Types of visa in Thailand.

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Last updated: March 11, 2021
Types of visa in Thailand

This is a fundamental guide to the types of visas in Thailand.

To legally work and live in Thailand, you must obtain a visa that is most suitable for your purpose of entering Thailand. There are certain types of visas you can get to enter Thailand which require different qualifications and requirements.

Let’s find out more about the visas.

Types of visas in Thailand

The types of visas available in Thailand are:

  • Tourist visa
  • Special tourist visa
  • Business visa
  • Investment visa
  • Education visa
  • Marriage visa
  • Retirement visa
  • SMART visa

Tourist visa

The tourist visa is issued to travellers who intend to stay in Thailand for 60 days or less. With a tourist visa, you are prohibited from conducting work, business or any form of employment.

The tourist visa can be obtained at the Thai embassy or consulate in your home country or upon arrival in Thailand.

Length of stay

If you apply for a single-entry tourist visa, you can stay in Thailand for 90 days. Entering with a single-entry tourist visa, you will be given an initial stay of 60 days which you can extend for another 30 days.

A multiple-entry tourist visa allows you to say for more than 90 days and is valid for six months. With a multiple-entry tourist visa, you can exit and enter Thailand as many times as you like during the six-month validity.

Tourist visa exemption

Tourists from 62 countries are currently allowed to enter Thailand without a visa and are allowed a maximum stay of 30 days when entering through an international airport or a land border checkpoint from neighbouring countries.

Through a Bilateral Agreement, tourists from five countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru and South Korea, can enter Thailand without a visa for 90 days. However, South Korea has temporarily halted the visa exemption facility from 13 April 2020 to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in South Korea.

1. Andorra2. Argentina (90 days)3. Australia4. Austria
5. Bahrain6. Belgium7. Brazil (30 and 90 days)8. Brunei
9. Canada10. Chile (90 days)11. Czech Republic12. Denmark
13. Estonia14. Finland15. France16. Germany
17. Greece18. Hong Kong19. Hungary20. Iceland
21. Indonesia22. Ireland23. Israel24. Italy
25. Japan26. Kuwait27. Laos28. Latvia
29. Liechtenstein30. Lithuania31. Luxembourg32. Macau
33. Malaysia34. Maldives35. Mauritius36. Monaco
37. Mongolia38. Netherlands39. New Zealand40. Norway
41. Oman42. Peru (30 days 90 days)43. Philippines44. Poland
45. Portugal46. Qatar47. Russia48. San Marino
49. Singapore50. Slovak51. Slovenia52. Spain
53. South Africa54. South Korea (30 and 90 days) (suspended)55. Sweden56. Switzerland
57. Turkey58. Ukraine59. United Arab Emirates60. United Kingdom
61. United States62. Vietnam

Requirements for the tourist visa

The common required documents you will need for applying for the tourist visa include:

  • Passport with a validity of not less than six months
  • Visa application form
  • Passport-sized photos
  • Copy of your round-trip ticket
  • Six-month bank statement with funds not less than THB 500,000
  • Visa fee paid in full
  • Fit-to-fly certificate issued within 72 hours of the departure
  • Evidence of accommodation booking

Special tourist visa

The special tourist visa is a visa issued to tourists who would like to travel to Thailand. The Tourism Authority of Thailand introduced the special tourist visa as an economic measure to restore the local tourism industry that has been affected by Covid-19.

Tourists can apply for this visa until 30 September 2021.

Length of stay

Tourists who enter Thailand with a special tourist visa are allowed to stay in Thailand for 90 days, including the quarantine time.

An extension of stay can be requested twice at the Immigration Bureau for a maximum of 90 days per extension.

Special tourist visa qualifications

Foreigners who are applying for a special tourist visa must meet the following qualifications:

  • From a low-risk country according, to the Public Health Ministry regulations
  • Comply with the preventive measures as prescribed by the government
  • Provide evidence of accommodation during the stay
  • Show proof of payment for ASQ or ALQ hotel booking

Requirements for the special tourist visa

The following documents are required when applying for the special tourist visa:

  • Passport with a validity of more than 12 months from the date of entering Thailand
  • Payment proof of accommodation after quarantine for the whole period of staying in Thailand or proof of ownership of a condominium in Thailand
  • Thai medical insurance covering hospitalisation and accidents for the period of stay in Thailand with coverage for outpatient treatment of no less than THB 40,000 and inpatient treatment of no less than THB 400,000
  • Medical certificate showing no prohibitive diseases according to the Ministerial Regulation No.14 (2535), which include leprosy, tuberculosis, elephantiasis, drug addiction or third stage syphilis

Business visa (non-immigrant B visa)

The non-immigrant B visa, also called the business visa in Thailand. There are two categories of the non-immigrant B visa, which are:

  1. Non-immigrant B visa (conducting business) issued to foreigners who wish to set up or conduct business in Thailand.
  2. Non-immigrant B visa (employment) issued to foreigners who intend to work in Thailand.

Foreigners can apply for either a single-entry visa (90 days non-immigrant visa) or a multiple-entry visa (one-year non-immigrant visa).

The single-entry visa is issued by the Thai embassy or consulate in your home country and allows a stay of 90 days.

The visa must be used within 90 days from the issuance date, and it grants the holder a 90-day stay inside Thailand. Once the visa has expired, it can be extended for an additional seven days.

Holders of the temporary 90-day non-immigrant visa usually use the visa to enter Thailand, apply for a work permit, and once the validity of the visa has run out, they can convert it into a long-term solution, for example, a one-year non-immigrant business visa, one-year business visa extension or others.

Requirements for the business visa

The general requirements for the business visa include:

  • A passport with at least six months validity from the date of your planned arrival in Thailand
  • An invitation or confirmation letter to clarify the purpose of travel issued by the concerned organisation
  • Additional supporting documents as requested by the Royal Thai Embassy or consulate
  • Proof of financial funds and travel itinerary
  • Embassy fee

Investment visa

The investment visa (non-immigrant IM visa) is issued to foreigners who bring in THB 10 million into Thailand by one investment or a combination of purchasing a condominium or property, buying government bonds or putting it into a fixed deposit account in a Thai bank.

Investment visa holders are not allowed to earn a salary but can stay in Thailand for an unlimited period as long as the visa is renewed annually.

Length of stay

The investment visa is valid for 90 days and has to be used within three months.

Requirements for the investment visa

Documents needed to apply for the investment visa include:

  • Visa application form
  • Passport-sized photo
  • Non-immigrant visa
  • Passport with a validity of six months
  • Evidence of an investment of THB 10 million (ie bank statement, sale and purchase agreement or foreign exchange transfer form)
  • Letter from the Board of Investment

Education visa (non-immigrant ED visa)

The education visa or the non-immigrant ED visa is issued to students aged 12 or above who wish to enter Thailand for a full-time education course, internship or other training programs.

Length of stay

The student visa is valid for 90 days. Before the first 90 days expire, you can extend it at the Immigration Bureau for one year. All non-immigrant visas holders are subject to the 90-day reporting at the Immigration Office.

According to section 35(3) of the Immigration Act, students entering Thailand for education purposes are permitted to stay for a period not exceeding one year. However, if it is necessary to stay for a longer period, the Director-General may grant permission, but not for a period of longer than one year each time.

Requirements for the education visa

The requirements for an education visa include:

  • Passport with a validity of not less than six months
  • Visa application form
  • Passport-sized photos
  • Letter of acceptance from school or academic institution
  • Evidence of enrolment
  • Course description
  • School registration documents
  • For the purpose of attending a seminar, training session or internship, you will need a recommendation letter from the organisation
  • Fit-to-fly certificate issued within 72 hours of the departure

Where to apply?

The student visa can be applied at the Thai Embassy or consulate in your home country.

If you are already in Thailand with a non-immigrant O visa, a tourist visa or any other type of visa, you can convert the visa to a student visa at the Immigration Office.

Marriage visa (non-immigrant O visa)

The non-immigrant O visa or the marriage visa is a long-term visa issued to foreign nationals married to a Thai national.

Length of stay

You will first need to obtain a 90-day non-immigrant O visa at the Thai Embassy or consulate outside Thailand. Once you have received the non-immigrant visa, you will need to travel to Thailand to activate the non-immigrant O visa.

Within 90-days of entering Thailand, the visa holder can apply for a one-year extension. Before the extension ends, you can apply to extend it for another year. When you have lived in Thailand for three years, you can apply for a Thai permanent residency.

Requirements for the marriage visa

Requirements to meet when applying for the marriage visa are:

  • Passport with a validity of not less than six months
  • Visa application
  • Passport-sized photo
  • Copy of the Thai marriage certificate
  • Copy of your Thai wife’s identification card
  • Copy of your Thai wife’s Tabien Baan
  • Three-month bank statement with funds not less than THB 400,000 or a copy of your income statement showing THB 40,000 per month

In the case of a Thai husband, the foreign wife is not required to show a monthly income. However, the Thai husband must provide proof of paying Thai personal income tax.

Retirement visa

The retirement visa is issued to foreign nationals aged 50 or above and intend to retire in Thailand. However, you cannot work in Thailand with a retirement visa.

The retirement visa can be applied in Thailand or at the Thai Embassy or consulate in your home country.

Types of retirement visas

There are two types of retirement visas that can be issued to foreign nationals:

  • One-year retirement visa (non-immigrant O-A)
  • Five-year retirement visa (non-immigrant O-X)

Length of stay

The O-A visa allows you to stay in Thailand for one year, and it can be renewed every year.

The O-X visa allows a stay of five years and can be renewed for a maximum of 10 years.

Retirement visa qualifications

To apply for the retirement visa, you will need the following qualifications:

  • Must be 50 years old or older
  • Must not have the following diseases:
    • Leprosy
    • Tuberculosis
    • Elephantiasis
    • Drug addiction
    • Third stage syphilis
  • Does not have a criminal record in Thailand or your home country
  • O-A visa applicants:
    • Meet any of the financial requirements:
      • Deposit of THB 800,000 in a Thai bank account for two months before the visa application
      • Monthly income or pension of THB 65,000
      • Have a combination of annual income, pension or deposit of at least THB 800,000
    • O-X visa applicants:
      • Must be from one of the following countries:
        • Australia
        • Canada
        • Denmark
        • Finland
        • France
        • Germany
        • Italy
        • Japan
        • Netherlands
        • Norway
        • Sweden
        • Switzerland
        • United Kingdom
        • United States
      • Meet any of the financial requirements:
        • Deposit of at least THB 3 million
        • Annual income of THB 1.2 million

Requirements for the retirement visa

The following documents are needed for the retirement visa application:

  • Passport with a validity of at least six months and 18 months in case of application for a one-year valid visa
  • Visa application form
  • Passport-sized photo
  • Proof that you meet the financial requirements
  • Health certificate issued within the last three months

SMART visa

The SMART visa is a new type of visa that aims to attract highly skilled manpower, investors, executives, and startup entrepreneurs who want to work or invest in Thailand’s targeted industries.

SMART visa holders are given a maximum stay of four years, work permit exemption and additional privileges.

Targeted industries

The targeted industries in Thailand are:

  • Affluent, medical and wellness tourism
  • Agriculture and robotics
  • Alternative dispute resolution
  • Automation and robotics
  • Aviation and logistics
  • Biofuels and biochemicals
  • Digital
  • Environmental management and renewable energy
  • Food for the future
  • Human resource development in science and technology
  • Medical hub
  • Next-generation automotive
  • Smart electronics

Types of SMART visas

There are five types of SMART visa types, which are:

  • SMART “T” (Talent) – highly skilled professionals
  • SMART “I” (Investor) – investors in technology-based business
  • SMART “E” (Executive) – senior executives in technology-based companies
  • SMART “S” (Startup entrepreneur) – technology-based startup entrepreneurs
  • SMART “O” (Spouse and legitimate children of SMART visa holders)

SMART visa qualifications

SMART “T” (Talent) basic qualifications

General case:

  • A minimum income of THB 50,000 for startup employees or retired experts or THB 100,000 for general cases
  • A contract term of at least one year
  • Having expertise in science and technology

Experts working in government agencies/higher education institutions/specialised training institutions/Alternative Dispute Resolution:

  • No minimum contract term
  • No minimum income
  • Guaranteed by the employer

SMART “I” (Investor) basic requirements

  • Direct investment or through a venture capital company of at least THB 20 million, or direct investment in startups of at least THB 5 million
  • Be certified by relevant agencies

SMART “E” (Executive) basic requirements

  • Minimum income of THB 200,000 per month
  • Have a bachelor’s degree or above with at least 10 years of work experience
  • Contract term of at least one year

SMART “S” (Startup) basic requirements

Two-year visa:

  • Holding a minimum of 25% of the company’s registered capital or a position of the company director
  • Deposit a minimum of THB 600,000 in a bank account in Thailand
  • Have health insurance covering the period of stay in Thailand

One-year visa:

  • Attend an incubation or accelerator program
  • Deposit a minimum of THB 600,000 in a bank account in Thailand
  • Have health insurance covering the period of stay in Thailand

Six-month visa:

  • Startup business plan or engaged in startup business activity, such as startup camp
  • Have health insurance covering the period of stay in Thailand

SMART visa privileges

Some of the privileges SMART visa holders are entitled to include:

  • A maximum renewable four-, two-, one-year and six-month visa
  • No work permit required
  • 90-day reporting extended to one year
  • No re-entry permit required
  • Access to fast-track services at an international airport in Thailand

More details on the qualifications and privileges can be found on the BOI’s website.

Covid-19 Certificate of Entry

The Certificate of Entry must be submitted along with the visa application for all types of visas when a foreign national wants to enter Thailand.

The required documents for a Certificate of Entry (COE) are:

  • Declaration form
  • A copy of the Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) or Alternative Local Quarantine (ASL) hotel booking
  • A copy of health insurance covering all expenditures of medical treatment including Covid-19 for the period of staying in Thailand of no less than USD 100,000
  • Passport and visa copy

Overstay penalty

Overstaying your visa in Thailand is illegal. If you overstay for less than 90 days, you will only have to pay a fine.

The fine for overstaying is THB 500 per day and the maximum fine is THB 20,000 when overstaying for 40 days or more.

However, if you overstay for more than 90 days, you will be deported and banned from visiting Thailand. In the case that you are not able to pay the fine or overstay for a long period, you can be taken to jail.

In the case of the foreigner surrendering to the authorities

Period of overstayPeriod of banning from re-entering Thailand (starting on the departure date)
More than 90 daysOne year
More than one yearThree years
More than three yearsFive years
More than five years10 years

In the case of being arrested and prosecuted

Period of overstayPeriod of banning from re-entering Thailand (starting on the departure date)
Less than one yearFive years
More than one year10 years

Conclusion

There are a variety of types of visas in Thailand and each type of visa has its purpose and qualifications that applicants must comply with. If you need help applying for a visa in Thailand, do not hesitate to contact Acclime.

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