprisoned under a court order in Thailand, or under a legal order or court decision in a foreign country, unless the sentence is for a misdemeanor, negligence, or an exception under the departmental regulation|
|➤ Engage in conduct that is likely to constitute a potential threat to the public, or to be prejudicial to or a danger to the public peace, safety, security, or protection of the nation, or to be the subject of a warrant for arrest by appropriate officials of foreign governments|
|➤ Have reason to suspect that entry into the Kingdom is for the purpose of committing acts of prostitution, trade in women or children, drug trafficking or other forms of smuggling contrary to morality|
|➤ Not have money or securities as prescribed by the Minister under Section 14 of the Immigration Act B.E. 2522 (1979) ; Be a prohibited person under Section 16 of the Immigration Act B.E. 2522 (1979)|
|➤ Being deported by the Thai government or by the government of other foreign countries, or having the right of residence in the Kingdom or in the foreign countries withdrawn; or having been deported from the Kingdom by the competent authorities at the expense of the Thai government, unless the Minister decides otherwise on a case by case basis|
Foreigners who visit Thailand for tourism and wish to stay longer than 30 days can apply for a tourist visa. A single-entry tourist visa is valid for three months and a multiple-entry visa for six months from the date of issue. The foreigner must enter Thailand during this period. The tourist visa allows stays of up to 60 days at a time. The multiple entry tourist visa must be obtained in the country of citizenship or permanent residence.
Nationals of certain countries such as the United States, the European Union and Japan are exempt from applying for a Thai visa before arriving in Thailand. They can enter Thailand without needing a Thai visa. This process is called: visa on arrival. This is not a visa in the usual sense of the word, but a short-term residence permit under the visa exemption regulation. This procedure starts with the filling in of the arrival/departure card. In addition to general information such as name, address, passport and flight number, the visitor must check off the list indicating the purpose of the visit. This information is useful to the Thai Immigration Office, which checks visitors on the purpose of their visit to the Kingdom of Thailand. The application is for statistical purposes only and the residence permit is issued at the immigration checkpoint, for example at Suvarnabhumi airport. This permit is only valid for 15 or 30 days, depending on the country of residence and whether the entry to Thailand is by air or land. The total duration of the visa-free stay must not exceed 90 days for six months, calculated from the first day of entry in the Kingdom of Thailand.
Any foreigner working in Thailand must obtain a work permit from the first day of work. The Foreigners’ Labor Act defines the word “work”. In section 5 of this law, it states that “The term ‘work’ means engaging in work by performing or using the knowledge of the employee, whether or not for wages or other benefits.” Both employers and employees must comply with the requirements of the Immigration Act and the Alien Labor Act. In particular, the Foreigners’ Labor Act stipulates that all foreigners employed in Thailand must obtain a work permit before working in the Kingdom. The Act defines the procedure for issuing and holding work permits and lists specific categories of occupations from which foreigners are excluded.
The marriage visa will be available for applicants who are married to Thai nationals or citizens. However, to apply for a marriage visa services, the applicant must apply to the Thai embassy in their home country or another Thai embassy, depending on the nationality of the applicant. The marriage visa application and process can be complicated, such as several financial requirements and documents required and forwarded to the immigration officer to obtain these Thailand visa services. If you wish to apply for a marriage visa, our visa lawyer will process your application and provide you with his analysis and solutions.
The Retirement Visa or Non-O Immigrant Visa allows anyone 50 years of age or older to obtain a long stay visa in Thailand. The duration of the retirement visa is one year, and the applicant can extend it for another year upon expiration and renew it. The beneficiary of these Thailand visa services will be able to leave and retire in Thailand within a year. However, the applicant of the retirement visa will have to notify his presence in the territory by sending every 90 days the ninety days report to the immigration officer.
The extension of a non-immigrant visa can be up to 1 year if the purpose of stay is still valid, justifying a continuous presence in the Kingdom (e.g. employment). The conditions for the extension of a B visa for non-immigrants due to continuous employment are as follows:
|➤ The minimum paid-up capital for the company employing a foreigner must be 2 million baht. However, this amount is reduced to 1 million baht for spouses of Thai citizens|
|➤ The number of Thai employees in the company must not be less than 4 for a foreigner. For some types of businesses, the ratio can be 1 Thai employee to 1 foreign employee. For example, this 1:1 ratio can be applied to the regional or representative office|
|➤ The foreigner must earn a minimum income and prove that he or she is able to withhold labor income and social security payments based on that income. In general, the salary of a Western employee must be a minimum of 50,000 baht|
These requirements are different from those required to obtain a work permit. In addition, they do not apply to businesses promoted by the BOI. When a foreigner receives an extension of his or her B non-immigrant visa, his or her family members may receive an extension of the O non-immigrant visa for the same period. The applicant must present certain documents as proof, such as a birth certificate or marriage certificate.
It is also possible for foreigners to apply for a permanent residence permit if they wish to stay permanently in the country. The main difference is that, unlike the B non-immigrant visa, the residence permit does not require the foreigner to prove the purpose of his stay in the Kingdom. This means, for example, that he does not have to prove that he is staying to work in the country. In any case, when a foreigner obtains a permanent residence permit, he must apply for a re-entry permit before leaving Thailand. Then, in order to do any work, the foreigner must still obtain a work permit.
The criteria for obtaining a residence permit are not easy to meet, and a limited quota of residence permits per foreign country is granted each year. In order to obtain a residence permit, the applicant must meet the condition that he or she has legally resided for at least three years on a non-immigrant B visa.