A visa allows you to enter Thailand for a specific length of time depending upon the type of visa. The passport or travel document will show the date of your entry and how long you are permitted to stay in the country.
The different types of Visa
In Thailand there are eight major visa types issued under the Immigration Act. Each category is restricted to the purpose for which the visa has been issued, and foreigners are required to strictly follow the rules governing each visa category. Change of address or status should be relayed to local police within 24 hours.
Transit Visa “TS”- Applicable to foreigners entering Thailand with an intention to travel on to another country.
Tourist Visa “TR”- Applicable to foreigners visiting Thailand for sight-seeing purposes only.
Non-Immigrant Visa- Applicable to foreigners entering Thailand on a temporary basis for a particular purpose including:
“B” is for business purposes.
“BA” is for business or investment.
“IB” is for investment purposes or other affairs connected with an investment under the law governing investment promotion. This is a category of visa with issuance controlled by the Board of Investment.
“IM” is for investment purposes, as approved by the appropriate ministries or departments concerned.
“ED” is for purposes of study or observation.
RS” is for purposes of scientific research or teaching in a research or educational institution in Thailand with approval from the ministry or department concerned.
“M” is for performance of duties connected with the mass media.
“R” is for missionary work with approval from the ministry or department concerned.
“EX” is for performance of skilled or expert work.
“O” is for other purposes as prescribed in the ministerial regulations (as dependents, retired persons, or sports trainers; for family reunions, medical treatment, or legal proceedings).
Diplomatic Visa “D”- Applicable to foreigners who enter the Kingdom on a diplomatic or consular mission or for the performance of duties with international organizations.
Official Visa “F”- For foreigners who will perform official duties involving the Thai government.
Immigrant Visa (Permanent Residence)- Applicable to those foreigners entering Thailand for permanent residence purposes.
Non-Quota Immigrant Visa- Applicable to permanent residents wishing to leave Thailand and return within a year.
Courtesy Visa- Applicable to those diplomatic and/or official passport holders who enter the Kingdom for purposes other than official duties and to those ordinary passport holders who enter the Kingdom in response to an official Thai request.
The length of stay in Thailand depends on the type of visa granted.
For Transit Visa, allowed stay must not exceed 30 days.
For Tourist Visa, allowed stay must not exceed 30 or 60 days.
For Non-Immigrant Visa, allowed stay must not exceed 90 days.
Diplomatic, Official, and Courtesy Visas are allowed to stay in Thailand as deemed necessary.
Would an extension of stay be possible?
A transit visa may be extended for 7 to 10 days depending on your nationality. Meanwhile, a tourist visa may be extended for a maximum of 7 days or 60 days (30 days at a time) depending on your nationality as well. Such extensions require a government fee of Baht 1,900 for processing.
You must also submit the following documents for the application :
1. Passport or travel document
2. One ID photo (2 inches square).
3. Statement of reasons for requesting an extension.
Non-immigrant visa categories B or B-A are usually extended for a period not exceeding 1 year at a time from the date of arrival except IM which shall not exceed 2 years, and IB which is generally 2 years depending on the recommendation of the BOI and the size of the investment. Extensions for non-immigrant visas require a government fee of Baht 1,900 as well as the submission of supporting corporate documents.
Foreigners who wish to leave Thailand but return to the country by the expiry date of such visa without having to apply for a new visa must apply for a re-entry permit prior to departure. A re-entry permit allows you to re-enter Thailand and use the time remaining on his/her visa. If a re-entry permit is not applied for, the visa will automatically be canceled although it has not expired.
Apart from Immigration offices throughout Thailand, a re-entry permit may be obtained at Suvarnabhumi (Bangkok), Chiang Mai, Phuket, Hat Yai, and Sukhothai international airports, as well as other designated immigration checkpoints throughout the country. Suvarnabhumi (Bangkok) International Airport operates 24 hours, 7 days a week, while other checkpoints operate from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday.
The fee for a single re-entry is Baht 1,000 while that for multiple re-entries is Baht 3,800. It is better to request a multiple-entry visa if you will be frequently traveling out of Thailand. If you leave Thailand before your visa has expired and want to return but does not have a re-entry permit, you smust apply for a new visa from a Thai Embassy or Consulate abroad. Exits may only be legally made at designated immigration control points.
Crossing of borders is considered an exit for immigration purposes, whether or not the exit point is controlled, and returning to Thailand from such trips is a new entry requiring proper visas or re-entry permits.
Upon arrival in Thailand, the length of stay you are allowed will be stamped on your passport. Passport and visa control is a rigorous process in Thailand and violators are penalized. If you overstay, you will have to pay a fine of Baht 500 for each day after the expiration date of the permitted length of stay up to a maximum of Baht 20,000. This fine may be paid at the Immigration Division or at the airport upon your departure. If you cannot pay the fine for overstaying, you will be detained at the Immigration Detention Center.
Change of Visa
If you are already in Thailand on a Tourist Visa, you may apply for a non-Immigrant Visa if need to stay in Thailand longer. This procedure may be done within the country. But you must apply for a change in type of visa in not less than 29 days before the current visa is due to expire, but various supporting documents are required to be submitted
More about Visa
Generally, a foreign citizen who wishes to enter the Kingdom of Thailand is required to obtain a visa from a Royal Thai Embassy or a Royal Thai Consulate-General. However, nationals of certain countries do not require a visa if they meet visa exemption requirements as follows:
(1) they are nationals of countries which are exempted from visa requirements when entering Thailand for tourism purposes. Such nationals will be permitted to stay in the Kingdom for a period of not exceeding 30 days. For more information, please see Tourist Visa Exemption;
(2) they are nationals of countries which hold bilateral agreements with Thailand on the exemption of visa requirements. For more information, please see List of Countries which have Concluded Agreements with Thailand on the Exemption of Visa Requirements.
2. Nationals of certain countries may apply for visa upon arrival in Thailand. Travelers with this type of visa are permitted to enter and stay in Thailand for a period of not exceeding 15 days. For more information, please see Visa on Arrival.
3. Travelers travelling from/through countries which have been declared Yellow Fever Infected Areas must acquire an International Health Certificate verifying the receiving of a Yellow Fever vaccination. For more information, please see List of Countries which are Declared Yellow Fever Infected Areas.
4. Nationals of certain countries are required to apply for a visa only at the Royal Thai Embassy or the Royal Thai Consulate-General in the applicant’s country of residence, or at the Royal Thai Embassy which has jurisdiction over his or her country of residence. Travelers are advised to enquire about authorized office for visa issuance at any Royal Thai Embassy or Royal Thai Consulate-General before departure. Contact details and locations of Royal Thai Embassies and Royal Thai Consulates-General are available at www.mfa.go.th.
5. To apply for a visa, a foreigner must possess a valid passport or travel document that is recognized by the Royal Thai Government and comply with the conditions set forth in the Immigration Act of Thailand B.E.2522 (1979) and its relevant regulations. In addition, the visa applicant must be outside of Thailand at the time of application. The applicant will be issued with a type of visa in accordance to his or her purpose of visit. For more information on types of visas and general requirements for each type of visa, please see Types of Visa and Issuance of Visa.
6. In general, applicants are required to apply for a visa in person. However, Royal Thai Embassies and Royal Thai Consulates-General in some countries and in some cases may also accept applications sent through representatives, authorised travel agencies or by post. Please enquire at the Royal Thai Embassy or Royal Thai Consulate-General where you intend to submit your application of acceptable ways of application.
7. Please note that the period of visa validity is different from the period of stay. Visa validity is the period during which a visa can be used to enter Thailand. In general, the validity of a visa is 3 months, but in some cases, visas may be issued to be valid for 6 months, 1 year or 3 years. The validity of a visa is granted with discretion by the Royal Thai Embassy or Royal Thai Consulate-General and is displayed on the visa sticker.
8. On the other hand, the period of stay is granted by an immigration officer upon arrival at the port of entry and in accordance with the type of visa. For example, the period of stay for a transit visa is not exceeding 30 days, for a tourist visa is not exceeding 60 days and for a non-immigrant visa is not exceeding 90 days from the arrival date. The period of stay granted by the immigration officer is displayed on the arrival stamp. Travelers who wish to stay longer than such period may apply for extension of stay at offices of the Immigration Bureau in Bangkok, located at Government Center B, Chaengwattana Soi 7, Laksi, Bangkok 10210, Tel 0-2141-9889 or at an Immigration office located in the provinces. For information on application for extension of stay, see the Immigration Bureau website at www.immigration.go.th
9. Foreigners entering Thailand are not permitted to work, regardless of their types of visa, unless they are granted a work permit. Those who intend to work in Thailand must hold the correct type of visa to be eligible to apply for a work permit. Information on Work Permit applications could be obtained from the website of the Office of Foreign Workers Administration, Department of Employment, Ministry of Labour at www.doe.go.th
10. Royal Thai Embassies and Royal Thai Consulates-General have the authority to issue visas to foreigners for travel to Thailand. The authority to permit entry and stay in Thailand, however, is with the immigration officers. In some cases, the immigration officer may not permit foreigner holding a valid visa entry into Thailand should the immigration officer find reason to believe that he or she falls into the category of aliens prohibited from entering Thailand under the Immigration Act B.E. 2522 (1979).
11. According to the Immigration Act of Thailand B.E. 2522 (1979), foreigners who fall into any of the following categories are prohibited to enter Thailand:
(1) Having no genuine valid passport or document used in lieu of passport; or having a genuine valid passport or document used in lieu of passport without valid visa issuance by the Royal Thai Embassies, the Royal Thai Consulates-General or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with exception of those who meet visa exemption requirements. The terms and conditions of visa issuance and visa exemption are prescribed by the Ministerial Regulations.
(2) Having no appropriate means of living following entry into the Kingdom.
(3) Having entered the Kingdom to be employed as an unskilled or untrained laborer, or to work in violation of the Alien Work Permit Law.
(4) Being mentally unstable or having any of the diseases stated in the Ministerial Regulations.
(5) Having not yet been vaccinated against smallpox; or inoculated, or undergone any other medical treatment for protection against disease; and having refused to have such vaccinations administered by the Immigration Doctor.
(6) Having been imprisoned by judgment of the Thai Court; or by lawful injunction or judgment of the Court of a foreign country, except for when the penalty is for a petty offence, or negligence, or is provided for as an exception by the Ministerial Regulations.
(7) Having behavior which could cause possible danger to the public; or having the likelihood of being a nuisance or constituting any violence to the peace, safety and security of the public or to the security of the nation; or being under warrant of arrest by competent officials of foreign governments.
(8) Reason to believe that entry into Kingdom is for the purpose of being involved in prostitution, the trafficking of women or children, drug smuggling, or other types of smuggling which are against public morality.
(9) Having no money or bond as prescribed by the Minister under Section 14 of the Immigration Act B.E. 2522 (1979).
(10) Being a person prohibited by the Minister under Section 16 of the Immigration Act B.E. 2522 (1979).
(11) Being deported by either the Government of Thailand or that of other foreign countries; or having been revoked the right of stay in the Kingdom or in foreign countries; or having been expelled from the Kingdom by competent officials at the expense of the Government of Thailand unless exemption is provided by the Minister on an individual basis.
How to obtain a Thailand marriage visa
A marriage visa under Thai immigration laws in Thailand is issued to foreigners who officially married a Thai national, comply with the regulations for a Thai marriage visa and apply to stay long term in Thailand on the grounds of marriage. A marriage under Thai immigration laws is the government recognized and in at the amphur (or in Bangkok ‘Khet’) registered marriage in which individuals have united their lives legally, economically and emotionally (and not a Buddhist ceremonial marriage).
A Thailand marriage visa is a non immigrant visa followed by a long term stay application at the immigration inside Thailand. The immigration in Thailand will issue the applicant permission to stay in Thailand but requires the following documents and conditions for the approval of the application:
- 4 by 6 cm photos
- Marriage certificate (original and copies)
- ID card and House registration of Thai spouse (original and copies)
- The foreigner should have a saving account in Thailand with at least 400,000 baht (bank statement together with a certificate letter form the bank). Bank account book. (Original and copies). Checks will be made in future to ensure that the cash is not simply put in a bank and then removed.
- Photos wedding ceremony. Local immigration officers will also visit your home to verify that you really do live together as man and wife.
(the foreigner and his/ her spouse have to apply in person)