Visas for Thailand
Despite relative instability in the country, expats should not have too much difficulty when it comes to getting a visa for Thailand.
Diplomatic relations between the Kingdom and other countries remain the same under the new regime.
Expats will usually be able to get visas under normal circumstances; however, it is important to stay up to date with the political situation, since there is a chance that this might change.
All expats and visitors who want to enter Thailand will require certain documents as stipulated by Thailand - any documents in foreign languages will need to be translated to Thai or English. In the case of English translations, applicants will need to have their documents notarised.
Tourist visas for Thailand
Citizens of certain countries are exempt from needing a tourist visa for Thailand for a maximum of either 15, 30 or 90 days. The length of the permitted visa-free period depends on each person's nationality and mode of entry into Thailand.
Visitors wanting to stay for longer periods will have to get a Thai tourist visa. These are either valid for single or multiple entries, and enable holders to stay in the country for a further 30 days.
All applicants for a Thailand tourist visa require proof of onward travel and proof of funds for the duration of their stay.
Non-immigrant visas for Thailand
There are multiple visas for people entering Thailand for purposes other than tourism. This includes everything from people wanting to take boxing lessons and studying to be a Buddhist monk, to those wanting to teach English or invest in the country.
A few of the visas that are most popular with expats moving to Thailand include:
This visa is for expats who intend to work, do business, study teaching, boxing or scuba diving, or work as a sports coach or an English teacher. Companies often provide assistance to expat employees who enter the country with a B visa to work.
Royal Thai Embassy websites provide in-depth information on the requirements of each visa type.
Expats wanting to apply for a work permit for Thailand are likely to require a B visa.
Category O visas are another popular type of visa, which is usually for the spouse or dependant of a Thai citizen as well as foreigners wanting to volunteer or retire in the country on a foreign state pension.
It is possible for the dependents of an expat moving to or living in Thailand to get this visa. This can unfortunately be more difficult to do, however, when a male spouse is dependent on a female spouse.
Expat families applying for this visa will require birth and marriage certificates where applicable and a minimum of three months’ bank statements. Volunteer workers will require a letter of endorsement from the agency they will be working for as well as a copy of the agency's registration certificate.
The category OA visa is a long-stay visa for retired people older than 50 years old who want to live in Thailand. In addition to the standard requirements, applicants will have to prove sufficient annual funds, as well as undergo criminal background and medical checks.
There is a fairly lengthy list of requirements for this visa, and expats are advised to consult the website of the closest Royal Thai embassy, contact the embassy in person or enlist the help of an immigration professional.
The difference between visas and work permits for Thailand
Like many other countries in the world, visas enable visitors to enter the country, but residence and work permits for Thailand enable expats to stay in the country for an extended length of time.
It is important for applicants who want to live in Thailand for the long-term to ensure that they meet both the requirements of the visa and the work permit they will be applying for.
*Visa requirements can change at short notice and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.