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Visas and Registration in Thailand

Do you plan on moving to Thailand as an expat? Be aware that it takes more than a holiday mood, with dreams of white beaches and turquoise seas, to relocate. InterNations informs you about the various aspects of moving to Thailand, from safety advice over popular destinations to visa types.
Sort out your visa for Thailand and move to places like Koh Phi Phi Ley!

Before you come to Thailand, please make sure to contact the nearest Thai Embassy or Consulate to enquire which visa regulations apply in your case. If you are simply a private traveler, a tourist visa should suffice.

Are You Coming as a Tourist?

There are over 50 countries whose residents do not need to apply for a tourist visa. However, if you do not fall under the Visa Exemption Category, you always need to acquire a visa before coming to Thailand.

Passport holders from a further 19 countries may get a visa on arrival for short-term vacations. Everyone else just has to apply for a regular tourist visa. It usually allows you to stay in Thailand for up to 60 days.

Here’s How to Apply for Your Thai Tourist Visa

In order to obtain a tourist visa, you need the following documents:

  • a valid passport
  • a completed application form
  • recent passport-sized photographs
  • a round-trip ticket
  • proof of sufficient financial funds

In some cases, you may need to bring additional documents. Medical tourists, for instance, often have to enclose a letter from the hospital in Thailand where they are going to receive treatment.

Please do keep in mind that a tourist visa is valid for tourism purposes only. If you go to Thailand for different reasons, the so-called non-immigrant visa will apply to you.

Non-Immigrant Visas: Which Visa Type Is Right for You?

Non-immigrant visas for Thailand cover different categories including:

  • F (official duties)
  • B (business and work)
  • ED (education)
  • EX (experts and specialists)
  • IB/IM (investors)
  • M (media, film producers, and journalists)
  • O (family visitors, NGO volunteers, etc.)
  • R (religious activities)
  • RS (researchers and scientists)
  • O-A (retirees)

You are required to provide the following documents:

  • a valid passport
  • a completed application form
  • two recent passport-sized photographs
  • a recent bank statement
  • others, according to your specific category and situation (e.g. a letter of acceptance from a Thai university for a student visa).

Cutting through the Red Tape before Getting a Business Visa

Foreigners coming to Thailand on a B visa to do business with a Thai company normally need the following, though requirements may obviously vary:

  • a letter from your company, describing your position and stating the purpose of your trip
  • a document from a government agency or embassy certifying the purpose of travel
  • an employment contract indicating the salary and qualifications of the applicant
  • a letter of invitation from a Thai company or business association
  • correspondence with business partners in Thailand
  • the corporate paperwork of said Thai company (business registration, business license, shareholder list, company profile, details of business activity, VAT registration, tax balance sheet, and location map)

…And the Same Goes for Your Thai Work Visa

A B-visa national who will be taking up gainful employment in Thailand needs a slightly different array of paperwork:

  • a letter of approval from the Ministry of Labor (obtained by the Thai employer from the Office of Foreign Workers Administration)
  • a letter of invitation from a Thai company allowed to employ foreigners
  • employment contract
  • CV, educational records, and references from previous employers
  • the corporate paperwork of their employer in Thailand (business registration, business license, shareholder list, company profile, details of business activity, list of foreign staff, location map, tax balance sheet, alien income tax return, and VAT registration)

Please note that there are different regulations for each visa category and that requirements can change according to your nationality, the country you are applying from, and the purpose of your stay. For further details, please always contact the Thai Embassy or Consulate.

Most non-immigrant visas are initially valid for 90 days. Then you have to apply for temporary work permit at the Department of Employment or the local Employment Office. You also need an extension of stay from the Office of Immigration Bureau or one of its local branches.

In most cases, the visa is then valid for up to one year, but can be renewed. To apply for an extension or renewal of your visa, please get in touch with:

Immigration Division

Government Center B

Chaengwattana Soi 7


Bangkok 10210

+66 (0)-2141-9889

To take care of visa and work permit issues in one go, please contact:

One-Stop Service Center

Chamchuri Square Tower, 18th floor

315, Phayathai Road


Bangkok 10330

+66 (0)2-2091100

Alien Registration

Do not forget to fill out your arrival and departure card on the plane before queuing at the airport immigration desk. It should be kept in your passport all the time, as your hotel staff or landlord might want to see it. They are obligated to notify the local police within 24 hours if you move out and your address in Thailand changes.

At hotels, pensions, and hostels, this notification happens automatically. However, when you rent an apartment, make sure to ask your landlord to take care of it. Moreover, if you are planning to stay longer than 90 days, you will have to undergo a separate process of alien registration with the Office of Immigration Bureau within a week and re-register every three months (90 days).


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

If there’s something you’re still not sure about, check out the InterNations Forum.

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