Visa for visitors, business,
retirement in Thailand
Many visiting tourists don't
need a visa to enter Thailand; others can apply for a visa on arrival.
Laos visa information.
SE Asian country visa requirements
Read what other travelers have to say
about Thai Visas at TripAdvisor
Citizens or holders
of passports for the following countries do not require a visa to
enter Thailand as a visitor; those arriving without visas are given an
entry stamp for 15-days (arrival by land) or 30 days (arrival
at an airport):
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, United Kingdom, United States of America and
Vietnam. Here is the complete list of
visa-on-arrival or no visa requirements for visitors to Thailand.
ENTRY/VISA REGULATIONS 2009-2012
Only Four Consecutive Entries or "Border Runs" to and from Thailand
From June 1, 2009, Thai Immigration at land border crossings (e.g.
Friendship Bridge at Nongkhai/Vientiane) will only allow 15-day
visa-free entries. Only at airports will a 30 day stamp continue
to be given.
foreigner who has entered the Kingdom four consecutive times on 15-day entry
stamps will not be allowed to re-enter Thailand by land without a tourist
Options are to re-enter
Thailand via an international airport,
which will allow a further 30-day extension of stay in the country, or apply
for a Tourist Visa from a Thai Consulate. It is also unknown
whether this is for single or multiple entry with/without a re-entry stamp.
apparently a bid to prevent foreigners "abusing" the visa exemption rule
allowing 15-day extensions at land border checkpoints.
The new regulations should not affect foreign residents of a neighbouring
country like Laos who make short visits trips to Thailand e.g. shopping in Nongkhai
Thai Immigration should see evidence of residence outside Thailand in the
The thirty day entry stamp
may be extended for two weeks, once only, for 1900 baht
(over $55); it may be cheaper to visit a neighbouring territory and return.
If you intend spending more time in Thailand, then you should apply for a
tourist visa at a Royal Thai Embassy before you go to Thailand.
This may be valid for 30 or 60 days. If you want to visit a neighbouring
country during this time, you can purchase a re-entry stamp from
Immigration before you leave.
Faster, better service
may be possible using an authorised agency such as
where visas for several countries can be applied for simultaneously.
periods for business (see
below) and multiple entry
visas may also be applied for at Thai Embassies. If you have a
single-entry visa, you can purchase a re-entry stamp before you leave,
and return during the validity of the visa.
Visas for Thailand
can be obtained from any convenient Royal Thai Embassy or consular
office. For example, a British Passport holder can get a Thai
visa in London, Los Angeles, Penang, Vientiane
or any other Thai Visa Office.
Thailand from the Royal Thai Embassy, Vientiane
A 60 day visitor visa for Thailand costs 1000
Baht ($30). Applications are accepted before midday
only (get there early, preferably by 8.30 a.m.) and will be available for collection
the next afternoon. Apply on Friday for Monday collection. This type of visa
can be extended at any Immigration Office for a further thirty
days for 1900 baht ($55). The Thai Visa Office is located
several kilometres from the Morning Market on the road leading to Wat That
Luang (opposite Kolao Building).
There is also a Royal Thai Consulate in
Savannakhet in southern Laos.
Passport holders of these countries are given a
Thai visa on arrival:
Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, India,
Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Maldives, Mauritius, Oman,
Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine.
10,000 baht for living expenses while in Thailand and a fully paid onward
airline ticket are required. The fee is 1000 baht and one photograph is
Visitors may not work – either voluntarily or for reward.
Foreigners can invest in a Thai business and receive dividends, but the likelihood of profit from a Thai business venture without
direct involvement is likely to be
low! See our Foreign Business
page if you are considering coming to Thailand and going into business.
'VISA RUNS' FOR
FOREIGNERS (see also
It is no longer possible to
stay in Thailand
indefinitely by doing 'visa runs' – cross-border visits before the entry stamp
expires. Depending on where you are living, these can be done in one day,
alone or with a tour operator. The border crossing may be a 1 minute walk
across a bridge into Burma (Myanmar) and back, paying $5 for
temporary entry, or crossing the Mekong River into the Lao PDR.
Thai Immigration law changed recently and
aimed specifically at foreigners who stay indefinitely in Thailand
on entry stamps only (not a visa). Passports were
checked for consecutive tourist stamps during the past six months. If
a total of 90 days has been spent in Thailand, re-entry will
be permitted only with a visa from an Embassy outside Thailand, or
by waiting for another ninety days.
If this applies to you, be prepared before you set off on an
old-style Thai "border run". You might consider packing a suitcase and tying up
your local affairs first!
The solution is to get a proper
tourist visa in a nearby country such as
Malaysia or Singapore for which a visa is not required
to enter, or Laos which requires
a Lao visa on arrival costing $30-$42 for 30 days. See
Visas for the Lao PDR.
ASEAN nationals travelling within between some member countries are given 2 weeks visa-free entry.
Not all members are complying with this agreement and are charging for
entry. Asean Member countries include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos,
Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore,
Thailand and Vietnam plus East Timor.
Thai Citizens should receive a visa on arrival
or entry stamp when visiting other ASEAN countries.
Recent stricter enforcement of
Thai immigration laws, substantially increased fees and criteria have been phased in over the past
few years; it is now unwise to try
to circumvent the visa and work permit regulations. There was a time when for a
small fee you could have your passport stamped out and back into Thailand while you stayed
in the country. Beware. Thai Immigration (part of the Royal Thai Police) now proudly proclaims
it is 'corruption-free' (a sick joke), and has outlawed these practices. There is a high risk
of fines, prison or deportation (or all three).
One Year Investment (Condo) Visa
Discontinued or Changed
The one year visa that was given to foreigners under 50 years of age who invested 3 million baht
(US$75,000 or £40,000) in Thailand for 3 years is no longer
available for new applications. There are rumours it may be increased to
10 million ($250,000), which, under the present political uncertainty, would
be a rash investment indeed. Those already approved will apparently be able to
continue renewal up to the three year limit, but holders are advised to
check with their local immigration office. This visa was popular with condo
owners, business investors or bank depositors, but tax is payable on income derived from such investments.
There are far safer places to 'invest' $250,000.
Visas for Work or Employment
Providing one is discreet, there are ways
the Thai authorities being aware. Although recent legislation
states that foreigners operating internet businesses should register this
fact, it is difficult to enforce. An internet-based
online forex trading are popular. Part or full time English teachers
may get visa assistance through their employers but a
degree or qualification is more or
now (see our Teaching
Khao San Road, once famous for fake certificates and driving
licences etc. has been cleaned up in recent years, as part of Thailand's
attempted 'no corruption' new image. All that went out the window when the
machinations of the recent government finally came to light. But of course,
in true Thai style, no one has yet been brought to account. See our
Corruption in Asia page for more
Learn how to care of your finances
while travelling or settling in another country by visiting our
Banking and Finance page.
Visa for Thailand
For long term residence in
Thailand there are different visa options available
including 'elite' or 'privilege' cards and even permanent residence as an immigrant – but
the prices are beyond what most people will be willing to pay. Most choose 'non-Immigrant' status and there are several
categories of this visa available.
Non-Immigrant Visas are issued for one year but need to be
validated every three months by a brief personal visit to an Immigration Office. Note that if you want to leave
during this time, to maintain the visa's validity a re-entry
permit (stamp) must be purchased from an Immigration office beforehand
(also at Bangkok Airport). Cost
for single re-entry is 1000 baht ($25) or multiple re-entry
For retirement above the
age of 50, an annually extendable visa is available, with
proof required (letter from Embassy) of a minimum of 65,000 baht (c. £1000,
$1800) per month from an overseas
pension or 800,000 baht ($20,000)
in a Thai
bank account when applying for or renewing this visa. New requirements mean that this
money must now be and remain in the account for 90 days before
application or renewal; therefore extra money for
living expenses will be needed while waiting for approval.
Monthly interim visits must be made to immigration
too. A medical certificate is
needed from a local hospital (50–100 baht).
A person married to a Thai is eligible for a three month Non-Immigrant Category B
visa, extendible up to one year. Proof of 400,000 baht ($10,000) in a Thai
bank, or foreign income or pension to the value of 40,000 baht per month is
required. The above changes will probably apply
too – better to show a higher bank balance.
Business and Other Activities
Thailand has many categories of visa for
'Non-Immigrants' or 'Aliens' which is the official term used
to describe foreigners. It is is a complex subject and generally needs
legal assistance. Other sites including Thai Government ones provide more comprehensive information. As we are primarily concerned with simple retirement or staying discreetly away from mainstream business activities, we will merely list
some of the categories of Non Immigrant Visa here.
'B': work or business
'M': media personnel - journalist for publications or television work
'F': performing official duties
'IM': investor in Thailand with Thai Government approval
'IB': for those with Investment Promotion privileges
'ED': educational - includes studying to become a Buddhist monk
'R': religious - includes Government-authorised missionary organisations
'RS': scientific research, teaching or training
'EX': Government-designated expert or specialist
'OA' retirement - retirees over the age of 50 living in Thailand
'O': all other activities.
here for a
Thai Visa Online.
Read what other travelers have to say about Thai Visas at TripAdvisor.
See our page on Foreign Business Ownership in
information about business visa and work permit
Making a Living in South East
Here is an
guide which provides valuable insight for anyone thinking of settling and working
or earning an income in
Southeast Asian country.
There are many issues to be aware of when attempting to run
businesses in the Philippines, Thailand, Laos,
Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore or Indonesia.
Making a Living in the Philippines here, or visit the author's site by clicking
on the book cover for this title as well as many others by the author