Millions of people from around the world visit Thailand every year. Most of those will visit for a short-term vacation, while some will want to stay in the medium to long term. Indeed, Thailand has a large ex-pat community consisting of people of all ages and from all walks of life. One thing that the vast majority will have in common is that they will need a visa to stay in the country.
If you are applying for a Thai Visa soon, here are 5 of the most important things you need to know.
1. You Might Not Need One
Depending on the length and nature of your stay, you might not need a visa at all. Instead, you can enter the country with Exempt Visa Stamp rather than a visa, with Exempt Visa stamp allowing you to stay for a certain length of time. Which can be extended for another 30 days at a local Immigration office.
This option is usually available to tourists who have no intention of staying beyond their initial vacation dates. Most tourists are given 30 days on arrival, although that number varies depending on which country you’re from.
However, this option may not be suitable for people who are planning on staying in the country in the long term, especially if they plan to work and their work place is in outskirts not in major cities. Although many people will have the intention of staying in the short term, but ultimately end up choosing to stay in the country. In order to apply for a Non Immigrant Visa type inside Thailand will depends on the purpose of staying in Thailand. Therefore, check your visa options with Thai Visa Expert before you run out of Exempt Visa Stamp.
2. There are Different Types of Visa
Thailand offers several different types of visas. Which one you need depends on numerous factors, such as whether or not you intend to work in Thailand. Some of the most commonly issued types of Thai visas include the following:
- Non-O: A Non-O visa is typically given to people who want to stay in the country with their Thai families. Necessary documents include a marriage certificate, birth certificate, or other documentation that helps you prove your relationship with your Thai family. This Visa category can also be obtained on other reasons like Retirement, Visiting Relatives (Non Thai), Retirement and many more.
- Non-B: Non-B visas are usually given to people who want to work in the country. Necessary documents include sponsorship forms from an employer, proving you have a valid job offer in the country.
- Non Immigrant O-A Visa: As the name suggests, a retirement visa is given to foreigners who wish to retire in the country. To qualify for this visa you will need to have a certain amount of money in a Thai bank account, in addition to meeting other criteria. This Type of Visa is obtained at the Royal Thai Embassy in home country. Contact today Thai Visa Expert to know the difference between Non Immigrant O (Retirement) Visa and Non Immigrant O-A (Retirement) Visa.
You should note that having a valid visa to stay in Thailand does not automatically give you the right to work. Instead, you will need to obtain a work permit to legally work in the country, and you will need to apply for one from the Ministry of Labour. You will also need to have the appropriate visa to be granted a work permit. For example, it is not possible to get a work permit if you are in Thailand on a retirement visa.
3. You Must Apply Outside of Thailand
You have to apply for a Thai visa at the Royal Thai Embassy in home country or in one of the neighbouring countries of Thailand. However, if you meet all the requirements then you have chance of securing a Non Immigrant visa type in Thailand.
If you have yet to leave for Thailand then you can apply for a visa in your own country before leaving. For people already in Thailand, check with one of our team members who we can help you to obtain your visa without having to leave Thailand.
Travelling for a visa can be costly and inconvenient, but it is necessary. However, if you play your cards right and you have the budget, you can use the occasion as an opportunity for a short vacation in another country.
4. Travel Insurance and COVID
All foreigners are expected to have insurance during their stay in Thailand, but the rule is often not enforced with immigration staff not usually checking. Despite this, it’s still a good job to be insured in case the immigration officer does check. Not only that, but it’s best to have insurance regardless in case you do have a medical emergency while in the country.
It’s also important to be aware of any rules regarding COVID before you set off for Thailand. Such rules often include needing certificates to prove you are vaccinated. Otherwise, you will unlikely be granted entry into the country. The rules can also change quickly and with no warning, making it a good idea to check before you leave. If you’re unsure, the team at Thai Visa Expert will be happy to help.
At the moment, Thailand visitors don’t require Travel Insurance but it is good to have one.
5. Length of Stay
A Thai visa will only let you stay in the country for a limited amount of time. In most cases, this is 60 days and often with the possibility of extensions. You will need to leave Thailand on or before the expiry date or have it extended, if possible, at an immigration office. If you remain in the country after your visa expiry date and without having been granted an extension then you will be on overstay. Getting caught on overstay can mean fines and potential bans from entering the country in the future, making it best to ensure your visa is always valid.
Keeping your visa valid usually means a trip to another country. Such a trip could mean crossing a border and returning with a fresh stamp, or it could mean travelling to a Thai embassy or consulate in another country. Which option you choose depends on your circumstances and where you travel to is often a matter of budget.
Visas can be confusing, especially considering there’s so many types, each of which with different requirements. And it’s best to ensure you have the correct visa and other documents to help ensure your stay in the country is a pleasant one.
If you have any questions regarding getting visas for Thailand then the team at Thai Visa Expert will be more then happy to help. Get in touch, and we can help ensure you get the visa you need and we will make the process as easy as possible for you.
With over 15 years of experience in Visa Services in Thailand, Sofiya’s knowledge and personalized approach have made her a trusted advisor for individuals and businesses navigating Thailand’s visa system. Sofiya’s blog posts offer valuable insights and up-to-date information, solidifying her reputation as an expert in Thai immigration services.