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Thai visa guide 2021: Types and requirements

There are a number of reasons why you’d make Thailand home: a study abroad program, a full-time job, retirement purposes, or even personal ones like being closer to family. What’s more, the warm and tropical weather, hot and spicy flavors, as well as friendly and welcoming locals are definitely strong pull factors!

But whatever your reason for relocating to the Land of Smiles, you’ll have to figure out the bureaucracy that is visas. As it can be very confusing and frustrating, Pacific Prime Thailand has compiled a Thai visa guide for you, telling you everything you need to know about the types of visas and the requirements to apply.

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A word about visas

If you’ve been to Thailand as a tourist before, chances are you’ve not had to get a visa, as citizens of these countries can benefit from a visa exemption/waiver. This gives you 30 days in the country, with the option to extend your stay once in the country. However, this is only for tourism purposes, which means you’ll still need a visa to study, work, retire, or live in the country long-term.

Note: Even though some digital nomads do ‘visa runs’ or exit the country and re-enter to get additional days of stay, this is not recommended. To top it off, it’s also impractical due to COVID-19 quarantine requirements.

Visa types and requirements

So, now that you need to get a visa, what are the available visas? Some visas require you to apply at your local Thai embassy/consulate before traveling to Thailand, while others can be applied for, switched to, and extended from within the country. This section provides an overview of the different types of visas and requirements.

While it isn’t possible to answer the question ‘how much does a Thai visa cost?’ (or give exact requirements), as this will depend on the country you’re applying from, here’s a visa fees list by the Royal Thai Embassy in London to give you a rough guide. For the most accurate information, please check with your nearest Thai diplomatic mission.

Transit

A transit visa is applicable for those traveling to Thailand to engage in sports and for those who are part of the official support team of the sportsperson. The single-entry visa has a 3-month validity from the issue date and allows the visa holder to stay in Thailand for up to 30 days or 90 days, depending on the visa type.

To apply for the visa, you’ll need:

  • Passport/travel document with at least 6 months validity
  • Completed visa application form
  • Evidence of flights into and out of Thailand
  • Evidence of adequate financial support
  • Letter of invitation stating the applicant’s participation in sports activities in the Kingdom

Tourist

If you’d like to spend more time visiting Thailand than what arriving without a visa would allow, then you should opt for a tourist visa. A single entry-visa has a 3-month validity, while a multiple-entry visa has a 6-month validity from the date of issue. Both give 60 days stay in the country, with the option to extend it once in the country.

To apply for the visa, you’ll need:

  • Passport/travel document with at least 6 months validity
  • Completed visa application form
  • Evidence of flights into and out of Thailand, and arrangements for accommodation
  • Evidence of adequate financial support

Non-immigrant visas

Long stays will require a non-immigrant visa. While it is generally possible to get a one-year non-immigrant visa in Thailand, the validity period can vary depending on the circumstances, applicant, and category of non-immigrant visa. What’s more, visa holders may be required to check in with Thai immigration every 90 days throughout their stay in the country.

Non-immigrant O Visa

Can I live in Thailand if I marry a Thai? Fortunately, the answer is yes. This non-immigrant O Visa covers many purposes: to visit family or friends, to take up a voluntary job, to retire, to access long-term medical treatment, to attend a judicial process, or to work as a diplomat’s housekeeper. As such, the documents will vary depending on the purpose of stay.

Non-immigrant O-A Visa

Retirement visas in Thailand for those aged 50 and above are known as the non-immigrant O-A visa.

Applicants show the following documents:

  • Passport/travel document with at least 6 months validity
  • Completed visa application form
  • Medical certificate showing no prohibitive diseases such as Leprosy, Tuberculosis, Elephantiasis, drug addiction, or third stage of Syphilis.
  • Criminal record clearance
  • Evidence of adequate financial support, either:

→ Monthly income of at least THB ฿65,000

→ Current balance of at least THB ฿800,000, which has been in the bank account for a minimum of 1 month

  • Health insurance, covering:

→ Outpatient coverage of at least THB ฿40,000

→ Inpatient coverage of at least THB ฿400,000

Note: Accompanying spouses of foreign retirees can also apply, but they will be issued a non-immigrant O visa instead of a non-immigrant O-A visa.

Non-immigrant O-X Visa

10-year retirement visas in Thailand for those aged 50 and above are known as non-immigrant O-X visas, and differ from non-immigrant O-A visas in terms of the length of stay, among other differences.

Applicants must also come from an approved country, and show the following documents:

  • Passport/travel document with at least 1-year validity
  • Completed visa application form
  • Medical certificate showing no prohibitive diseases such as Leprosy, Tuberculosis, Elephantiasis, drug addiction, or third stage of Syphilis
  • Criminal record clearance
  • Evidence of adequate financial support, either:

→ Fixed deposit of at least THB ฿3 million

→ Fixed deposit of at least THB ฿1.8 million AND certificate of an annual income of at least THB ฿1.2 million. Once the applicants enter Thailand, they must have at least THB ฿3 million in their bank account within 1 year.

  • Health insurance, covering:

→ Outpatient coverage of at least THB ฿40,000

→ Inpatient coverage of at least THB ฿400,000

Note: Accompanying spouses and children (below 20 years old) of foreign retirees can also apply for the non-immigrant O-X visa.

Other types of non-immigrant visas

There are also other types of non-immigrant visas as outlined below.

  • F (Official)
  • B (Business)
  • IB (Investment with Bureau of Investment)
  • ED (Education)
  • M (Mass Media)
  • R (Religion)
  • EX (Expert)
  • RS (Research)

Secure health insurance for Thai visa purposes via Pacific Prime Thailand

Whether you’re looking for health insurance for Thai visa purposes, for your own peace of mind, or both, Pacific Prime Thailand can help! With over two decades of experience in the health insurance sector, we’ve helped scores of foreigners and expats navigate Thailand visa policy and health insurance requirements, as well as advise them on healthcare and health insurance matters

Check out our handy article elaborating on the mandatory health insurance for retirees in Thailand. For more general information on healthcare and health insurance, check out our Public vs Private Healthcare in Bangkok guide and our 2019-2020 State of Health Insurance report. If you’re ready to secure insurance or would simply like to learn more, you’re more than welcome to reach out to us.

We offer vetted plans from top insurers in the region including health insurance for expats, retirees, and long-stay visitors, as well as short-term and COVID-19 insurance. Our highly-trained advisors will give you impartial consultation, a tailored plan comparison, and help you select an appropriate plan for your needs and budgets. To top it off, you’ll also get a whole host of support services at no additional charges versus going directly to the insurer.

Contact us to learn more!

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Suphanida

Content Creator at Pacific Prime Thailand
Suphanida aims to demystify the world of insurance by creating informative and engaging content. As a wordsmith, she spends the majority of her day writing and editing website content, blog posts, in-depth guides, and more.

Outside of work, Suphanida enjoys traveling to new places and immersing herself in different cultures.
Suphanida