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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawThailand Immigration LawCertificates of Entry to Thailand Versus Re-Entry Permits

Certificates of Entry to Thailand Versus Re-Entry Permits

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing Certificates of Entry to Thailand as well as Re-Entry Permits.

This is one of those videos where I do a bit of comparing and contrasting two different documents and two different concepts for that matter.

So first of all, the thing to understand is the Certificate of Entry is a very new invention in terms of Thai Immigration. This document was essentially created ad hoc as far as I can tell back in March of 2020 as a response to this perceived threat from COVID and the shutdowns associated therewith. There were a lot of protocols that very quickly came online and the Certificate of Entry was one of them. To be clear, a Certificate of Entry to Thailand is even required for those who have Thai nationality; a Thai passport does not exempt one from needing a Certificate of Entry to travel into the Kingdom of Thailand. These are issued abroad by Thai Embassies and Consulates.  They are generally issued at the behest of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Currently you have to be using or seeking one of the approved Visa categories so generally speaking for most of the audience on this channel, this will pertain to those who are seeking or have a Business Visa with work authorization or Thai family based visas for those married to Thais or who have Thai children or parents. Then there are also and this is only recently coming online and it is still a little bit opaque as to how exactly this is all working but things like certain Retirement Visas as well as certain things like special arranged APEC cards, Elite Cards etc., those type of folks may be able to come into Thailand as well but all of them have to seek a Certificate of Entry. 


Now a recent question popped up with respect to the prospect of a Thai O Retirement Visa.  I want to be clear that is a different thing from an O–A Visa. O-As are explicitly now apparently permitted to seek entry to Thailand. However the regulations that we have read and that have been announced we have yet to see whether or not O Retirement Visa holders are explicitly going to be allowed entry to Thailand. A question popped up in this context. I am not going to get into a great deal of comparison back and forth between O-A and O status, there are other videos on this channel that do get into that. I urge you to go to the search function search O or O-A visa and you will find a lot of that discussion. Long story short, I have had people ask me "I have a visa. It has got a re-entry permit in it. Doesn't that allow me to re-enter Thailand?" and presumably it would but we are currently under special circumstances. There is an emergency decree in effect that is having a situation where it is superseding the normal legal framework that we are used to dealing with here and these Certificates of Entry are operating I would say concurrently and simultaneously with standard regulation. So while yes you would need a re-entry permit on an extension of stay in order to seek re-admission because that keeps your Visa status valid while you are abroad, you also under current circumstances need a Certificate of Entry as well. You still have to go through the Embassy to get that document and if your travel Document, your Visa is not one of the categories that is currently approved, notwithstanding the fact that you do have a re-entry permit you may not be able to get a Certificate of Entry to enter Thailand.

That being said, I do totally understand this is quite confusing and the situation is rather Byzantine. We are dealing with a lot of evolving circumstances as things are progressing. For those who feel a bit overwhelmed, it may be a good idea to contact a legal professional in order to gain some insight and guidance in to how best to proceed.