Thailand Visas come in 4 basic flavors:  Tourist, Work, Retiree & Marriage.

For persons with a "Western Country Passport":  A Tourist Entry Permit good for 30 days is provided at the airport with no previous paper work required ..

A visa is a permit to reside in &  travel inside Thailand

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  •  "Visa Run" border crossing 90 KM south of Bangkok.

  • Above: Visa Run check point at Cambodian border .. a dusty village on the Cambodian border 3 hours south of Bangkok, set up solely for Foreigners to extend their Thai Entry Permits.. 

  • Note the Official Thai Government Immigration shed / lean-to .. this border crossing really has an outlaw border crossing feel, no way I'd wander into that Cambodian village.

A 30 day Entry Permit is quickly / instantly provided to all persons with a North American, EU country or Australian passport + a round trip ticket .. if you arrive without a round trip ticket (= ticket out of Thailand within 30 days) the 30 day permit is not offered.

  • Thailand Visa Rules for Asian countries & African countries vary widely. (tip: avoid immigration lines with persons from Africa, South Asia or West Asia)

 

 

November, 2008 : Major change in the Thailand Entry Permit regulations.  The changes below do not effect 'proper visas' .. only effect entry permit or 'visa on arrival'.

These November 2008 changes are know as: Order of Royal Thai Police No. 777/2551.  A translation in full (non-official) is available from Issan Lawyers.

  • 777/2551 reads that it supercedes all rules & regulations that contradict this order

  • Crossing a land border will now allow only a 15 day extension of any visa .. clearing immigration at an airport will result in a 30 day extension.  Previously a land border crossing or airline border crossing was same same.

    • On the surface, this appears to be a move to benefit the damaged airline industry.

 

 

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To make a change to your visa, change a tourist visa to an education or work visa, you must leave Thailand & apply at a Thai Embassy.

Back to back tourist visas outside your home country can be problematic.  In your home country, it is just as easy to get a 1 year multi entry tourist visa as as a 3 month single entry tourist visa .. or, save a few Thb on the front end & pay through the nose if you decide to stay longer ..  or leave & return to Thailand.

The ability to speak even a few Thai words will make your life much easier   Even a few basic Thai phrases will greatly increase your status with the Thai people. You will hear "Oh! .. You speak Thai"  20 times per day

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  • The Basic Thai tourist entry permit is good for 30 days & is renewable for 30 days by crossing any border & then returning to Thailand.
  • This technically not a visa .. it is an entry permit.
    • As of October 1, 2006 a foreigner is allowed on 3x 30 day extensions in a six month period.
    • The regulation stipulates that visitors can only spend 90 days out of every six months on the visa-exempt stamp.
  • Previously a foreigner could do the 30 day 'visa run' (actually an entry permit run!) every 30 days for years.
    • Many foreigners have used this loop hole to have in effect a permanent resident visa using the 30 day entry permit & doing a 'border run' every 30 days .. for years!
  • The Basic 30 day entry permit is automatic & granted upon arrival at Thai Immigration.
    • This is not technically a visa .. it is an entry permit good for 30 days & requires no paper work submission to the Thai Embassy in your home country.
    • You technically must have a valid airline ticket out of Thailand to qualify .. in my experience never checked.
    • Automatic for American, UK, Australia, Japan & most EU countries.
    • This has changed as of October 1, 2006 & can now be done only 3 times in a 6 month period.
  • A 30 day, 60 day, 90 day, 6 month or 1 year tourist visa day tourist visa is available at the Thai Embassy / Consulate in your home country.
    • Plus, 3x 30 day visa runs are allowed in addition to the Thailand tourist visa.
    • Extensions to the 90 day visa are allowed at the Thai Embassy in your home country.
    • In some cases a 'marriage visa" can be obtained from an Embassy other than your home country.
    • Thailand Embassy Web Site in Washington, D.C.
      • Or contact the Embassy (link above) for a visa package.

a 'Thai Legal Service' can make the process easier.  Their fees start at 6500 Thb (100 EUs, $120. us) for a retirement or work visa.

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  • A Thai work visa requires documentation from your employer. 
    • The employer needs approval form the Thai government.
    • Work permits with the term “Consultant” in the title will not be accepted in future.
    • Those applying for work permits for the first time will first require a non-immigrant business (type “B”) visa from a Thai consulate or embassy abroad.
    • A Thai work visa will be granted if the applicant has a WP3 work permit form issued the Thailand Labor Office, a photocopy of the hiring company's Thai registration papers, paperwork showing Thai company's stamp, a letter from the Thai company with job description & stating salary .. plus a photocopy of your passport & two passport size photos
       
  • A Thailand retiree visa requires 800, 000 Thb ( $20,000us, 16,339EU ) in a Thai bank account.  Problem is that most Thai banks require a work visa to open an account.  A classic Catch 22.
    • This allows foreigners aged 50 and over to have a 12 month Thai retiree visa.
    • A retiree visa requires the 800,000 baht in a Thai bank  .. or a combination of cash in a Thai bank and proof of pension paid in the retirees home country.
    • If you are on a retirement visa, you are not permitted to hold a work permit .. which presents a problem in opening a Thai bank account with the required 400,000 Thb.
  • A Thailand marriage visa is just that, document marriage to a Thai lass or lad.
    • The legal spouse of a Thai national can extend a non-immigrant visa for up to 12 months.
    • The minimum cash in a Thai bank is 400,000 baht.

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