Under the immigration laws of Thailand, there are two types of Non-Immigrant Visa issued to foreigners who want to stay in the Kingdom – Non-Immigrant Visa “B”, and Non-Immigrant Visa “O”. For better understanding on how to go about the visa application process, you can consult an immigration lawyer in Phuket for better process guidance.
The following describes each visa class or category:
Non-Immigrant Visa “O”
This type of visa is issued to foreigners seeking to stay in Thailand for a long period of time. Strictly speaking, this Non-Immigrant Visa “O” can be obtained by anyone although the most likely person to obtain this visa class is a spouse of a holder of a Thai Non-Immigrant Business “B” visa. The “O” visa of the spouse will be based upon the other spouse’s “B” visa. With the Visa “O”, the holder may or may not be able to obtain work permit in Thailand. In general, only those in Thailand holding Non-Immigrant Visa “O” based upon marriage to a Thai “B” visa holder will be entitled to obtain a work permit.
How the Visa Works
This Visa “O” is available as a single entry with 90 days validity or a multiple entry with 12 months validity.
- The single entry visa allows the visitor to spend not more than 90 days within Thailand although this can be extended for an additional 30 days by visiting an immigration office.
- The multiple entry visa with 12 months duration allows the person to depart and re-enter Thailand in an unlimited number of times within the one year validity period. Visa holders who leave and re-enter Thailand before the end of the 90 days duration will receive a stamp on their passport allowing them to stay in Thailand for another 90 days. Extension of this 90 day stamp is possible by visiting an immigration office wherein visa will be given a 30 days extension.
- Once the length of stay is up, the visa holder will have to leave Thailand. A common practice though is to cross the border and turn right around and re-enter the country after an hour or two, to receive a fresh 90 days stamp again on the passport.
Non-Immigrant Visa “B” (for business and work)
This visa is issued to foreigners who wish to work or conduct business in Thailand. Foreigners who undertake investment activities in the Kingdom will be issued a Non-Immigrant Visa “B”. Under this Visa class, other categories of Non-Immigrant Visa B are provided to meet the needs and qualifications of individual business persons – Business Visa category B; Business-Approved Visa Category B-A and Investment and Business Visa Category 1B. Visa holders of this category must be granted work permit before starting work. It is available as single entry with 90 days duration and multiple entry with 12 months duration.
A Non-Immigrant Visa ‘B’ works in exactly the same way (in terms of leaving and reentering Thailand every 90 days, up to the 12 months visa validity period) as Non-Immigrant Visa ‘O’ with one exception. The Visa “B” can be a business visa or work visa, which is a prerequisite to obtaining a work permit in Thailand.
To know more about the process of employment in Thailand for foreigners, please see this post.