Visa in Thailand

Visa In Thailand

Depending on the nationality and purpose of stay, a foreigner may need a visa to be able to enter the Kingdom as either a tourist or for business or personal purposes. Depending on the nationality of the applicant, certain exemptions may be applied.  Having the correct visa will secure your legal stay according to your purposes. According to the Immigration Bureau, most common visas are divided into following types: a) Non-Immigrant Visa; b) Tourist Visa; c) Marriage Visa; d) Retirement Visa.

Types Of Visas

  • Tourist Visa

    • This type of visa is appropriate for individuals visiting the Kingdom purely for tourism purposes, who do not intend to live in Thailand permanently or receive permanent residence status; it is required for holders of nationalities for which acquirement of a tourist visa is required before entering the Kingdom. Tourist visa is divided into a number of sub-categories: visa Exemption scheme, Tourist Visa (single or multiple entries), and Special Tourist Visa (single entry only).
  • Thailand Elite Visa

    • This is a program under “Thailand Privilege Card” which can be availed through the Thai Elite Visa Office; such visas may have duration of 5 , 10, or 20 years under a Privilege Entry Visa rules (“PE”).
  • Non-Immigrant “Business” Visa (Non-Immigrant B)

    • This type of visa is a good fit for foreigners who want to work in Thailand and obtain a valid work permit. This visa can be applied for in a Thai Embassy or through converting a tourist visa to a Non-Immigransupport the foreign employee's visa application, and the work permit shall be obtained during the initial 90 days. Upon obtaining the work permit, the employee shall apply for 1 year visa extension inside the Kingdom.
    • A passport with at least 6 months validity (as for the day of application for visa) is a requirement even if the current visa is intended to be converted.
    • An invitation or confirmation letter to clarify the purpose of employment issued by the Thai organization, entity or company (prospective employer).
    • Applicable Embassy fees
    • Documents provided by the company must be stamped and signed by the Director.
    A foreigner wishing to enter Thailand for reasons other than tourism must apply for a Non-Immigrant visa before arrival. The application can be for either a one-year multiple-entry visa with an initial 90-day stay or for a single-entry 90-day visa. There are numerous types of non-immigrant visa categories but the most commonly issued are:
    • Business (B-type)
    • Marriage (O-type)
    • Dependent or Retirement (O-type)
    • Education (ED-type)
    Additional Categories
    In addition to these types of non-immigrant visa, there are several other categories, including:
    • Type D - a diplomatic visa issued to employees of foreign embassies in Thailand
    • Type M - for accredited mass media representatives
    • Type EX - for applicants who perform skilled or expert work in a certain fields
    • Type IM or IB - visa types for foreign investors under certain government guidelines
    • Type F - for a foreigner performing official duties
    • Type R - for missionaries
    • Type RS - for individuals engaged in scientific research
    • Type S - for those participating in sporting events
    The non-immigrant visa indicates the period during which the holder can enter Thailand. This does not relate to the length of time the visa holder will be granted as their permission to stay in the country. The permission to stay is indicated by a date stamped in the foreigner’s passport by the Immigration official, showing the date by which they must leave the country.
  • Marriage or Guardian Visa

    This visa is intended for those foreigners who are married to Thai nationals, or whose spouse is employed by a company in Thailand or who has a son or daughter who are either Thai nationals or pursuing education in Thailand.  According to Immigration Act B.E.2522, a foreigner married to a Thai national (i.e. a person of Thai nationality already holding permanent resident status and Thai national ID card) is eligible to apply for a marriage visa in Thailand. The first requirement is for the applicant to have entered the country with a non-immigrant visa. The holder of the non-immigrant visa can then apply within 90 days of entering Thailand for a one-year extension to stay based on marriage. There are also financial requirements which must be met. Once the permission to stay has been extended, the visa holder is allowed to stay in the Kingdom for a full year without having to leave the country. The one-year permit to stay is renewable every year.
    Requirements And Benefits
    marriage visa in Thailand is applicable not only directly in the case of a Thai spouse, but also in cases where another family member is a Thai national – although this is limited to the biological children, spouses, adopted children, children of the spouse, or parents. To apply for a marriage visa certain requirements that the foreign applicant must meet include:
    • The applicant shall be legally married to a Thai citizen.
    • The applicant must also be able to show either an income of THB 40,000 or THB 400,000 in a Thai bank account provided that the money has been kept in the account for at least 60 days at the time of application.
    • The bank deposit requirement changes to three months on subsequent annual re- applications. To meet the monthly income requirement, income from outside of Thailand can be in the form of a pension, investment income or other sources.
    Provided the monthly income is sufficient and can be proven via official documents, the applicant does not need to be employed. It is not required for the foreign wife of a Thai husband to show her monthly income, but when the foreign wife applies for an visa extension to stay in the country based on marriage, the Thai husband must be able to show proof that he has paid income tax in Thailand. A marriage visa provides the holder with a number of benefits which include:
    • A full year's permission to stay with possible multiple entries into the country during that period and annual renewals without the requirement of leaving the country.
    • Eligible to apply for a work permit
    • Able to open a savings account with a Thai bank.
    Multiple Entry - Extention Of Stay
    Those holding a non-immigrant visa and wishing to travel outside of Thailand during their permitted duration of stay, must obtain either a single or multiple re-entry permit before exiting the country, otherwise the visa they hold will no longer be valid when they try to re-enter Thailand.

    At the end of the initial 90-day period granted by the non-immigrant visa, it is possible to apply for an extension of stay from within Thailand, and the rules vary depending on the visa type. The extension of a business visa follows a different set of regulations that are more rigorous. If the Immigration Bureau grants an extension of stay, the visa holder must report to Immigration Office every 90 days to confirm their address. There is a fine for failure to comply with this regulation.

    If an extension of stay is not granted, the foreigner may not stay in Thailand permanently and will need to leave the country to apply for another non-immigrant visa at a Thai embassy or consulate in their home country or in another country near Thailand, if they so wish.
  • Retirement Visa

    This type of visa is suitable for foreigners aged at least 55 years with at least a 3-month old savings in any Thai Bank amounting at THB 800,000.  Many visitors to Thailand are so captivated by the country that they decide to return to spend their retirement years in the Kingdom. Thai immigration law makes provisions for foreigners wishing to stay in the country on a long-term basis for retirement by issuing a Retirement Visa to those that qualify. The requirements for an application of such a visa are as follows:
    • Any applicant must be at least 50 years old; and
    • Hold a non-immigrant visa; and
    • Be able to produce a monthly income (pension) statement for at least THB 65,000 OR possess THB 800,000 in the bank that has been kept in the account for at least three months.
    Although the process itself is not all that complex, substantial amount of documentation is required, and a number of steps is involved. Legal assistance can ensure that the application process proceeds smoothly. Upon obtaining the visa, the holder of the retirement visa can remain in Thailand for a full year without having to leave the country. The one-year permit to stay is renewable on annual basis.
    A retirement visa provides several benefits which include:
    • If the original non-immigrant visa was issued with a multiple entry permit, the visa holder can enter the country multiple times during the period of validity of the visa.
    • It can be converted into a one-year retirement visa, which can be renewed annually without the holder having to leave the country.
    • The holder of a retirement visa is eligible to open a savings account with a Thai bank.

Applying For a Visa

  • Check your nationality requirements in the part of necessity to apply for a Tourist Visa in case you are  traveling to Thailand for holiday and check the list of documents required for Non-Immigrant Tourist Visa.
  • Upon receiving all the documents overseas, check if the list of documents is complete and authenticated/stamped by the issuing authority.
  • During the present Covid-19 pandemics, an appointment with the embassy must be coordinated by the applicant personally.
  • Submit the documents and pay relevant government fees.
  • Check for the update on the application for COE (Certificate of Entry), subject to the changes endorsed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Immigration Bureau, and Ministry of Health.

Responsibility Of The Visa Holder

  • Upon receiving the Tourist Visa or Non-Immigrant Visa, it is the holder's responsibility to extend the visa for another 30 days, 6 months or 1 year depending the type, comply with the requirements and present all necessary documents.
  • If the visa holder intends to leave the Kingdom during the period of validity of the visa, they can apply for a single or multiple entry permit.
  • The visa holder shall appear for 90-day reports at the Chaengwattana Immigration Office (in case of Bangkok); in case of other provinces, the visa holder must report to the nearby immigration office.

Permanent Residence in Thailand

A foreigner may apply for permanent residence in Thailand after holding a Thai non-immigrant visa for a minimum of three years, consecutively. Each application for Thai Permanent Residency must be submitted annually between the beginning of October and the end of December. The annual quota for granting a Thai Permanent Residence permit is a maximum of 100 persons per country.

Applicants must meet the following criteria to be eligible for permanent residency in Thailand:

  • Hold a valid passport issued by the country of their current nationality, along with a Thai non-immigrant visa permitting them to stay in the Kingdom for at least three (3) consecutive years.
  • If the applicant is over 14 years of age, they must complete a criminal record check.
  • Pass the review of financial, family, social status, employment, and educational background.

You must also be able to belong to one of the following categories to apply for Permanent Resident status in Thailand:

  • Investment Category
    • The applicant must have brought a minimum of THB 10 million into the Kingdom. (The applicant must provide proof of these investment funds transferred into the country)
  • Working / Business Category
    • The applicant must hold the position equal to executive officer in a Thai company with a minimum of THB 10  million capitalization and have a monthly income of THB 50,000 (minimum)
    • The applicant must have filed tax returns for the amount of THB 100,000 annual income for the last two years
    • The applicant must earn a minimum annual income of THB 80,000 a month for at least the past two years.
  • Humanity Reason Category
    • The applicant must be in a relationship with a Thai citizen or a foreigner who is already in possession of a residence permit. This includes either a legal mother or father, a legal wife or husband, or a child who is single and under the age of twenty (as for the application submission date).
  • Expert Category
    • The applicant must have graduated (at least, a bachelor degree) and possess skills or abilities that are sought after and are beneficial for the country for a period of three years, at the least.

Benefits of Permanent Residence (PR)

There are several benefits to having Permanent Residence (PR) in Thailand. Here are the most prominent ones;

  • Staying in Thailand without a visa or having to make 90-day reports or visa extensions.
  • Applying for an extension of stay for all non-Thai family members.
  • Buying property without having to transfer money from abroad.
  • Becoming a director of a public company.
  • Obtaining a work permit very quickly and without hassle.
  • Obtaining a permanent residence book and alien registration book.
  • Opportunity to apply for Thai citizenship.

Specific Circumstances

In order for Thai Immigration to grant approval for the permanent residence application, the Royal Thai Immigration Commission will take into consideration the applicant's qualifications in terms of assets, knowledge, income, professional expertise, national security, personality, health, relationship with a Thai naturalized citizen (or Thai national), understanding of Thai language, and other appropriate conditions due to current economic and social surroundings, and government policies.

This includes the family or humanity reasons category, such as Thailand family visa or Thai child custody visa.

After accepting an application for permanent residence, Immigration officials will grant a 180 day extension of stay as from the date the application was submitted. Additional 180-day visa extensions are granted until the result of the application is announced. An interview with an Immigration officer is required; it includes a test of the applicant's spoken and written  Thai language skills.

Permanent Residence Fees

A non-refundable application fee of THB 7,600 shall be paid to the Thai government for a permanent residency permit. However, the government fee payable is THB 191,400, if permanent residence is granted to the applicant, unless the applicant is a minor under the age of 20 or married to a Thai citizen - in which case the fee totals to THB 95,700. The government fee rates may change from time to time, so it is important to recheck this information again before proceeding.

Please note that professional fees are not included in the amounts mentioned above. Professional fees can include the following services;

  • Preparation of your PR application
  • Escorting you to submit application and attend a short interview with the immigration officer
  • Preparing you for your full interview in front of the Panel
  • Scheduling Thai language lessons to enhance your language skills
  • Scheduling rehearsals (3-4 times) for the main interview
  • Escorting you to the Interview

PR Time Frame

Getting Permanent Residence Certificate can take a substantial amount of time. In the last 5 years, the time frame has been reduced significantly, but it still is a concern. Here is what to expect;

  • Submit Application
    2 to 4 Weeks
  • Interview
    3 to 4 months
  • Acceptance
    18 to 20 months

Juslaws & Consult

Juslaws & Consult offers legal services that assist individuals and companies in obtaining their Thai Permanent Resident Visa with a simplified and coordinated approach. You may reach us for inquiries, so that we can further assess your required documents, permanent visa or permanent residency applications, permanent resident status, or which visa can fit you best.  Juslaws & Consult has years of experience with all types of visas and immigration issues including permanent residence in Thailand, as well as in-depth knowledge of Thailand's immigrations laws and procedures. We provide wide-ranging services to individuals applying for visas and permit-to-stay extensions. Contact Juslaws & Consult for more information.