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Visas and Immigration Law in Thailand

All persons, other than those in transit and citizens of certain countries, are required to obtain a visa in order to enter Thailand. Foreign nationals who intend to remain in Thailand to work or conduct business must comply with visa requirements in addition to obtaining a work permit.

Visa Categories
Nationals of most countries will, without having to apply for a visa from a Thai embassy or consulate in advance, be given a 30 day-visa when entering Thailand, except for those who are eligible for 90 day-visas. Nationals of countries who are entitled to the 30 day-visa may be requested by the immigration officials to produce an onward ticket to ensure that they will leave the Kingdom within 30 days.

Furthermore, the Immigration Act provides for several visa categories as follows:

Tourist Visa
Tourist visas are initially valid for 60 days and are renewed at the discretion of the Immigration Department. Renewals are normally granted for periods of up to 30 days at a time.

Visitor Transit Visa
Aliens who have obtained a Transit Visa from a Thai embassy or consulate will be granted a 30-day stay in the Kingdom. Extensions of stay are normally granted for periods of 7 - 10 days.

Please Note: Transit, Visitor Transit and Tourist Visa holders are not authorized to work in Thailand.

Immigrant Visa
Non-Quota Immigrant: This category includes, inter alia, former residents who have lost resident status, but who have reapplied to resume their residency and who have been able to demonstrate a convincing reason to support the granting of this type of visa.

Members of the diplomatic or consular corps, aliens coming to perform their duties in Thailand with the approval of the Thai government, aliens performing their duties in Thailand under an agreement between the Thai government and a foreign government, heads of international organizations or agencies operating in Thailand as well as dependents of all the aforementioned persons, including private servants of members of the diplomatic corps, are exempted by the Act from the usual visa requirements.

Non-Immigrant Visa
Aliens seeking a prolonged stay, or those coming to work in Thailand, should obtain Non-Immigrant visas for all family members prior to entering the Kingdom. There are several categories of Non-Immigrant visas which include, among others, business visa category (B); dependent visa category (O); investment subject to the provisions of the laws on investment promotion category (BOI IB); diplomatic and consular visa category (D); performance of duties with the mass media category (M); performance of skilled or expert work category (EX); investment (with concurrence of ministries and departments concerned) and capital investment category (IM); and study or observation category (ED).

The advantages of a Non-Immigrant Visa include:

- Entitlement of the holder to apply for a multiple re-entry visa to Thailand from the Immigration Division in Bangkok;
- Subject to the regulations of the immigration authorities, entitlement of the holder to apply for permanent residence in Thailand;
- Eligibility for issuance of a Wok Permit to the visa holder;
- Eligibility for temporary visa renewals while processing issuance of a long-term annual visa.

Aliens are advised to strictly adhere to the rules governing each visa category. They should report any changes of address or status to local police within 24 hours.

In addition, foreigners residing in Thailand for more than 90 consecutive days are required to register their address every 90 days with the Immigration Bureau. This requirement applies to all foreigners, including holders of work permits and long-term visas. Failure to register can result in substantial penalties.

Transit, Visitor Transit, Tourist and Non-Immigrant Visas are issued only for the following purposes and duration:

:: Diplomatic or consular missions (duration as necessary)
:: Official missions (duration as necessary)
:: Tourism (90 days)
:: Sports (30 days)
:: Business purposes (1 year)
:: Investments which have received authorization from the appropriate government authorities (2 years)
:: Investments or other businesses in connection with investment under the Investment Promotion Act as determined by the Board of Investment (1 or 2 years, depending on the company's strength)
:: Transit (30 days)
:: Controllers or crews of a conveyance entering a port or other locality in the Kingdom (30 days)
:: Persons working as skilled laborers or specialists (1 year)

In response to feedback from investors, the Board of Investment organized the establishment of a one-stop service center for visas and work permits. Through joint cooperation with the Immigration Bureau and the Ministry of Labor, the center can process applications or renewals of visas and work permits.

Foreigners may also apply for permanent residence permits for Thailand under certain conditions, such as investment in a business or a condominium. Applications can either be made to the Board of Investment or the Immigration Department.

For more information, please do not hesitate to CONTACT US.


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