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Immigration and Visa Laws in Thailand

Jan 22, 2008
According to the Nationality Act, an immigrant is an individual who is not of a Thai nationality. In the Kingdom of Thailand, the laws with regard to the immigration are governed by the Immigration Act of 1979. Additionally, they are managed by the Immigration Bureau of the Royal Thai Police Department, Ministry of Interior.

In other words, the Minister of Interior has the authority to execute this act and he is in charge of appointing officials concerned and fixing the rates as well as other expenses in connection with the immigration. In addition, in order to control the affairs of immigration, an Immigration Commission, controlled by the under secretary, is also set up in the country.

Prominent among the immigration requirements is that any non Thai national who wishes to enter the country is required to receive a proper visa from a Thai Consulate or a Royal Thai Embassy, prior to the arrival to the country.

Bahamas, Belize, Republic of Bolivia, Republic of Chile, Republic of Costa Rica, Republic of Haiti, Jamaica, Republic of Peru, Kingdom of Bhutan, Republic of Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Republic of Maldives, Vatican City and Tuvalu, are among the countries whose nationals are entailed to have a visa on the arrival at Suvarnabhumi Airport (Bangkok), Phuket International Airport, and Hat Yai International Airport. But, the nationals of certain countries that have agreements with the country need not have to obtain a visa to enter Thailand, and stay here for not more than 30 days. However, these people are required to get an entry stamp at the entry's checkpoint. Some of the nations that are included in this category are Algeria, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Hong Kong, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Western Samoa, and Yemen.

However, these lists of countries may be changed by the Immigration Bureau in regular intervals or according to certain circumstances. Likewise, for a longer stay exceeding 30 days, the nationals of all countries are required to have a valid visa. But, there is exception for this for people of such nations as Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, and Sweden. These people can stay here without a visa for a period up to 90 days.

In order to apply for a visa, certain documents must be submitted with the Thai Embassy, such as, passport with validity not less than six months, duly filled visa application form, applicant's recent photograph, plane ticket, and proof of sufficient finance. Depending upon the different categories of people, Thai government issues different types of visas such as Transit Visa, tourist visa, non-immigrant visa, diplomatic visa, official visa, immigrant visa, and non quota immigrant visa.

Transit visa is mostly issued to a person who wishes to enter the country for purposes like to tour in transit via the country to enter his own country or a person who want to take part in sports activities. In order to apply for this type of visa, certain additional documents are required such as letter of invitation to take part in sports and visa of a third country.

In the case of tourist visa, it is issued to people who want to enter the country for tourism related purposes. As per the Interior Ministerial Announcements, nationals from 38 countries needn't have to obtain a visa to enter the country and stay here for a period not exceeding 30 days. Non-immigrant visa is for people who want to enter the country for such reasons as to set up and conduct business, perform official tasks, to study or to take part in seminars and projects, and to carry out scientific research works.

When comes to the immigrant visa, it is issued by Thai Embassies and Consulates to foreigners who wish to enter the country and stay here permanently. However, it is mandatory to obtain the consent of the Ministry of Interior. In the case of Non Quota Immigrant Visa, it is issued by the Immigration Bureau in Bangkok to foreigners domiciled in the country as well as with valid documents to re-enter the country. In order to obtain this visa, the applicants are required to relevant documents including the Certificate of Residence with the Immigration Bureau in Bangkok.

There are a plenty of reputable law firms and other related service providers in Thailand to provide the best in Thai immigration services. These service providers undertake a continuum of services in connection with immigration, such as, work permit registrations for foreign workers, visa processing for non-immigrants, resident permits registrations, and consultation services regarding general immigration services.
About the Author
For nearly 30 years, Bamrung Suvicha Apisakdi Law Associates (BSA Law) has focused on providing reliable legal advice and services to the Thai and foreign business community in Thailand. We provide international standards of legal services while retaining the customs of the Thai business culture.
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