Non-Immigrant Visas


Those having no genuine and valid passport or document that can be used in lieu of a passport; or those having a genuine and valid passport or document for use in lieu of a passport without a visa issued by Royal Thai Embassies or consulates in foreign countries or by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Exceptions are aliens for whom no visa is required in certain special instances.

2. Those who have no appropriate means of earning a living once they have entered the Kingdom.

3. Those who, having entered the Kingdom to take up employment as laborers or practice other forms of manual work that require no special skill or training, or who violate the Alien Employment Act.

4. Those who are mentally unstable or who suffer from any of the diseases proscribed in the Ministerial Regulations. (c)

5. Those who have not been vaccinated against smallpox or inoculated or undergone any other medical treatment for protection against contagious diseases, and have refused to have such vaccinations administered by the Immigration Bureau doctor.

6. Those who have been imprisoned by the judgment of a Thai court or by a lawful injunction, or by the judgment of the court of a foreign country, except when the penalty is for a petty offence or negligence or is specifically cited as an exception in the Ministerial Regulations.

7. Those who have exhibited behavior which would indicate possible danger to the public or the likelihood of their being a public nuisance, a threat to the peace or safety of the public, or the security of the public or the nation, including those under warrant of arrest by competent officials of foreign governments.

8. Those for whom there is reason to believe that entrance into the Kingdom is for the purpose of being involved in prostitution, the trading of women or children, drug smuggling or other activities that are contrary to public morality.

9. Those having no money or bond as prescribed by the Minister under Section 14. (d)

10. Those categorized as persona non grata by the Minister under Section 16. (e)

11. Those who have been deported by either the Government of Thailand or that of another foreign country; those who have been sent out of the Kingdom by competent officials at the expense of the Government of Thailand unless the Minister makes an exemption on an individual, special-case basis.

c Leprosy, infectious tuberculosis, chronic elephantiasis, drug addiction, tertiary syphilis. d Reference: announcement of the Ministry of Interior, dated 8 May B.E. 2543 (A.D.2000).

(1) At least of 10,000 baht for a holder of a transit visa or “visa not required” category and visa on arrival (at least of 20,000 baht for a family).

(2) At least of 20,000 baht for a holder of a tourist visa or non-immigrant visa (at least of 40,000 baht for a family).

e In instances where, for reasons of national welfare or the safeguarding of the public peace, culture, morality or welfare, or when the Minister considers it improper to allow any foreigner or group of foreigners to enter the Kingdom, the Minister shall have the power to exclude the said foreigner or group of foreigners from entering the Kingdom.

Note:

In cases of persons prohibited by the Ministry under Section 16 (foreigners who have been imprisoned for criminal offences involving work in professions or occupations that are prohibited by law, with exception made for minor offences, or offences committed through negligence), the Immigration Bureau will submit their names and histories to the Minister of Interior for a decision concerning the possible prohibition of the person or persons concerned from entering the Kingdom. No time limitations apply in cases of persona non grata status, so that in cases where a person who is prohibited from entering the kingdom has died, his or her children may encounter problems upon attempting to enter the country, should they share a common name. In such cases, the full name and date of birth of the applicant must be checked.

Source: Skonchai & Oliver Law Consultancy Co., Ltd. For more details, visit www.visathailand.com or email Supat Skonchai at supat@visathailand.com

 

The recent closure of a Bangkok travel agency has highlighted the dangers for foreigners wanting to stay in Thailand without leaving the country to obtain a visa. Many customers of the agency found themselves undergoing uncomfortable interviews at the Immigration offices in Bangkok.

 

The proprietor of the agency offered a convenient service: instead of the foreigner leaving the country to get a visa, he would for a price send the applicant’s passport out of Thailand, have it stamped for exit and re-entry and provide a visa from the Thai Embassy in the country the passport was sent to.

 

The advantage to the passport-holder is that he can stay in Thailand during the process and save time and money. A visa run to another country is expensive when the costs in travel and accommodation are totaled and it’s clearly attractive and economical - to leave someone else to do the work while the passport- holder remains in Bangkok.

 

Typical costs: a tourist visa for 30 days 3200 baht, a non-immigrant for 3 months 7500 baht

 

The practice of using an agent to get a visa in this way is widespread - one Westerner spoke of having used this method for over 10 years without leaving the country. He said he had never had any problems.

 

What are the dangers?

 

  • It is illegal to leaving the country is the method prescribed by the Immigration authorities for obtaining new visas

 

  • A passport has to be entrusted to strangers

 

  • The exit and re-entry stamps and/or the visa may be counterfeit

 

  • If for any reason the passport holder must visit Immigration, then anomalies may be noticed. This is certain to happen if the visa is not genuine. The consequences are not pleasant

 

  • The process relies upon connivance by officials at the border and in visa sections abroad - if anything goes wrong then the passport may be withheld whilst overseas

 

The Thai Immigration authorities understandably want to keep tabs on unwelcome visitors to the country. There is no doubt that making monthly exits and re-entries is a method used by foreign criminals using Thailand as their base.

 

But for the majority of law-abiding foreigners wishing to stay for prolonged periods in Thailand, leaving the country several times a year is an expensive inconvenience. Financially it is a disadvantage to both the foreigner and to Thailand for the money he spends abroad whilst obtaining a visa would be better spent in this country.

 

To deter criminals, the Thai authorities, mindful of the value of the one-month tourist visa to the wrongdoer, have recently limited to six the number of consecutive tourist visas which can be applied for. After the sixth month, the passport-holder must leave the country for six months before reapplying. This is a great inconvenience to anybody conducting criminal activities in the country but is unfair to bona fide foreigners wanting to spend longer in Thailand.

 

The situation is unlikely to improve until a better visa issuing system is worked out where bona fide foreigners can renew or obtain visas within this country. At present, a foreign passport-holder in need of a visa can either go on a time-consuming and expensive visa run or risk using the services of an agency to procure a visa for him without his having to leave Thailand. The chances are he will have no trouble with the latter as the method is well established and many people clearly do this with no problems.

 

But there is always a danger of a crackdown by the authorities or of documents coming back without a bona fide visa if the agency folds or other unfortunate circumstances arise.

 

 

Source: Skonchai & Oliver Law Consultancy Co., Ltd. For more details, visit www.visathailand.com or email Supat Skonchai at supat@visathailand.com

 

 

Any male foreigner who wants to stay in Thailand on a non-resident (non-immigrant) one-year visa in order to work and take care of his Thai wife, has to face quite an ordeal.

 

Before he is granted the visa, he and his wife have to undergo detailed questioning at the Immigration Bureau as well as provide a number of documents to the responsible immigration officer.

 

The ordeal does not end there, either, as it is not a one-time-only procedure. Each subsequent year that a foreigner wants to renew such a visa means repeating the ordeal, regardless of how many years he has been going the same old procedure together with the same wife.

 

Whenever a non-resident visa extension application is involved, a married couple has to undergo this procedure. Eventually, some Thai wives become embarrassed and fed up with the repetitive questioning. There may also come a time when the wife is busy looking after a baby or has to attend to some other urgent business. As a result, her husband will turn up for the annual inquisition on his own. It is understandable that such couples should assume that, after repeating the same exercise annually for several years, it is obvious the husband wants to stay in Thailand to look after his Thai family.

 

Also, because the husband must show proof of holding a permanent job with a reasonable income, as required by immigration regulations, turning up alone for the interview should not present any problems. Unfortunately, that assumption is wrong. Why? To the amazement of all who hear of such incidents, the interviewing immigration officer will demand to see the divorce documents of the foreigner, as the wife is not present. The Immigration Bureau apparently believes that if a married foreigner arrives for the interview unaccompanied by his wife, it means that he wants to change his reason for staying in Thailand to the category of business. So, they want proof of divorce. When describing such incidents to people, the first reaction is “it must be a joke!”

 

It is hard enough to apply for a non-resident visa (even when an applicant has all the required documents and other evidence), but this delving into a private matter is a bit too much. If a foreigner has a certificate proving he has been married for a number of years, that should be a good enough reason to automatically extend his visa without imposing the same troublesome interview each year. In any case, if a foreigner wants to change his reason for staying in Thailand to the business category, why should he need to show that he is divorced? If he can prove that his business is genuine, that should be sufficient evidence.

 

It is difficult to confirm such stories because there is no hard evidence that divorce documents have been demanded before a visa application is accepted for processing. The persons involved in such incidents dare not to mention the name of the officer who handled their case. We cannot confirm or deny such stories, yet from time to time we still receive complaints from those who say they have experienced the problem. Therefore, we believe the Immigration Bureau should provide an explanation to the public. A clear statement is needed on whether or not proof of divorce in such cases is officially required and, if required, why? Such a statement would not only enlighten the public, but would also serve as a guideline to those immigration officers who have to handle such cases. It would also speed up the processing of such applications.

 

Incidentally, it is possible to avoid the above annual ordeal. Any foreigner who has legally been living in Thailand for a total of at least three years is potentially eligible for a residence permit. If you would like expert advice/assistance in applying for a residence permit, or if you have any other queries about immigration or other legal matters in Thailand, contact us. The initial consultation is free.

 

 

Source: Skonchai & Oliver Law Consultancy Co., Ltd. For more details, visit www.visathailand.com or email Supat Skonchai at supat@visathailand.com

 

 

The closure a couple of years ago of a Bangkok travel agency highlighted the dangers for foreigners wanting to stay in Thailand without leaving the country to obtain a visa. Many customers of the agency found themselves undergoing uncomfortable interviews at the Immigration offices in Bangkok.

The proprietor of the agency offered a convenient service: instead of the foreigner leaving the country to get a visa, he would - for a price - send the applicant’s passport out of Thailand, have it stamped for exit and re-entry and provide a visa from the Thai Embassy in the country the passport was sent to.

The advantage to the passport-holder is that he can stay in Thailand during the process and save time and money. A visa run to another country is expensive when the costs in travel and accommodation are totalled and it’s clearly attractive - and economical - to leave someone else to do the work while the passport- holder remains in Bangkok.

Typical costs:

    * a tourist visa for 30 days - 1700 -3200 baht

    * a non-immigrant for 3 months 7 500 baht

    * a multiple non-immigrant ‘O’ visa, lasting for fifteen months - 15 000 baht

The practice of using an agent to get a visa in this way is widespread - one Westerner spoke of having used this method for over ten years without leaving the country. He said he had never had any problems.

What are the dangers?

It is illegal - leaving the country is the method prescribed by the Immigration authorities for obtaining new visas

A passport has to be entrusted to strangers.

Your Embassy will be very displeased if their staff finds out.

The exit and re-entry stamps and/or the visa may be counterfeit.

If for any reason the passport holder must visit Immigration, then anomalies may be noticed. This is certain to happen if the visa is not genuine. The consequences are not pleasant.

The process relies upon connivance with officials at the border and in visa sections abroad - if anything goes wrong, then the passport may be withheld whilst it is overseas.

The Thai Immigration authorities understandably want to keep tabs on unwelcome visitors to the country. There is no doubt that making monthly exits and re-entries is a method used by foreign criminals using Thailand as their base.

But for the majority of law-abiding foreigners wishing to stay for prolonged periods in Thailand, leaving the country several times a year is an expensive inconvenience. Financially, it is a disadvantage to both the foreigners and to Thailand for the money they spend abroad whilst obtaining a visa would be better spent in this country.

To deter criminals, the Thai authorities, mindful of the value of the one-month tourist visa to the wrongdoer, have recently limited to six the number of consecutive tourist visas which can be applied for. After the sixth month, the passport-holder must leave the country for six months before reapplying. This is a great inconvenience to anybody conducting criminal activities in the country but is unfair to bona fide foreigners wanting to spend longer in Thailand. However, whether this six-tourist visa rule is still being enforced in 2003 is being checked out now by eThailand.com.

The situation is unlikely to improve until a better visa issuing system is worked out where bona fide foreigners can renew or obtain visas within country. At present, foreign passport-holders in need of a visa can either go on a time-consuming and expensive visa run or risk using the services of an agency to procure a visa for themselves without having to leave Thailand. The chances are they will have no trouble with the latter as the method is well established and many people clearly do this with no problems.

But there is always a danger of a crackdown by the authorities or of documents coming back without a bona fide visa if the agency folds or other unfortunate circumstances arise.

And worse - the foreigner may be asked by the police to produce his passport whilst it is out of the country. Then, even a copy will not do - it will have an overdue date on it. Then Immigration jail is your next home - and possibly for some time

 

 

A border run or “visa run” is if you already have a Thai visa and you need to activate the latter part of it - there is information here also for obtaining a visa from other Thai embassies (consulates) in neighboring countries.

A Thai consulate can issue a “3 month non-immigrant education visa”, which means you can stay in Thailand for 90 days without doing a ‘visa run’. To obtain a visa it is necessary to leave Thailand and visit a neighboring country which has a Thai consulate. The application takes 24 hours to process, so a stop over in the country is required. The Thai consulates are only open Mon-Fri and the initial application must be handed in before midday, then collected after midday the following day.

To apply for the visa you need: a letter from Mermaids Management (ask a few days before you leave and we can print the necessary “letter of intent to study” and the company registration for you), your passport, photocopy of your passport, 2 x passport photos and the equivalent of approx 2000 Baht in whichever currency the country uses.

Traveling to Thailand’s neighboring country’s by train is usually the cheapest, easiest and most comfortable way to travel. However it can be time consuming so it is always worth checking www.airasia.com to see if there are any cheap flights (always remember to add approx 500 Baht departure tax onto any flight prices for flights to anywhere outside of Thailand). To book train tickets you can ask Malai (Mermaids secretary - superwoman!) and she can have the tickets delivered to Mermaids dive training academy in a few hours costing approx 10 Baht for delivery.

Most trains leave from Hualampong station in Bangkok, to get there from Jomtien / Pattaya is cheap and easy. The bus station on Sukhumvit Road has buses leaving every 30 mins to Bangkok-Ekamai bus station costing approx 100 Baht. From Ekamai bus station there is a BTS Skytrain station right next to it. Take the BTS to Asoke approx 20 Baht, here you can change to the MRT underground train to Hualampong station approx 20 Baht.

Vientiane - Laos

Overnight sleeper train from Bangkok (Hualampong) to Nongkhai costs approx 700 Baht. At Nongkhai take tuk-tuk/taxi to Friendship Bridge (ignore the drivers trying to sell you a visa) approx 40 Baht. At Thai immigration your passport and departure card are required. To go over Friendship Bridge there is a bus provided costs approx 10 Baht. At Laos immigration you need your passport, 2 x passport photos and entry fee of approx $30 (payable in US Dollars or Baht). Once in Laos the currency is Kip but they accept Baht and US Dollars everywhere. From immigration it is possible to take a bus to Vientiane for approx 40 Baht or a tuk-tuk/taxi for approx 100 Baht. The Thai Consulate is on Tha That Luang a 15 mins walk from Patuxai monument (taxi drivers know).

Accommodation is easy to find there is a range from budget upwards. I personally recommend Chindamay Guest House on Tha Setthathirat it is cheap, clean and rooms have attached bathroom with hot water and air con.

The return journey to Bangkok can be booked at any of the travel agents, alternatively there is a bus which is cheaper and slightly quicker but much less comfortable!

Note - There are no ATMs in Laos only banks to change money so make sure to take enough cash!!

P enang - Malaysia

Overnight sleeper train from Bangkok (Hualampong) to Butterworth cost approx 800 Baht. Alternatively check airasia.com for cheap flight, if booked in advance the flight costs almost the same as the train and only takes about one hour. The train stops at the border along the way, here it is necessary to get off the train walk through immigration and get back on the train. Passport and departure card is required, there is no entry fee for Malaysia. At Butterworth there is a ferry across to Penang for a small fee but i t must be paid for in Malaysian Ringgit. The ferry arrives in Georgetown where there are many guesthouses and restaurants within walking distance of the pier.

I recommend Love Lane Inn guesthouse (54 Love Lane ocean008@hotmail.com ) the owner of the guesthouse will sort out the visa for you. He takes your passport and completed application to the consulate and collects it the next day for a nominal fee. Most of the guesthouses offer this service. The owners of Love lane Inn are very helpful, have excellent English and will help you with whatever they can.

The return journey can be booked through the guesthouse and the owner will even drive you to the pier in his ‘taxi’. The return ferry is free so the price is approx 800 Baht by train.

Kota Bharu - Malaysia

Overnight sleeper train from Bangkok (Hualampong) to Sungai Kolok cost approx 650 Baht. Sungai Kolok station is short walk to immigration (border) or tuk-tuk / taxi is approx 30 Baht. Walk through Thai immigration show passport and departure card then walk over a bridge go through Malaysian immigration and then take a taxi to Kota Bharu approx 300 Baht (there is a currency exchange next to immigration in what appears to be a Fujicolour shop). Thai consulate - 4426 Jalan Pengkalan Chepa, Kota Bharu, Kelantan. Several guesthouses around Kota Bharu many aimed at backpackers. Note - Very strong Muslim population it is necessary to be respectful and women should dress modestly, also alcohol is difficult to obtain and expensive! Return journey can be booked in travel agency in Kota Bharu or take a taxi back to Sungai Kolok and buy train ticket before boarding (slightly risky as trains may be fully booked, there is accommodation in Sungai Kolok).

I must at this point say that if you are intending to go to Kota Bharu it would be a shame not to visit the nearby Perhentian Islands, cost approx 300 Baht in a taxi from Khota Bharu to Kuala Besut pier. The islands are absolutely gorgeous, beaches are stunning and the crystal clear waters are full of amazing marine life! - Scuba diving is very affordable approx 1400 Baht for 2 boat dives or 400 Baht for a beach dive. I recommend staying at D’Lagoon on Kecil Island it is a secluded bay with fantastic snorkelling / dive opportunities and cheap accommodation - provides a relaxing break for a few days away from Pattaya.

A visa trip can indeed be a good excuse for a short travel break.

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