It is not surprising that a lot of foreigners are eyeing Thailand as one of their priority travel destinations. In 2013 alone, the country welcomed nearly 27 million tourists1 playing testament to Thailand’s growing attractiveness to international travellers.
Some of these visitors went to and stayed in the Kingdom under visa-free period, depending on which country they are from, that range between 15 days to 90 days.
In relation to this, whatever the reason for travel to Thailand, be it for employment, retirement and or business as long as the period of stay is more than what is determined for the country where he is from for a visa-free travel to Thailand, the individual must secure the necessary visa fitting to his purpose.
Types of Thai Nonimmigrant Visas
There are at least five (5) visa categories that Thailand is issuing to qualified applicants:
- Marriage Visa
- Retirement Visa
- Business Visa
- One Year Thai Visa
- 90-Day Thai Visa
Thai Marriage Visa
The Thai marriage visa or more appropriately known as the One Year Extension of Stay Based on Marriage allows its holder to stay in Thailand for a year without even needing to exit the country every 90 days. The holder of this visa may also be allowed to work in Thailand provided that he is legally married to a Thai national plus he must be able to meet other prescribed immigration requirements such as:
- Financial Requirements
- Deposits of 400,000 Baht in a Thai Bank Account with the funds already deposited on the account not less than two (2) months prior to his application.
- Or he must be earning a monthly income of not less than 40,000 Baht supported by a certification from his embassy.
- Or a combination of monthly income and Thai Bank Account deposits that would total more than 400,000 Baht.
- Police Clearance
- Medical Certificate
The items mentioned above should have supporting documents such as the applicant’s bank book and bank certification.
Thai Retirement Visa
The Thai retirement visa (Nonimmigrant “O-A” Long Stay Visa) allows its holder to stay in Thailand for a year. It is renewable every year although another set of requirements should be complied upon by the applicant (including financial statements). The applicant, if qualified, may be issued with a single entry or multiple entry retirement visa.
The following are the basic requirements for a retirement visa:
Even if the applicant is eligible for this visa basing on his financial capacity and clean police and medical records, if he is not yet 50 years old by the time he submits his application, he would be considered not qualified to be issued with one as the age factor is the primary determinant for the retirement visa.
- Financial Requirements
- The applicant-retiree must have at least 800,000 Baht deposited in a Thai Bank Account at least two (2) months prior to his application.
- Or he must have a monthly income/pension (the source of which should come from abroad) of not less than 65,000 Baht. A certification from his embassy is also needed to support this.
- Or a combination of monthly income/pension and Thai Bank Account deposits of at least 800,000 Baht a year.
- Police Clearance
- Medical Certificate
Like that of the marriage visa, the financial requirement should be supported with an updated bank book and a bank-issued letter certifying the amount and duration of the deposited amount on such account.
Thai Business Visa
The Thai Nonimmigrant “B” Visa is issued to an applicant who has an intention to start a business or apply for a job in the Kingdom thus the said visa further being subcategorized to:
- Nonimmigrant “B” Visa (Conducting Business)
- Nonimmigrant “B” Visa (Employment)
- Nonimmigrant “B” Visa – Conducting Business
This is issued to foreigners wanting to start a business in Thailand. It can be issued as a 90-Day Single Entry Visa or a One-Year Multiple Entry Visa.
- Nonimmigrant “B” Visa – Employment
If the applicant has the intention to work in Thailand, he will be first issued with a 90-Day Nonimmigrant (Employment Category) Visa and upon his arrival in Thailand with such visa, he should then apply for a work permit. The work permit is needed as he cannot actively look for work or start his employment in the Kingdom if he does not have a valid work permit.
The work permit is also required upon his application for a One-Year Nonimmigrant “B” Visa.
Also, the holder of this visa is required to report to an Immigration Office every 90 days.
Thai One-Year Multiple Entry Visa
This type of visa allows its holder to, depending on the purpose, have a long term stay in Thailand. It has a validity period of one year basing on the date of its issue and may even be extended up to 3 months.
Nonetheless, this visa requires its holder to exit and then re-enter Thailand every 90 days.
See Siam Legal’s Thai One-Year Multiple Entry Visa page.
Only citizens or permanent residents of the following countries may apply for this visa although citizens of other countries may still apply but under several circumstances:
- United Kingdom
- United States
The requirements for this visa includes:
- Passport with at least six (6) months validity.
- Invitation or confirmation letter officially issued by the organization who invited the applicant for a particular activity in Thailand.
- Proof of Funds
- Travel Itinerary
- Embassy Fee
- Other supporting documents required by the Thai Embassy.
Thai 90-Day Thai Visa
Issued to foreigners who wants to enter Thailand to study, do business and retire among other reasons, the Thai 90-Day Nonimmigrant Visa has a validity period of 90 days starting on the date of its issue. Note that the Thai 90-day Non-immigrant visa is different from the Thai tourist visa.
When granted with such visa, its holder will have an option to extend it to a One-Year Immigrant Visa.
It is open to citizens of Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, United States and other European countries although citizens of non EU countries can still apply but several circumstances do apply.
Applicants should seek the advice of reputable immigration firms for proper guidance when it comes to visa application as the information mentioned above are general in nature and the application process may be very confusing to them.
The immigration lawyer can also provide any applicant with a more detailed information about the visa type he is applying for. Also, the said lawyer can brief the applicant with his responsibilities as a Thai Visa holder by the latter in case his application for a particular visa is granted.