The rules and regulation regarding Thai visa obtainment can be changing and therefore misunderstood. The reason for this complexity is due to the fact that the rules have been constantly in a state of flux for years.
The first aspect of Thai Immigration procedure that throws many people off is the fact that there seem to be competing rules and regulations that are in operation contemporaneously. This is due to the fact that two government agencies have been deputized with the authority to monitor immigration into the Kingdom of Thailand. The Thailand Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the Ministry that supervises the adjudication of Thai visas and immigration documents at Thai consular postings in other countries.
The section of the Thai Police Department known as the Royal Thai Immigration Police is a special branch which operates semi-independently of the regular police department. This agency has a mandate to supervise the entrance and exit of Immigrants, non-immigrants, and Permanent residents in Thailand.
Each of these government organs has different systems for ascertaining a foreign national’s visa category. The diplomatic and consular posts under the supervision of the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs have a great deal of discretion to decide if a foreigner ought be granted a visa. Further, these posts are only permitted to issue visas for a limited period of validity (usually one year is the maximum that these posts may issue visas for).
Now Thailand is facing a recurring problem : foreign travelers, who live almost permanently on Thai territory with tourist visas, renewed indefinitely with the so called “visa runs”. New measures are being implemented to fight this situation, less tolerated by the immigration service
First of all it is important not to confuse “tourist visa” and “visa waiver”. The confusion is common among travelers who come to spend holidays in Thailand: the stamp on your passport on arrival at the airport is not a visa, but a visa waiver, which is strictly limited to 30 days. Members of the European Community, entering Thailand for tourist reasons, are exempt from entry visa: it is the “transit without visa”, a formality for free, but limited in time. On the contrary, a Tourist Visa MUST be obtained from a Thai consulate abroad, before entering Thailand. Tourist Visa is valid for 60 days and may be extended to an additional 30 days.
Now this kind of Visa is also under pressure by Thai immigration if you intend to use repeatedly. In a crackdown on the 60-days tourist visas, several Royal Thai Embassies and Consulates has announced increased screening of tourist visa applicants.
The joint announcement reads:
“As there has been a number of visa applicants having entered Thailand via tourist visa and misused it to illegally seek employment during their stay and, upon its expiry, sought to re-apply their tourist visas at the Royal Thai Embassy or the Royal Thai Consulate in neighboring countries, requests for visa renewal by such applicants are subject to rejection as their applications are not based on tourism motive, but to continue their illegal employment, which is unlawful.
This is in accordance with the Immigration Act, B.B. 2552 which stipulates that visa applicants are required to clearly express their real purpose of visiting Thailand. Should the case be found that the applicant’s real intention were concealed, the application will be rejected.
Please be informed that the intention of applicants to repeatedly depart and re-enter Thailand via tourist visa issued by the Royal Thai Embassy or the Royal Thai Consulate in neighboring countries in recent years upon its expiry, is considered as concealment of real purpose of visiting Thailand. Thus their visas applications will be rejected.”
Foreigners living in Thailand are advised to obtain a Non-Immigrant visa, which can be extended up to one year by the Thai Immigration Bureau.
Since 25 November 2008, the Immigration Bureau has implemented several modifications in its visa application and renewal rules, which has offered more flexibility but still remains meanwhile confusing for the foreign citizens in their actual rights and obligation for a legitimate residency in Thailand.
We have therefore summarized the requirements of what we emphasize as the 8 visa categories most commonly used by foreigners during their stay in Thailand:
Transit visa is automatically granted for a period of 30 days (exception of 90 days for citizens from Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Chile and South Korea) to foreigners from countries that have signed a bilateral Treaty on visa exemption with Thailand (currently 39 countries) upon arrival into the Kingdom. The recent amendment has cancelled the rule of maximum stay duration of 90 days within a total period of 6 months, whereas entering into Kingdom through the border of neighboring countries will be now granted of only 15 days per visit.
A visa can be granted for working purpose for a renewable period of 1 year provided that the foreign applicant is
1) holding a Non-immigrant B visa and a work permit;
2) employed by a company with a registered capital fully paid-up of not less than 2 million Baht;
3) employed by a company that has submitted its financial statements at the end of its last fiscal year duly certified by an auditor showing a sound financial situation;
4) employed by a company that has a minimum quota of 4 Thai employees per foreign employee (exception of 1 Thai employee per foreign employee for representative offices, regional offices and trading branches).
The applicant must also receive a consistent income, which may vary depending on its nationality (from 25,000 Baht per month for Burmese or Vietnamese to 50,000 Baht per month for Japanese or Australian).
Read the rest here :
Immigration Update on Visas application in Thailand