How To Apply For A Visa In Thailand

Thailand draws a number of visitors every year, with its impressive food, rich culture and beautiful nature. Depending on your nationality, you may need a visa to travel there. This article will walk you through the types of visa available, as well as the processes for applying for a work permit or residency.

Visas

Tourists from many countries can enter Thailand without applying for a visa ahead of time, and can stay for 15 or 30 days, depending on their nationality.

For example, passport holders from China, India, Mexico, and Taiwan can stay in Thailand for 15 days after receiving a visa upon arrival. Visitors from Australia, Canada, most European countries, New Zealand, and the US can stay for up to 30 days without any visa at all. And still other countries, including Argentina, Colombia, Israel, and the Philippines, can stay for up to 90 days with no visa. A full list of visa exceptions can be found here.

Visitors from exempt countries, who will be engaging only in tourism, just need a valid passport, proof of onward travel and sufficient funds (10,000 THB, or $320, per person) to enter Thailand. Depending on whether they enter by land or air, they may be charged a visa fee of 2,000 THB upon entry, payable only in cash.

Other visitors will need to apply for one of the following visas from the Thai embassy or consulate office in their home country.

Further visa information is available on the Thai Department of Consular Affairs website, though no official English translation is available.

Tourist visa (TR)

This visa applies to visitors engaging only in tourism. It allows for a stay of up to 60 days, which can be extended by 30 days at a Thai immigration office. You’ll need your passport, a visa application form, a recent passport photo, proof of your travel plans (e.g. your air ticket) and of financial means (20,000 THB per person and 40,000 THB per family). These visas are valid for up to six months after they have been issued. The visa application fee is $30.

A tourist visa for Thailand allows for a stay of up to 60 days, which can be extended by 30 days at a Thai immigration office.

Education visa (ED)

Visitors with this visa are allowed to study, including at a university, on a Thai language course, and as a Buddhist monk. It also allows for specific training and seminars, including Muay Thai boxing. It grants up to 90 days in Thailand, and can be extended.
To apply, which costs $80, you’ll need:

• Your passport
• A visa application form
• A recent passport photo
• A recommendation letter
• A letter of acceptance from the institution or university
• A copy of your academic record
• Additional documents, as required

Business visa (B)

If you plan to work in Thailand, you’ll first need your prospective employer to apply for work approval for you in their respective province.Once they have that, you’ll need the following documents to get your business visa:

• Your passport
• A visa application form
• A recent passport photo
• Proof of financial means (at least 20,000 TBH per person)
• A letter of approval from the Ministry of Labour

These visas are valid for 90 days, and can be extended. They require you to apply for a work permit at the Office of Foreign Workers Administration and register to pay taxes upon arrival.

Volunteer visa (O)

This visa is issued to people who want to volunteer in Thailand. It gives you 90 days in the country, with the option to extend this once. To apply, you will need your passport, a visa application form, a recent passport photo, a recommendation letter, and information about the foundation or organisation you’ll be working with.

Retirement visa

To get a retirement visa, you will first need a non-immigrant visa, such as one of the above. Then, once you are in Thailand, you can apply for this visa at the Immigration Police. It will allow you to stay in Thailand for one year. You must report to Immigration every 90 days to confirm your address and that you are not working.

To get a retirement visa, you must be 50 years of age or older. You will need:

• Your passport
• Three passport photos
• Your non-immigrant visa
• A departure card
• Proof of financial means – i.e. a bank account with at least 800,000 THB ($25,661) and a monthly income of 65,000 THB ($2,085) – as well as your Thai bank information

Dependent visa

If you hold a B or O visa and work permit, or if you have a retirement visa, and your dependents are under 50, they can apply for this visa to join you in Thailand for up to 90 days, which can be extended for one year at a time.

They’ll need:

• Their passport
• A completed application form
• A passport photo
• An original marriage or birth certificate and a copy
• A copy of your Thai work permit and visas
• A copy of your passport

They will also need to pay a fee of $80 for a single-entry visa or $200 for a multiple-entry visa.

Work visa

Working in Thailand is possible only on a business, volunteer, or dependent visa. You can apply for a work permit under your visa, which will be extended to match the length of your employment contract.

Working in Thailand is possible only on a business, volunteer, or dependent visa.
Work permits

Work permits are issued by the Ministry of Labour to Thai employers. They are valid for one year, with an option to extend.

Some of the most common work permits are given to English teachers or digital freelancers, who find their clients under the umbrella of a Thai company, which takes care of their visa requirements for an agreed cut of the work.

Residency

Thai permanent residency is available to 100 people per country, per year. To apply, you must hold a non-immigrant visa and work permit for three years. If approved, you’ll get a residence blue book, which you can then use to apply for a red book, or a national ID card, at your local police station, where you will need to re-register on an annual basis. After holding permanent residency for 10 consecutive years, you can apply to be a naturalised Thai citizen.

There are a number of general requirements applicable. For example, you must be able to pass a Thai language test and an interview at the Immigration office. You must also provide all the documents you needed for your original visa, as well as additional fees and passport photos.

There are a number of categories of permanent residency, including the below.

Investment

To qualify for this form of permanent residency, you must have at least 3-10 million TBH invested in Thailand.

Work

This residency is valid for those who have long-term work or their own business in Thailand.

Humanity reasons

For this residency, you must be married to a Thai citizen, or be the guardian of a Thai child under 20.

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