Types of Non-Immigrant Visas in Thailand


It’s important to know what kind of visas or documentation the government of Thailand requires its visitors to apply for or acquire before the non-immigrant travel to the Kingdom. These are mostly lumped into two groups.

The first group is the immigrant visa, which is required for people who plan to stay in Thailand for the long term. If they plan to become citizens of the Kingdom, the immigrant visa is the one to apply for.

The other group is the non-immigrant visa. These are for people who only plan to visit Thailand for a limited number of days. Although some non-immigrant visas are issued for the long term, the intention is still not a permanent stay in the beautiful country that is the Kingdom of Thailand.

There are a number of non-immigrant visas that one can apply for if they’re planning to come to the Kingdom. Let’s discuss each one and the specific purposes for which they are applicable.

Transit Visa

The transit visa is required for people who are coming into Thailand for purposes that are neither leisure nor business. There are actually a myriad of activities that fall under this category. The most common of this is a visit to Thailand to participate in sports events, film festivals, and others.

Despite its name, a transit visa is not a requisite for passengers of a flight who stop by Thailand for a layover as long as the stop does not exceed 12 hours.

Tourist Visa

Perhaps the most commonly known non-immigrant visa issued by the Kingdom, the tourist visa lets people stay in Thailand for a period of at most 2 months after entering the country. A person with a  multiple entry tourist visa can leave Thailand as an exit requirement once that time period is up, and come back later for another 60 days.

Work Visa

The work visa is the most interesting of the three because there are cases where one thinks they are required but they are not, in reality.

Fundamentally, work visas are required when one enters Thailand with the intent of going to work. These include cases where a skilled worker is sponsored by an employer to come to Thailand and carry out his or her employment in the Kingdom.If you plan to apply for work, you could come in on a tourist visa and upgrade it to a work visa once you’ve found work.

When you’re in Thailand for business, however, you don’t necessarily have to apply for a work permit by default. It would depend on the nature of your actual visit to the Kingdom. If you’re coming in for a business meeting with investors or partners, for instance, you’re not required to secure a work permit because you’re only in for a few days.

This exception also includes visits to Thailand for a business seminar, after which you are expected to head straight back home. If there’s no intention of employment in the Kingdom right after the training, then a work visa is not mandatory.

Diplomatic Visa

Last but definitely not the least, the diplomatic visa is exclusive for individuals who enter Thailand on a diplomatic capacity.

The visa is issued for the entourage of visiting heads of state, and for government officials who are in Thailand on official duty for their home governments. Diplomats who enter Thailand using this visa have a maximum of 90 days to conduct their business, after which the visa is considered as valid.

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