Thailand Visa - How You Might Obtain Visa for Thailand
Depending on your nationality as well as the purpose of your trip, you may need a visit visa and/or a working visa. There are different visas for various needs and/or occasions.
Living in Thailand is not the same as going on a vacation in Thailand. You should be prepared to take Thailand as it is with all of its difficulties, contradictions and challenges.
Most visits to Thailand are trouble-free however, you should be aware of the risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including locations frequented by expatriates and foreign travelers like restaurants, hotels, clubs and shopping areas.
You must exercise a high degree of security awareness due to high levels of criminal activity and violence, deteriorating security situation, ongoing political tensions, sporadic demonstrations, and protests in Bangkok and elsewhere in Thailand.
In recent years, the Thai authorities have carried out many investigations and operations against terrorist networks.
Monitor local news broadcasts and consular messages. Ensure that your travel documents and visas are valid and secured in a safe place. Carry a photocopy of your travel documents rather than the originals.
Maintain a low profile, vary times and routes of travel and exercise caution while driving.
Making local contacts quickly and seeking support from other expatriates will greatly improve your comfort and safety.
All foreign nationals need a valid passport to enter Thailand. Foreign nationals without a valid passport will not be allowed entry into Thailand and will be returned to the country of departure.
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the date of arrival and you must have a valid return ticket, which is usable within 15 days from the date of entry. Your passport should have adequate un-used pages, allowing for any required stamps upon arrival and departure.
Visa requirements depend upon the foreigner’s citizenship and his or her intended length of stay in Thailand.
You can apply for six different types of Visas at Thai Embassies worldwide:
- Transit Visa
- Tourist Visa
- Non-Immigrant Visa
- Diplomatic Visa
- Official Visa
- Courtesy Visa
Be aware that Thai visa requirements change from time to time and a Thai embassy can provide the most up-to-date Thailand visa information.
You will need to translate to Thai or English any documents in foreign languages. In the case of English translations, you will have to notarize your documents.
Remember that while in Thailand, you are subject to local law. Showing contempt to a Thai government official at the port of entry or elsewhere is a serious offense.
Tourist and Transit Visas
Foreign citizens require a visa to enter Thailand for a short stay of up to three months. Seek advice from the Thai embassy in your country of residence to ensure you have the current information.
Thai Visa Waiver
For the purpose of a short (up to 30 days) holiday, you may enter Thailand without a visa if you are a citizen of New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the USA and most European nations. Nationals from these countries can enter Thailand at no charge without pre-arranged documentation.
Thailand visa waivers are issued upon arrival in Thailand via the international airport. However, those entering Thailand by land may receive only a 15-day exemption.
The requirements for Visa Waiver
- A valid passport with a minimum validity of 6 months
- Return ticket or through ticket
- Proof of funds for the duration of your stay.
Thai Tourist Visa
If your citizenship does not qualify you for a Thailand visa waiver or if you are planning to stay in Thailand for longer than 15/30 days, you must apply for a Thai tourist visa at an embassy or consulate outside of the Kingdom. The Thai tourist visa is valid for 3 to 6 months and can contain one or multiple entries. You will pay a visa fee on each entry.
Visitors who plan to travel from Thailand to a neighboring country and back again to Thailand may apply for several consecutive 30 or 60-day visas. At most, three visas can be issued at one time, granting visitors either 30 or 60 days for each entry into Thailand (maximum 3x60 days, requiring visitors to leave within 60 days before beginning the next 60-day visa).
For a tourist visa application, you will require:
- Passport or travel document valid for at least 6 months
- Visa application form completely filled out
- Recent (4 x 6 cm) passport photo
- Return ticket
- Sufficient funds (10,000 Baht per person and 20,000 Baht per family)
If you have not completely filled out an application form, the Thai Embassy may reject your visa application without refunding the visa fee. The embassy may also request additional documents or ask for an interview.
There are multiple visas for people entering Thailand for purposes other than tourism. A non-immigrant visa is for staying for a limited time in Thailand. That visa gives you the right to come to Thailand to work, study, retire or join the family. If you plan to apply for a Thai work permit, you will need to possess a non-immigrant visa first.
You are required to provide the following documents:
- Valid passport
- Completed application form
- One recent passport-sized photograph (4 x 6 cm)
- Recent bank statement
- Others, according to your specific visa category and situation.
Non-immigrant visas are in categories, which reflect the purpose of your stay. There are multiple-entry visas available in this visa category. The most popular with ex-pats moving to Thailand visas are:
- B visa - to work or to conduct business in Thailand
- O visa - extended stay with the family, to retire or to receive medical treatment in Thailand
- OA visa - long-stay visa for retired people older than 50 years old.
There are different regulations for each visa category and that requirements can change according to your nationality, the country you are applying from, and the purpose of your stay.
Most non-immigrant visas are initially valid for 90 days. Then you have to apply for a temporary work permit at the Department of Employment or the local Employment Office. You also need an extension of stay from the Office of Immigration Bureau or one of its local branches.
In most cases, the visa is then valid for up to one year, but you can renew it.
This visa is for ex-pats who intend to work or do business in Thailand. Companies often assist ex-pat employees who enter the country with a B visa to work.
To work in Thailand legally, you will need a B visa and a Thailand work permit. Normally, you need a B visa first in order to obtain the work permit.
If you want to work in Thailand, the normal procedure would be to apply for a B visa in your country of residence, with a Letter of Approval from the Thai Labour Department. After arriving in Thailand, you would then apply for your work permit. Your employer can also request the work permit before you arrive.
If you enter Thailand on another visa (i.e. a tourist visa) and then look for a job, you are unlikely to receive a work permit. However, you have more chances if a company offering you a job has permission to employ foreigners (but without guarantee). In either case, you will have to leave Thailand to apply for a B visa before you can apply for your work permit.
To apply for a B visa, you will need some or all of the following:
- A fully completed visa application form
- Passport or travel document valid for at least 18 months
- One (4 x 6 cm) passport photo, taken within the past six months
- Evidence of sufficient finance
- Letter of Approval from the Ministry of Labour. To obtain this letter, the prospective employer in Thailand is required to submit Form WP3 at the Office of Foreign Workers Administration
- Letter from a company, describing your position and stating the purpose of your visit
- employment contract
- a document from a government agency or embassy certifying the purpose of your travel
- an employment contract indicating your salary and qualifications
- a letter of invitation from a Thai company or business association allowed to employ foreigners
- CV, educational records and references from previous employers
Spouses and children of a B visa holder will need a non-immigrant O visa, which is also issued to foreigners who wish to retire in Thailand.
Category O visas are another popular type of visa, which is for the expat’s spouses or dependents moving to or living in Thailand as well as foreigners wanting to volunteer or retire in Thailand on a foreign state pension. This can be more difficult to do when a male spouse is dependent on a female spouse.
Expat families applying for this visa will require birth and marriage certificates where applicable and a minimum of three months’ bank statements. Volunteer workers will require a letter of recommendation from the agency they will be working for as well as a copy of the agency's registration certificate.
The category OA visa is a long-stay visa for retired people older than 50 years old who want to live in Thailand. In addition to the standard requirements, applicants will have to prove sufficient annual funds, as well as undergo criminal background and medical checks.
There is a lengthy list of requirements for this visa.
For further information about the Thailand visa, please contact the Thai Embassy or Consulate
Registration in Thailand
All hotels, pensions and hostels, are obligated to notify the local police within 24 hours if you move out and your address in Thailand changes.
Regardless of the length of time, you spend in Thailand, you will need to notify the Immigration Bureau every 90 days and update them with your current address. You will need to complete a simple form but there is no fee. Make sure to complete this notification 7 days before the expiry date. If you miss the expiry date, even by one day, you will have to pay a fine of 5,000 Baht and risk losing your visa.
Visa Extensions & Renewals
The non-immigrant B visa is valid for one year but the initial stay is limited to 90 days. Work permit holders can apply for an extension of the B visa for one year at a time.
If you decide to stay longer than the allotted time, you can extend your visa by applying to the immigration office closest to your address in Thailand. The usual fee for a visa extension is 1900 Baht. Those visas issued with a standard stay of 15 or 30 days can be extended for 30 days if you handle the extension before the visa expires. The Thai immigration authorities can extend the 60-day tourist visa by up to 30 days.
The penalty for overstaying your visa is typically 500 Baht per day, with a 20,000 Baht limit. You can pay fines upon departure at the airport or in advance at an immigration office. If you have only overstayed one day, you do not have to pay. Children under 14 years old traveling with a parent do not have to pay the penalty.
You can avoid paying any overstay fines by visiting a Thai Immigration Office and requesting a Thai visa extension.
Vaccinations against smallpox are required.
Other Thailand Visa Info
To be successful in your Thailand job search and getting the job you want, you need to prepare a Thailand cover letter and Thailand CV which you must email instantly to the prospective employers selected during a job search in Thailand.
When you receive an invitation to the Thailand job interview, you may apply for a Thailand visa and Thailand work permit. Then prepare yourself for a job interview and take a look at Thailand's dress code because how you dress is one of the most important attributes in not hired for available jobs.
Good luck with your Thailand Visa!