If you want to spend time in Thailand, deciding on the type of visa that you will need is essential. There may be some surprises in the information here, so let’s dig in to get you on the right track, too.
Thailand: 30 Day Visa Exempt
Being an American citizen means you can visit Thailand for less than 30 days with no visa. This is a great way to have a holiday and really experience what the country offers. Just rock up with your valid passport and smile at the immigration officers.
If you are lucky enough to have more time, you can extend this from within Thailand. Normally this can be done for another 30 days but because of the changing landscape regarding visas, it is best to check with a visa agent who can organize it for you for a small fee. The process is simple and requires a photo, a form to be filled out, and your passport.
Thailand: 60 Day Tourist Visa
You can apply for a visa in your home country, and the best way to find out how to apply is through your closest Thai Embassy or Thai Consulate. Try this link here to find the nearest where you are. Decide whether you will need a single or a multiple entry visa. If you plan to use Thailand as a base to hop to other countries, you will need to pay more and get a multiple entry visa. Although it will be necessary to check how COVID-19 has affected surrounding country visa laws.
You need proof of funds to enter the country on this visa, so you must have at least 20,000 Baht in your wallet to enter. This equates to around $700 USD.
Thailand: Work/Volunteer Visas
It is extremely important to know that jobs for Thai nationals are protected and there are very few jobs that foreigners are legally allowed to do in Thailand. Teaching English or teaching in an International School is one form of employment that is acceptable. Click here if you want to investigate what type of work is prohibited.
Most internet research will tell you that you must have a successful job application before you arrive. But it is also possible to come over on a tourist visa, apply for jobs and then change your visa. It is the same for volunteer positions; you can make an agreement with the charity of NGO and organize the visa before you come, or come over on a tourist visa and just see how you go.
There are no actual visas called ‘work visas’ and ‘volunteer’s Visas’ but they fall under the ‘Non-immigrant Visa’ category. You can find out more if you click here.
Thailand: Retirement Visas
It is possible to obtain a visa that is perfectly suited to retired people and it is known as a ‘Non-immigrant Visa’ for retirement. There are some financial conditions for the successful applicant. You will need 800 000 Thai baht (approximately $27, 000) in a Thai bank account, or show proof that your income is at least 65 000 (approximately $2,170) Thai baht per month.
For a step-by-step guide on this process, click here.
A yearly ‘Extension of Stay’ application will allow another year, and this is how many expats stay in Thailand longer term.
Thailand: Visa Essentials Summary
It is illegal to work in Thailand on any visa apart from the Business Visa and the Non-immigrant’s work Visa. This means that digital nomads that are on extended visas and are working are breaking the law. The Thai government is not going to great lengths to regulate this at the moment, but they have canceled visas of people who have been caught working without a proper visa.
- Due to COVID-19, people entering Thailand also need a ‘Fit to Fly’ certificate from a doctor and a ‘Certificate of Entry’. For most up-to-date information, click here. The quarantine requirements are also changing, so check before you fly.
- Whatever Visa you choose, make sure you consider whether you need a single or a multiple-entry visa. It can save you hours waiting in lines at immigration.
- Because of COVID-19 protocols, all people entering Thailand need to prove that they have purchased travel/health insurance that will cover up to $100, 000 USD.
If you have Thailand-specific questions, please let me know. I am happy to help.
by: Rachel Devlin