Thai Visa Requirements For Living In Thailand
If you’re thinking of moving to Thailand, you may have looked at the wealth of information online on the subject. Much of which is contradictory, and thought the whole process to be quite daunting. Well our team is here to help wade through all the red tape and give you a better idea of what is actually required and what your options are for visas in Thailand. We will be covering all the Thai visa requirements for living in Thailand.
Thailand is a draw for many people for many reasons, whether they’re tourists or backpackers, digital nomads or retirees and expats, and life here is good. Regardless of your reasons for wishing to come here, it’s important to understand which of Thailand’s many visas you’ll be needing. This will depend on several factors. Your country of origin, your reason for being here, and the length of time you wish to stay for all have an impact on which visa will be necessary. There are a whole host of visas available however, there are several which are most frequently needed as they cover the most popular reasons for being here in the Kingdom.
Thai Visa for Tourists – Great for those looking to stay in Thailand for no more than 90 days (3 months).
The vast majority of foreign people coming here to Thailand wish to do so on a short term basis, for a holiday or whilst travelling and, while they’re not wishing to work or looking to move here, they will still need a visa. A 60 day tourist visa, obtained before arriving, fits this bill. There is also a list of 64 countries, including the USA, Canada and the UK for whom a visa exemption is in place which gives them 30 days leave of stay (this is extended to 45 days until March ‘23) however, this is reduced to 15 days if they arrive by land.
Both the 60 day tourist visa and the 30 day visa exemption stamp can be extended by a further 30 days at an immigration office within Thailand, there is a 1,900 baht fee for this service. For either of these situations, you may be required to provide evidence of funds for the duration of your stay and also information about your exit flight from the Kingdom.
VISA RUNS FROM PHUKET THAILAND
There is also the possibility of leaving the country for a couple of days to somewhere nearby, such as Penang and Kuala Lumpur, and returning to get another period of stay. This visa run from Thailand can only be done twice in twelve months when arriving by air or three times by land giving an absolute maximum of six months in the country, however, any more than that and you will undoubtedly be stopped by immigration on arrival and anyone wishing to stay longer should be considering a different type of visa.
Thailand Non-Immigrant Visa – Great for those looking to stay in Thailand for a year or more to work, retire or to join their family members living in Thailand.
For those wishing to be in Thailand for reasons other than just visiting, such as to work or retirement, or for those wishing to join family members here, the Non-Immigration Visa is specifically designed for the purpose.
Three Categories of Non-Immigrant Visas in Thailand
There are three main categories of non-immigrant visas and they cover the needs of most people.
- The Non-B visa is for anyone who wishes to carry out any form of business within Thailand, it’s also the visa required for those with a work permit. Available for 90 days or one year.
- The ED visa is for anyone wishing to study in Thailand. Available for 90 days or one year.
- The Non-O visa is for anyone needing to be here for family matters, this includes the spouse of anyone here with a work permit, and also anyone visiting Thailand for medical treatment. Available for 90 days.
While you’re here working in Thailand, you’ll need to obtain a work permit and with this you can open a Thai bank account, you may not start working until you receive your work permit which can also be referred to here as a blue book.
If you have any yearly visa, you will be required to attend the Immigration office every 90 days with your passport and you need to return to the district where you are registered as residing in Thailand. You will need to apply to your Immigration office for a re-entry permit if you wish to leave the country for a short visit, this allows you to exit and come back once and there is a fee for this, currently 1,000 baht. A multi-entry permit is a better fit for you, especially if you’re likely to be travelling more than four times a year, the current fee for a multi-entry permit is 3,800 baht.
There is also a short term, multi-entry Non-Immigration O visa. It is valid for 12 months, however, you are required you to leave the country every 90 days to get stamped back in, this is known as a visa run; you may have heard this term. In-country 90 day reporting is not possible with this type of visa.
Make Sure Your Passport Won’t Run Out While You’re Traveling In Thailand
It is also worth bearing in mind that your passport should be valid for your entire stay, so if you’re planning on staying for a year or so, make sure your passport won’t run out during this time. It is possible to renew it via your embassy during your stay,however, it will take quite a while and you’ll be without a passport during this time. You will need to provide a passport photograph of no older than 6 months, there is often the facility to have one taken at the Immigration office but this is not guaranteed.
Marriage Visa and Retirement Visa
If you are looking to marry someone who is Thai, or if you wish to retire in Thailand, there are specific visas for these purposes. In both instances you’ll need to obtain a Non-Immigration visa which can then be converted to suit your situation once other requirements are in place, there are certain financial stipulations which must be met in both cases. These visas are renewable on an annual basis and you with have to report to your immigration office every 90 days, however, you will not have to do repeated visa runs!
Tips For Foreigners Who Wish To Get A Thai Non-Immigrant Visa Or A Retirement Visar
Thailand is a beautiful country and an amazing place to live, however, the level of bureaucracy can be a little baffling at times. Although it is possible to carry out the visa application process yourself, it can be tedious and long-winded, and it is advisable to find a lawyer who is conversant with the process, or employ the services of a reputable visa agent. They will act as a go between between you and officialdom and illiminate any issues which may arise due to the language barrier, leaving you more time to enjoy the marvels of Thailand, and if you’re wondering what life is really like here, for more information on what it’s like to actually live in Thailand, be sure to check out another of our blogs, ‘RELOCATING TO THAILAND – USEFUL TIPS ON MOVING TO THAILAND’.