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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawThailand Immigration LawThings to consider before traveling to Thailand

Things to consider before traveling to Thailand

Thailand is one beautiful country that boasts of wonderful attractions and a rich culture. Add to this the warm weather, low cost of living, great food and world-class medical care and spas. With all these taken into consideration, it's easy to fall in love with this destination and be enticed to stay longer than usual.

If you plan to stay long term in Thailand, you need to follow Thai immigration laws. A primary requirement is that a visa be issued by a Thai embassy or a consulate outside of Thailand. A tourist visa is normally good for 60 days (with the option of a 30 day extension) while a non-immigrant visa is good for 90 days. Recently, a new 6 month multiple entry tourist visa has been added as an option for travelers.

Another option is to secure a temporary stay or a 30-day stamp covered under the Visa Exemption Rule. This will allow citizens of certain countries to stay in Thailand for up to 30 days for every visit. It applies to citizens of the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and most European nations, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Israel and many Gulf States.

Although for most people a visa or exemption stamp can be obtained at the country's airport or land borders, immigration officials say it is best to get your visa before going to Thailand. At the airport, a 30-day entry stamp can be given while the entry stamp at land borders is shorter at only 15 days.

How to Extend Your Stay

Who would not want to stay longer in beautiful Thailand? You can always do that but only if you have the proper documents. In the event that you find yourself in this situation, you may request for an extension of your stay. As previously mentioned, a short-term extension for a tourist visa or non-immigrant visa can be granted for up to 30 days.

If you plan to extend for a year, your reason should be valid and will be scrutinized by immigration officials. Thai immigration allows this longer stay only for purposes of doing business, pursuing an education, remaining with a Thai spouse/child, or for retirement. For holders of tourist visas, take note that you need to convert your status first into a non-immigrant.

Foreigners intending to invest in the country and open a business are required to secure a non-immigrant visa B before arrival. The three-year visa is recommended as it allows multiple entries up to a maximum of 90 days within a six-month period. Three year visas are not routinely granted by Thai Embassies and Consulates abroad, but it may be possible to secure a 1 year visa.

Meanwhile, those aged 50 years and older can enjoy an extended stay in Thailand by applying for a non-immigrant retirement visa. With this visa, you can live in the country for up to one year so long as you meet the eligibility requirements.