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Major types of Thai visas
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Sunday, 08 May 2011 15:42

So, you are planning to move to Phuket. It does not matter whether you have bought an expensive villa or going to rent a small condo, the rules to get the visa are the same. So how can one live in Phuket or somewhere else in Thailand, if the maximum period of time you can stay even with the double entry tourist visa is not over six months? Let’s look into various options and major Thai visa types that allow you to stay in Thailand for long term.


You can get one of the following kinds of visas:

1. Non-immigrant visa “O-A”, or retirement/family visa. Retirement visa is issued for 12 months but you can extend it without leaving the country. Main requirements to get the visa of this category, are:

  • You have to be 50 years or older;
  • You must not have any diseases that forbid entry to Thailand;
  • You must have a bank account in Thailand with balance not less than 800 000 Baht, (approx. $27,000 at time of publication). This amount should stay in the account for at least 3 months before you can apply for visa.

In order to get Non-Immigrant “O-A” you have to produce following paperwork: passport valid for at least 18 more months, copies of each page of the passport medical certificate, 3 photos, bank statement, visa application form.

This type of visa can be issued in any Thai embassy or consulate or, if you are already in Thailand, you can apply in the Immigration office in Bangkok or Phuket. Visa fee is 1.900 Baht. It is necessary to confirm your stay at the Immigration office every3 months with the Retirement visa. If you would like to extend your visa after one year, the only thing you have to show is 800 000 Baht on your bank statement for the last 3 months.
A foreign woman who got married to a Thai citizen automatically gets residence permit with the right of citizenship in future. A foreign man who got married to a Thai woman gets Non-Immigrant “O” visa and may apply for work permit.


2. Foreigner who is going to set up (or already has) his own business in Thailand, or will be hired by a company in Thailand, has to get Non Immigrant “B” visa (Business Visa). This kind of visa is issued for one year, with the right of an extension. Documents one has to bring to the embassy, are:

  • Invitation letter from employing company as proof that you will be hired by a company in Thailand;
  • Company paperwork if the applicant has his own business in Thailand, or;
  • Legal and financial paperwork of the hiring company (if needed, Digifox Ltd. can provide such paperwork package for you);
  • passport and photos.

To receive one year multiple entry Non-Immigrant “B” visa you must have valid work permit. This type of visa can be issued in the Embassy of Thailand abroad. Non-Immigrant “B” can be extended at the local Immigration office without leaving the country , provided that you still have valid work permit.


3. For those willing to study in Thailand there is an opportunity to get specific Non-immigrant “ED” visa (educational visa). This visa is issued for the whole period of education in Thai school or university with yearly extension process. It is possible to get this visa in your country, or any other country that has the Thai embassy. Before you apply for this visa, you have to ask the school that you will study at for proper paperwork. To apply for the educational visa one has to prepare following documents:

  • Passport and 6 photos;
  • Filled application forms and the invitation paperwork from the school.

With “ED” visa, it is necessary to confirm your stay at the Immigration office every 90 days. This visa can be extended annualy, you’ll have to produce “Prolong visa Non-ED” form provided by your school. Visa fee is 1.900 Baht.


Three types of visas described above are most common. Apart from these there are quite a few other types of visas and permits to stay (for example investment, journalist, even missionary visas) but we will not concentrate on them in this article as these types require additional permits and paperwork from various departments of Thai government.

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