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Visas and Non-Immigrant Visas in Thailand

Information on visas and non-immigrant visas for foreigners moving to or living in Thailand...

What follows is an overview of the different types of visas - "permission to stay" and "extension of stay" stamps - that are issued by the Thai government for visits or long-term stay. This includes:

  • Tourist Visa Exemption: certain passport holders are exempt from holding a visa and will be granted a 30 day "permission to stay" stamp on arrival
  • Visa on Arrival: certain passport holders are granted up to 15 days "permission to stay" on arrival
  • Tourist Visas: applied for before departure for Thailand, this allows the holder a 60 day (plus further 30 on application) "permission to stay"
  • Non-Immigrant Visas: for a stay longer than two months (application requirements vary depending on the reason for the stay)
  • Retirement Non-Immigrant Visas: granted to those over 50 years who can demonstrate financial security (among other things)
  • Permission to Stay: This is the stamp that is stamped in to a passport on arrival in Thailand, regardless of which type of visa that has been issued. It shows the date of entry and the required date of departure
  • Extension of Stay: This is a stamp that is issued by Thai immigration under specific circumstances that allow the holder to stay longer than 90 days

Note: Visitors should contact their home Embassy or Consulate for up-to-date information as the requirements can change.

It is also worth noting the differences between a visa and permission or extension of stay as there is often confusion over the different terms; sometimes even government departments use the terms wrongly.

  1. A visa will usually be issued outside of Thailand (apart from in the case of a "Visa on Arrival") and will indicate the dates when the holder can apply to enter Thailand.
  2. On entry into Thailand a "permission to stay" is stamped in the passport and shows the entry date and the date by which the passport holder must leave unless they have been granted an "extension of stay"

Thailand's Immigration Bureau has some information in English, including details of the relevant offices.

  • For details of all immigration offices: Click here (select Checkpoints tab at the top of the page and choose the relevant area)
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