Thailand: Visa Regulations

Note: Since Covid-19 these regulations are being changed constantly. We are not able to update them as fast as they change. When things settle to normal, this note will be removed.

If you plan to stay more than 3 months in Thailand you should apply for a visa at the Thai embassy or consulate in your home country before you travel here. Be sure to apply for the right type of visa.

Visa on arrival

If you are sure that you will not stay over 30  days in Thailand, there is no need to apply for a visa. Passport holders from all the Nordic countries will get permission to stay for 30 days if they arrive at an airport and 15 days if they arrive at a land checkpoint. Conditions are:

a) your passport must be valid for at least 6 months on the day you enter

b) you have proof of onward travel (confirmed air, train, bus or boat tickets)

c) you have enough money to support yourself during the stay.

Tourist Visa

Tourist Visa can be applied for at any embassy or consulate general outside Thailand. Applicants should submit a completed application form with a recent photograph. The application fee is 1,000 Baht (subject to change without notice).

Arrival with a Tourist Visa to Thailand gives you permission to stay up to 60 days if you arrive by air. If you arrive overland you may be refused entry if you have just stayed 30 days on a Visa on arrival prior to applying for the tourist visa, so better fly.

Education Visa

Students at Government approved educational institutions can apply for a non-im ED (Education) visa. You can also start by coming to Thailand and then enroll in the school, you chose. Often, students select the Thai language course. The school offers to handle all the paperwork, but most or all of the tuition fees must be paid up in advance. An education visa costs 2000 Baht (60 USD, 40 EUR – subject to change) paid to the Thai Embassy or Consulate. The tuition fee is not included in these fees.

Business Visa

If you want to work in Thailand, you will need a Business visa (non-Im ‘B’). You have to apply at an embassy outside Thailand. The easiest is to start from your home country, but if you are already in Thailand, we suggest applying at the Thai embassy in Singapore. Since 1 February 2017, the Royal Thai Embassy, Singapore has introduced Electronic Visa Application (EVA), where visa applicants will be able to fill out application forms, submit and check application status online.  Applicants start by logging into the website and the embassy encourages to use electronic visa application.

The most important paperwork you need are:
a) letter from your Thai company stating your position and salary.
b) corporate registration papers from the employing Thai company.
c) A WP3 letter from Ministry of Labour that your future employer will get for you. It is a kind of pre-approval of your work permit once you come into Thailand on your Business Visa.

A business visa does not allow you to work in Thailand but is the first step needed to apply for a work permit. Additional paperwork is needed if you intend to work as a teacher. The schools know what to provide and will hand you a bundle of documents for submission to the embassy.

Retirement Visa

Those over the age of 50 can apply to live in Thailand for one year at a time using a retirement visa. The application starts with obtaining a three-month retirement visa, also known as an “O-A” visa. Before you buy a home, consider in the beginning to rent a property instead.

To qualify for a retirement visa you need to have the following documents:

a) Copy of your passport
b) Passport photos
c) Letter from bank showing 800,000 Baht deposit, or
d) Proof of 60,000 Baht a month income
e) Criminal record clearance from country of origin
f) Medical certificate
g) Completed application form

Attorneys can come in handy during the process especially if you want to bring some of your personal items from your home country which is one of the common issues that create confusion.

The financial requirements can be a combination of both income and fixed deposit. This needs to be calculated for you.

Visa runs

Most foreign visitors to Thailand are granted a 30 day stay upon entry via airport, or 15 days via any land border if they arrive without a visa. Extending your visa without leaving the country cost 1900 baht and it is not possible to get more than one (1) week.


Permanent Residency

Applying for Permanent Residency in Thailand requires you to have the following criteria:

a) Must have had a Thai non-immigrant visa for at least three years prior to the submission of your application.

b) Must be a holder of a non-immigrant visa at the time of submitting your application.

c) Must be able to meet one of these categories:

•Investment category (minimum 3 – 10 Mil. Baht investment in Thailand)

•Working / Business category

•Supports a family or Humanity Reasons category: In this category, you must be having a relationship with a Thai citizen or an alien who already has a residence permit as a husband or wife; father or mother; or a guardian of a Thai child less than 20 years of age.

•Expert / academic category

•Other categories as determined by Thai Immigration

You should note that the list of required documents for the application depends on the category under which the application is made.

About Gregers Møller

Editor-in-Chief • ScandAsia Publishing Co., Ltd. • Bangkok, Thailand

View all posts by Gregers Møller

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