If a foreigner wishes to establish a business or apply for a job in Thailand, they require a Thai business visa. They must apply for a business visa prior to coming to the Kingdom of Thailand, and the visa can be extended to serve as a long-term visa if necessary.
Thai Business Visa Categories
Two categories describe the type of business visa for which a foreigner must apply.
Non-Immigration Business Visa for Conducting Business
A Non-Immigration Business Visa applies to foreigners who wish to conduct business or establish a business in Thailand. There is a further distinction regarding the types of Non-Immigration Business Visas, as outlined below.
- 90-Day Non-Immigration Visa - Foreigners can apply for this initial visa at the Thai embassy or consulate in their country of residence or nationality. The 90-day Non-Immigration Visa grants the foreigner permission to stay in Thailand for 90 consecutive days.
- 1-Year Non-Immigration Visa - The 1-year Non-Immigration Visa applies to those who wish to conduct business in Thailand and travel in and out of the country. Once the individual’s work permit is processed, this visa can be extended. The foreign applicant will need to acquire a sponsorship from a Thai company or entity.
Non-Immigration Business Visa for Employment
If a foreigner wishes to work in Thailand, they must apply for the 90-day Non-Immigration Business Visa under the applicable employment category in their home country. The visa application needs then be sponsored by the Thai employer.
The foreigner can acquire the appropriate work permit during the 90 days permitted through the visa. When the work permit is processed, they can go to their local Thai Immigration Office and apply for a 1-Year Non-Immigration Business Visa extension.
The visa holder is then required to file a 90-day report at the local Immigration Office, and they must also apply for a re-entry permit if they should travel out of Thailand. The Visa holder can apply for a renewal of the visa in Thailand.
Business Visa Application Requirements
Non-Immigration Business Visa applicants must be able to demonstrate that they are not a security or public threat to the Thai government, and they are required to be physically present when applying for this visa in their home country.
The fundamental requirements for applying for a Non-Immigration Business Visa in Thailand are as follows:
- A passport that has been valid for at least six months from the date on which the applicant intends to arrive in Thailand.
- A confirmation or invitation letter from the relevant Thai business, entity, or organization to clarify the purpose of the foreigner’s travel is required.
- The required embassy fee.
- Any additional documents that support the application as the Royal Thai embassy or consulate request.
- Proof of travel itinerary and financial funds.
The applicant is required to apply for the Non-Immigration B Visa in person at their home country’s Royal Thai embassy or consulate or via mail.
Application Process of an Initial Non-Immigration Business Visa
- The Thai company, entity, or organization must prepare the relevant documents and invitation letter for the visa applicant.
- The applicant must submit the relevant supporting documents to the Thai embassy or consulate in their home country or via mail.
- The applicant must pay the required embassy fee in the form of cash, credit card, or cheque.
- The application is then reviewed and processed by the Thai embassy or consulate, which generally takes between five and ten business days, depending on the institution where the application is submitted.
Foreigners who possess a Non-Immigration Business Visa Extension of Stay need to report their address to their nearest Thai Immigration Office every 90 days, except those who only possess a single-entry 90-day visa.
90-Day reporting can be done in person, through the mail, or by means of an agent with your power of attorney. If the visa holder leaves Thailand within 90 days, they will not be required to report to the Immigration Office, and the 90-day period will restart once they re-enter Thailand.
If the holder of a Business Visa Extension of Stay plans to re-enter Thailand, they are required to apply for a re-entry permit at their local Immigration Office. The visa holder can also apply for this permit at the international airport before leaving Thailand.
Foreigners are advised to apply for a single-entry Non-Immigration Business Visa before applying for a work permit in Thailand. They can commence the work permit application process once they have received their visa and entered the country.
Once a work permit is obtained, the applicant can apply for a 1-Year Non-Immigration Business Visa Extension of Stay.
Permit to Stay vs. 1-Year Visa
Those who intend to conduct business in Thailand and travel in and out of the country can apply for a multiple-entry Non-Immigration Business Visa. Many foreigners wrongly believe that they are permitted to stay in Thailand for a year without any interruptions. However, the permit to stay is valid for 90 days before the visa-holder must exit Thailand and re-enter the country.