Most visitors to Thailand need a visa to be able to stay legally in the country. The type of visa you need depends on your purpose in the country. It is important to have the right type of visa to comply with the law. If you are caught violating the rules of your visa, you will, in most cases, be expelled from the country. To determine what type of visa you require, first decide which category you belong to and then apply for the correct visa at the Thai Embassy in your home country.
There are 48 countries, in addition to Hong Kong, that have agreements with Thailand whose citizens are exempt from obtaining a visa when visiting the country for tourism purposes. There are 28 countries whose citizens can obtain a Visa on Arrival. In both cases, these visas are generally granted for a maximum of 15 days.
Visa laws in Thailand are subject to frequent changes and updates, so as a result information becomes outdated quickly. You should always keep up with new changes and act accordingly. Don’t trust hearsay or information in older books or guides. The best way to keep up to date with visa developments is to visit the ThaiVisa (http://www.thaivisa.com) website and forum, which has frequent updates and a helpful and active forum. The official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (http://www.mfa.go.th/main/en/home) also has all rules and regulations available.
Always contact your local Thai Embassy if in doubt.
Below is a quick overview of which visa is needed for specific situations. The following sections will go into further detail about each visa category.
|You want to go on reconnaissance||Tourist Visa / Visa Exempt Stamp|
|You are looking for a job||Non Immigrant ‘B’ Visa|
|You have a job and need to relocate||Non Immigrant ‘B’ Visa|
|You want to retire||Non Immigrant ‘O-A’ Visa|
|You are going to study||Non Immigrant ‘ED’ Visa|
|You are going for an internship||Non Immigrant ‘B’ Visa / Non Immigrant ‘ED’ Visa|
Overviews of Visa Types
|Purpose||Type of visa||Documentation required||Length of time to issue the visa||Duration of visa||Renewal information|
|You want to go on reconnaissance||None or Visa on Arrival (VOA)||Passport, valid for at least 6 months, valid return airline ticket.||Immediate -on arrival at airport||30 (15) days||Need to leave the country at a border point where a new one will be issued upon arrival back into the country|
|You want to go on reconnaissance||Tourist Visa||Passport, valid for at least 6 months; recent passport photo; completed application form; paid and confirmed return airline ticket; proof of access to 20,000 baht (although this is rarely asked for).||24 hours||90 days||60 day given, with option of extending 30 days.|
|Your are looking for a job / You have a job and need to relocate / You are going for an internship||Non Immigrant ‘B’||Passport; two passport photographs; completed application forms; recommended letter from the company showing the position of the applicant within their organisation or limited company information.||24-48 hours||One Year (multiple or single entry)||A new visa needs to be issued every year.|
|–||Non Immigrant ‘O’ Marriage||Passport valid for at least 6 months; marriage certificate; completed application form||24-48 hours; up to each individual immigration official.||One Year (multiple or single entry)||Renewed every year with the same documents.|
|You want to retire||Non Immigrant ‘O-A’ Retirement||800,000 baht in a Thai bank account, three months before applying for visa; passport – applicants need to be over 50.||Individual to each case.||One Year||Renewed easily every year as long as all monetary requirements are still met.|
|–||Dependency Visa ‘O’||Valid passport, proof of marriage, completed application form||24-48 hours if the valid documentation is presented.||One Year||A new visa needs to be issued every year.|
|You are going to study / You are going for an internship||Education (ED) Visa||Valid Passport; letter from educational institute||24-48 hours if the valid documentation is presented.||One Year (if studying at University) three months (if studying at a language school)||Can be renewed if university/school confirms that study will still be taking place|
- Tourist and Business Visas should be obtained before arrival in the country from Thai Embassies and consulates.
- Families can enter Thailand on a dependency visa.
- Other visas include a Diplomatic Visa, valid for one year and a Missionary Visa, also valid for one year.