- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Thailand Guide (PDF)
Expats should not have too much difficulty when it comes to getting a visa for Thailand. Expats will usually be able to get visas under normal circumstances; however, it's important to stay up to date with the political situation, as 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 often need to have their documents notarised.
Tourist visas for Thailand
Citizens of certain countries are exempt from needing a tourist visa for Thailand for stays of up to 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. Another extension can be applied for at the nearest immigration office, which would allow for an additional stay of 30 days.
All applicants for a Thai tourist visa require proof of onward travel and proof of funds for the duration of their stay. At least six months validity on a passport is required for a visa to be granted.
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 study to be a Buddhist monk, to those wanting to teach English or invest in the country.
Royal Thai Embassy websites provide in-depth information on the requirements of each visa type. 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 assist expat employees who enter the country with a B visa to work.
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 dependent of a Thai citizen. This also applies to 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 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 Thai embassy, contact the embassy in person or enlist the help of an immigration professional.
*Visa requirements can change at short notice and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.
►For more information on the required documentation for working in the country, see our page on Work Permits for Thailand
Are you an expat living in Thailand?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Thailand. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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