A Non-immigrant Visa must be obtained at a Thai Embassy or Consulate outside the Kingdom. Non-immigrant Visas can be either “single-entry” (the holder may remain in Thailand for 90 days since arrival) or “multiple-entry” (the visa is valid up to a year and the holder can exit and re-enter the country as many times as desired during that year, receiving a 90-day entry stamp each time). At the end of the period of validity, the visa is “USED”.
Although the “single-entry” version of the Non-immigrant Visa allows the holder to spend a maximum of 90 days within Thailand, this can be extended by an additional 30 days by visiting an Immigration Office. Holders of “multiple-entry” Non-immigrant Visas can exit just before the year’s visa validity is about to expire and benefit from an extra bonus 90-day stay, thus making the original visa valid for 15 months ca.
The main benefit of holding a visa of this type is that it can be extended for a year at the local Immigration Office as long as the holder meets certain (mainly financial) criteria. The annual extension should be requested within the last 30 days of any 90-day entry, and can be re-obtained indefinitely; hence, a Non-immigrant Visa is obviously the best visa option for those who plan to live in Thailand for a long period.
However, with the exception of a few Thai Consulates in the UK, Australia, and USA, an applicant must have a solid reason for obtaining a Non-immigrant Visa (visiting a Thai spouse or seeking retirement are the most common ones).
- Foreigners who wish to work in Thailand.
- Foreigners who wish to invest in Thailand.
- Foreigners who wish to study in Thailand.
- Foreigners married to Thai nationals.
- Foreigners with dependent relatives who are Thai nationals.
- Foreigners who wish to spend their retirement in Thailand.
- Family of the people in the above categories.
- Various other categories.
Non-immigrant Visa Type-O (a.k.a. “Non-O” Visa).
This kind of visa allows foreigners to stay in Thailand for a number of reasons; for instance:
- Visiting Thai spouse or family.
- Visiting non-Thai family members.
- Looking for employment or work.
- Offering voluntary unpaid work.
- Seeking retirement.
- Various other reasons not related to work or business.
Non-immigrant Visa Type-B (a.k.a. “Non-B” Visa).
“Non-B” Visas work in exactly the same way as “Non-O” Visas, with the following exception: a “Non-B” Visa is a visa for business or work purposes; hence, those who wish to work in Thailand must have a “Non-B” Visa as mandatory perquisite to obtaining a Work Permit.
Non-immigrant Visa Type-ED (a.k.a. “Non-ED” Visa).
This type of visa may be granted to those who would like to study in Thailand, to attend a conference or a seminar, to undergo specific training courses, to conduct unpaid research within a University or other institution, or study as a Buddhist monk.
Non-immigrant Visa Type-IB (a.k.a. “Investment & Business” Visa).
Foreigners working in Thailand on a project that has been approved by the Thai Board of Investment must have this type of visa.
- Non-immigrant Visa Type-D (a.k.a. “Diplomatic” Visa, for foreign diplomats).
- Non-immigrant Visa Type-BA (a.k.a. “Approved Company” Visa, for foreign company owners).
- Non-immigrant Visa Type-M (a.k.a. “Media” Visa, for foreign journalists or film crews).
- Non-immigrant Visa Type-EX (a.k.a. “Expert” Visa, for foreign specialists in peculiar fields).
- Non-immigrant Visa Type-IM (a.k.a. “Investor” Visa, for foreign financial investors).
- Non-immigrant Visa Type-F (a.k.a. “Official” Visa, for non-diplomatic foreign officials working within the Thai Government).
- Non-immigrant Visa Type-R (a.k.a. “Religious” Visa, for missionaries and other religious personalities).
- Non-immigrant Visa Type-RS (a.k.a. “Research” Visa, for foreign scientists conducting research in approved fields).