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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawThailand Immigration LawComparing Thai Re-Entry Permits with Certificates of Entry (COE)

Comparing Thai Re-Entry Permits with Certificates of Entry (COE)

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing re-entry permits and Certificates of Entry and these are two different things. I know that this can be probably very frustrating for folks but let's start. 

What is a re-entry permit? Well those who are in Thailand, let's say for example someone enters Thailand on a B Visa, a 90-day B Visa. They get their Work Permit and then they get a visa extension; so they get an extension of status within the Kingdom. That is generally issued for a 12-month period. Now that extension stamp in and of itself it simply provides status of stay in the Kingdom. If one was to leave without obtaining a re-entry permit that status is extinguished at the point of departure and in order to forestall that, that individual needs to obtain a re-entry permit in order to be able to come back into Thailand and take back up that extension status. So that is a re-entry permit. 

What is a Certificate of Entry? A Certificate of Entry, these were promulgated back in March of 2020 after the Emergency Decree came into effect in the response to COVID-19. Long story short, a Certificate of Entry is issued generally either simultaneously with a Visa or it is issued at the behest of an applicant who already has a valid visa to Thailand but they need to enter Thailand. It is basically an extra check, an extra protocol wherein the Embassy issuing the Certificate of Entry first has to check with Ministry of Foreign Affairs here in Bangkok to get the okay to issue that person a Certificate of Entry and then turn around and allow that person to actually physically come to Thailand. We have made videos on this channel about Certificates of Entry directly and as noted in one video particularly, where we actually show an example Certificate of Entry, they are issued with one-day validity so it is like hitting a bull's eye. You have to deal with your travel arrangements so as you arrive on that exact day or you can really run into problems logistically being able to enter Thailand. 

Let's understand, these are not the same thing and a lot of people get these conflated. A re-entry permit merely, under current circumstances I hesitate to use the word merely and believe me I understand the frustration with this. This is like one piece of bureaucracy accreted on top of another piece of bureaucracy. It is like the re-entry permit is a bureaucratic invention on top of the Extension Stamp. If the Extension Stamp is the ice cream, then the re-entry permit is the whipped cream and now we have got the Certificate of Entry as the cherry on top of this whole Sundae if you will. 

Long story short, they are not the same. They are not the same document. One needs a Certificate of Entry if they are leaving Thailand and wish to maintain the current status they have in Thailand. Then once they are trying to come back, at least as long as the current regime is in place, and we are certainly hoping this ends sooner rather than later but as long as this is the current situation, this is what we have to deal with, if that individual wants to come back to Thailand notwithstanding the fact they have a re-entry permit they also need to get a Certificate of Entry in order to return.

So they are two different documents. They have two different functions. For those who are wishing to maintain their long-term status in Thailand, you need to be aware of how these two documents operate and be able to deal with both of them notwithstanding the fact that it is kind of a bureaucratic headache.