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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawThailand Immigration LawWhy Is It So Difficult to Convert from One Thai Visa Category to Another?

Why Is It So Difficult to Convert from One Thai Visa Category to Another?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing conversion from one Non-immigrant category to another. 

Some folks have asked me "Why does Thai Immigration "make it hard" to convert from one Non-immigrant category to another?" Well to answer a question with a question, "Why would you think that would be easy?" is my answer in a sense and I think that that is Thai Immigration’s paradigm with this. Let me explain why. I am not trying to be sarcastic or I am not trying to be blunt but you have to think about it from the perspective of the law and the regulations. Non-immigrant Visa categories are exactly what their name implies. They are Non-immigrant. It is presumed you are not in Thailand on a permanent basis and the category that you are in Thailand on is presumed you are only here for that specified purpose.

So again, things have been warped somewhat in the response to COVID and how Immigration deals with things but long story short, under normal for lack of a better term, circumstances, the presumption is folks over here on a non-immigrant visa, they are not here for permanently, nor do they intend to be here permanently, nor should they intend to be here permanently because that is not what the Visa is for. They are supposed to be here for the specific purpose of their visa. This is where we get into the issue of categorical conversions. Converting from for example an Education Visa to a Business Visa or converting from a Retirement Visa to a Business Visa or vice versa or a Marriage Visa if one circumstances change, over to another category. Again it is going to be very factually dependent but long story short, the overarching paradigm, the overarching policy is that folks who are changing from one category of Non-immigrant status to another, need to leave the country because they are by definition non-immigrants. That is where this comes from. That is where this presumption lies and I don't think people really fully understand that. It is a Non-immigrant Visa. 

Now again during this COVID situation, they have had more powers to be a little bit more yielding if you will in terms of working with folks to try and deal with the situation as it arises but again categorical conversion is difficult in the best of times and for purposes of converting, these are better times than most and even still we found situations where it is basically impossible to affect a conversion from one category to another because the presumption is they are Non-immigrants, that they are not here to stay but instead if their circumstances change and they need another category they need to leave, use an Embassy abroad or Consulate, come back in in another Non-immigrant Visa category.