Every expat living in the Land of Smiles needs a visa therefore it is prudent to get a handle on Thailand visa requirements. The 30-day visa upon arrival is not enough. If you are moving here with a job already secured or as part of your employer’s relocation package then you are probably already aware of the visa needed. For those coming here to retire or to look for work, you need information on how to go about getting the right visa.
Tourist Visa Requirements
Although this is not an expat visa, it can be used for your advantage when coming here to retire or look for work. A tourist visa is good for 60 days and can be extended for another 30 days at an immigration office within Thailand. When applying for this visa, you can specify one or two entries and each entry will be good for 60 days. The procedure is to get this visa from a Thai consulate in your home country before departing for Thailand. The tourist visa gives you time to meet other Thailand visa requirements before getting a non-immigrant visa.
Non-immigrant B Visa Requirements
This is also known as the work permit visa and it can only be obtained if you work for a bona fide employer in Thailand. The employer provides documentation to the immigration office so that you can get this visa. It is also required before you can obtain a work permit, a totally separate document.
Retirement Visa Requirements
If you are age 50 or older and do not plan to work (retire only) then this is probably the best visa for you. It is a Non-Immigrant O type visa with a “retirement” stamp on it. To meet the Thailand visa requirements for this, you must have at least 800,000 THB in a Thai bank for a minimum of 90 consecutive days prior to applying. Or, you can prove that you have a monthly income of at least 65,000 THB from a source such as a pension. For the monthly income documentation, you must get a letter from your embassy in Thailand stating this. You can also have a combination of monthly income and bank account balance that totals to 800,000 THB annually to meet the requirement.
Non-immigrant ED Visa Requirements
If you have children who will be attending school here, Thailand visa requirements stipulate that this is the type you will need. Typically, parents will get Non-Immigrant O visas for their children prior to leaving their homeland. Then, after enrollment in a school, an ED visa will be applied for. The school provides a letter that you take to the immigration office when applying for the ED visa.
Non-immigrant O Marriage Requirements
Your situation might be that you have gotten married to a Thai national and there is a visa for this. If you are not working in Thailand and on a B visa then this is the one for you. You will need to show a balance of 400,000 THB deposited in a Thai bank for at least 90 days or show that you have independent income of at least 40,000 THB per month. You will also need to show a marriage certificate.
Non-immigrant O Support Requirements
This is similar to the marriage visa but it is used to support a Thai dependent child. Like the marriage visa, the applicant must have 400,000 THB on deposit in a Thai bank account for the standard 90-day period prior to the application. If not going the bank deposit route, the 40,000 THB independent income must be shown. One stipulation is that the applicant’s name must appear on the child’s birth certificate.
Documents needed Requirements
The necessary documents to meet Thailand visa requirements depend on the type of expat visa however there are some common ones you will need to provide. You will need to provide a signed photocopy of the picture page and each page with a Thai visa in your passport. Additionally, you will need to make a signed photocopy of the TM arrival/departure card that you filled out when entering Thailand. All Thai immigration forms will require a passport quality photo (with white background) measuring 4 x 6 cm. It’s best to take more than one photo.
The previous paragraphs mentioned the additional documents needed for the different types of visas but do not mention about the bank documentation which is needed to prove financial responsibility. You will need to make a photocopy of the account number page and last balance page in your Thai bank book. The balance should be current as of the date you are submitting your visa application. Do this by going to the bank when it first opens and making a small 100 THB deposit.
In addition to the signed photocopies of your bank book, you will also need a letter from the same financial institution that states the amount on deposit over the last 90 days. Your bank will know the letter you need. Make a copy of this letter once you receive it and use it to show your bank when you apply for yearly extensions.
Typical Visa Procedure Requirements
The typical procedure for getting a Thai visa is to get either a tourist or generic non-immigrant O visa from the Thai embassy in the expat’s home country. Then, once the expat family settles down here, head over to immigration with all of the required documentation to change the visa type. The Thai immigration form for this is TM 86. Or, if on a tourist visa, apply for the appropriate visa with Thai immigration form TM 87. The cost for executing either of these forms is 2,000 THB. Then, for each additional year you do a one-year extension using TM 7 at a cost of 1,900 THB. For each extension, you will need to produce the same documentation and any required bank balances will need to be on account 90 days prior.
90-Day Visa Reporting Requirement
With a one-year visa or extension, you will still need to make a trip to your local Thai immigration office every 90 days in order to report your current address. This requires using TM 47 and there is no charge. Also, one member of your family can take all of the passports for each member and do this report.
Keep in mind that requirements pertaining to visas change frequently in Thailand. It is best to visit the Thai immigration website at http://www.immigration.go.th for the latest on any changes. This website also has all of the forms needed for meeting the Thailand visa requirements.