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Visa and Immigration Information



For prospective and current long-time residents of Thailand, getting visas and renewing visas inevitably becomes a preoccupation.  There are many types of visas that foreigners can get.  Depending on how long you want to stay, how willing you are to make periodic “visa runs” and ultimately how much money you have, you will need to choose the visa that is best for you.

 Of all the complaining that Expats do in Thailand, visa complaints are often at the top of the list.  But when looked at objectively, living in Thailand for the foreigner is often much easier than it is for a Thai to live in America, countries in Europe, and other Asian countries.

Below is a Thai visa overview.  To learn the real facts check out the links below.  Simplified, there are three types of visas most foreigners are eligible for. 

Transit visa

This is the visa you will get upon arrival in country (unless you already have another kind) at the immigration checkpoint.  It allows you a 30 day visit to the country.  This visa cannot generally be extended more than a week or so.  Many Expats who have this kind of visa will make a “visa run” to cross a border and reenter for another 30 days.  In the past Expats would cross a border every 30 days for years and years but recently, laws have gone into effect that limit how many times this can be done.  It is best to check what the current laws are, how they are being applied or ignored, and which borders are easiest to navigate.  Check on the various sites below and with other Expats doing visa runs. 

Tourist visa

 Issued to people who want to stay in country for a longer time for the purposes of tourism.  You must apply for this visa while abroad.  If will not be issued upon arrival in the country.  It is good for a 60 day visit and normally you will be allowed a 30 day extension.  Recently, people over 55 years of age will be issued a second extension, of 21 days.  A visa fee will be charged for each extension.  In total you can have 111 days with this visa before having to leave the country.  You can get a multiple entry visa which will allow you to exit and then reenter the country for another 60 days.

Non-Immigrant visa

 There are many kinds of non-immigrant visas but the one most retirees are interested in is type “O”.  Check with the Thai immigration sites to find out all the documents you will need but you need two things in order to get what is referred to as a “retirement visa”.  You need to be over 50 years old (easy for most of us) and you need to have proof that you can support yourself in Thailand (not so easy for some).  That can be either ฿800,000 deposited in a Thai bank account for at least 3 months prior to visa application or proof of an foreign currency income of  65,000 per month, or a combination of the two.  You will be given a 1 year visa which can be extended for another year, and so on,  if you still meet the above requirements.  Note: Once you receive this visa you will lose it if you leave the country before the one year is up unless you get a reentry visa.  Also, you must report to the immigration office once every 90 days.

Reentry visas and extensions all cost money.  The current government fee for an extension of a transit, tourist, or non-immigrant visa is ฿1,900.  Reporting every 90 days is free.

 

The sites below will help with up to date information.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs 

This is info from the horse’s mouth but we noticed that some of the information may be out of date.  Some of the consular sites might have more up to date information.

Thai Immigration Practices   

A summary of visa, entry and exit and other  travel-related laws.

Expat Tips Thailand

Basic info on Thai immigration

ThaiVisa.com Immigration FAQ

List of basic immigration and visa question and answers

ThaiVisa.com Immigration Forums

Lots of up to date stories of what other Expats have encountered in their visa quests.

Visas for Staying in Thailand

More basic info

Thai Embassy List

This site contains a list of many of the Thai embassies around the world along with their addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses.

Foreign Embassies in Thailand

List of foreign embassy websites and contacts in Thailand

 

The following are some Thai consulate websites

Vancouver Canada

Los Angeles, CA

Chicogo, IL

New York, NY

Sydney, Australia

Washington DC

Shanghai, China

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

London, England

Germany(various)

Oslo, Norway

    


 
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