There are four basic types of visas
available for visitors and residents to Thailand.
Transit visa - Valid for 14 days will be issued to those people arriving in Thailand without a visa. Technically you must have an onward flight ticket, but in practice this visa will be issued almost without question. Note: There are a few countries that do not require visas and will get a 30 day entry stamp on arrival - in general these countries are the ones that grant the same rights to Thai nationals visiting their countries and are listed below.
Tourist visa - Issued by Thai embassy abroad - These visa's will be valid for 60 or 90 days (varies from country to country). You may apply for more than one Tourist visa at a time and these multiple visa's may be used up consecutively. Many quasi resident visitors to Phuket (who do not work - or want to avoid the red tape of a Non Immigrant visa) live for years on a tourist visa by doing "visa runs", which are short trips either by bus or plane across the border to a neighboring country like Lao, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore. So long as you are solvent and not engaging in any local business activity, there is nothing wrong with this approach.
Non Immigrant visa - Issued at an embassy outside Thailand and valid for a 90 day stay, this visa may be extended within Thailand for periods up to one year at a time. There are three basic grounds to obtain and renew a Non Immigrant visa. 1) that you are employed (and have a work permit) in Thailand. 2) That you have Thai family. 3) That you are retired and can prove adequate pension or other financial means to support yourself. Ownership (or long lease) of property has no bearing on the extension of a Non Immigrant visa. Lengthy form filling and copying of personal documents (in duplicate) are required both when you first apply and for every subsequent renewal of this visa. If you hold a non Immigrant visa, you should obtain a Re-Entry or Multiple Entry permit if leaving the country and you do not wish your visa to lapse.
Resident visa - Rarely issued and hard to obtain. These visas are issued on a very selective quota basis. Qualification requirements include reading and writing Thai, a fairly strong local financial status and some good (influential) Thai references.
TOURIST VISA'S GIVEN PER COUNTRY
Citizens of the following countries can obtain a 15-day tourist visa upon arrival into Thailand at the airport: Bhutan, Cyprus, Kazakstan, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Hungary, India, Maldives, Qatar, Mauritius, China (including Taiwan), Poland, Ukraine and Czech Republic.
Citizens of the following countries are automatically given a 30 day tourist visa when they arrive in Thailand: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, UK, US and Vietnam.
Citizens of all other countries, or those wishing to stay in Thailand for longer than the designated time period listed above, need to go to the Thai Embassy and obtain a visa before flying into Thailand.
REQUIREMENTS TO OBTAIN A VISA
Transit Visa - If you have an ongoing airplane ticket out of Thailand within 14 days, then most likely, regardless of what country you are from, you will be given a 14 day visa to enter Thailand upon your arrival.
Tourist Visa - Listed above are the countries that automatically will obtain either a 14 day or 30 day tourist visa upon arrival into Thailand. So if you are from one of these countries, simply get on the plane and fly to Thailand, and when you arrive, you will be given the visa automatically. If however, you are from a country not listed above, or you want to stay in Thailand for longer than 30 days, then you must first go to the Thai Embassy and apply for a 60 or 90 day visa. 90 days is the maximum time allowable. It's very easy to get, just bring your passport, 2 passport size photographs of yourself and a pen to fill out a simple form. It takes 1-2 working days to complete.
Non-Immigrant B Visa - To obtain a Non-immigrant B visa, you must go to the Thai Embassy in a country outside of Thailand. Bring your passport, 2 passport size photographs of yourself and a pen to fill out the form. The form is basically the same exact form used for a 90 day Tourist Visa, but you simply check the box for Non-Immigrant B Visa. You will also need one more item, a letter from a company or business in Thailand that states that they want you to work there.
If you started your own business in Thailand, and you are the Director of that business, you can write the letter yourself, requesting that you are needed for work in Thailand. It takes 1-2 working days to complete and costs about $45 USD, it is very simple.
Keep in mind, this will only get you a 3 month visa, which allows you to stay in Thailand for 3 months. It does NOT a work permit or authorizes you to work in Thailand. In order to obtain that, you must do that in Thailand AFTER you already have a 3 month Non-immigrant B visa.
Also, you can not obtain a 1 year visa. You must first obtain the 3 month visa from outside of Thailand, and then once back in Thailand, you can obtain a Work Permit, and then with this permit, you can request an extention of your visa for up to 1 year. Cost's about $45 USD for every 3 months.
PENSION VISA'S - The visa regulations for NEW pension visas has changed to 50 years old. You must apply outside of Thailand but once you have it then you can reapply within Thailand. You need 800,000 Baht in the bank OR an equivalent amount of income of not less than 65,000 baht every month with proof of pension income before applying for a one year visa.
RETIREMENT VISA'S - You need to show 800,000 baht in the Bank or pension fund with Thai Bank letter stating you have 65,000 baht coming in each month. You must have an existing non immigrant visa to apply and if coming to Thailand from overseas, you must apply for a non immigrant O visa at your Thai Embassy with proof of the funds before you arrive in Thailand. You must be 50 years or over to be eligible.
RETIREMENT MARRIAGE VISA'S - If married to a Thai and you have 200,000 baht in the bank OR 40,000 baht per month coming in.
RESIDENCY VISA'S - Can be done if a) you have 3 years consecutive multiple non immigrant visas to be eligible with no broken record like extensions or overstays. b) If a pensioner then you have proof of your funds coming in each month. c) If you have done something to assist/ improve Thai society while you have been in Thailand. d) Your educational qualifications are strong. e) You have a document from your home country from the Police saying you have no previous criminal records and it is certified by your Embassy here. f) You have a photo of your house or property if you have such here in Thailand. g) All the above needs to be translated into Thai.
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