Foreigners come to Thailand for various reasons. Some are here to conduct short term business while others to simply enjoy the amazing wonders of the Land of Smiles. Unfortunately, the validity of the Thai visa intended for these purposes are limited to the usual 90-day duration often in the form of a 60-day tourist visa plus a 30-day extension. Those who want to stay longer are forced to do the border run which is done every 15 days for a maximum period of three years or leave the country and come back by plane giving them another 30 day visa stamp at airport immigration. However these alternatives are rather inconvenient and expensive.
Well, in fact, some nationalities like Europeans (mostly nationals of the European Union members), Americans, Australians and Canadians can actually avail a One year multiple entry visa to Thailand in the form of a Non Immigrant B visa that they maybe be able to come and stay in Thailand for a year. This One year Thai visa can be applied in person or by mail at the Thai consulates or Thai embassies abroad such as those found in the UK which accept and process visa application from UK citizens and permanent residents and EU nationals. There are also some Thai embassies in Australia which process this visa and their procedures are rather simple and straightforward. The ones in North America and Canada are also very efficient and attend to visa applications promptly. Only citizens of these countries and permanent residents can apply for the one year multiple entry Thai visa whether by mail or in person.
The basic requirements for the application are as follows:
1. You need to be holding citizenship of any of the above mentioned countries. Permanent resident status holders in the US are allowed to apply provided that they can show their Green card when applying. They also have to meet the other requirements of the consulate. Some EU countries which are not allowed to directly apply from the Thai consulate in the UK by mail needs to show a valid address in the UK where the result of the visa application will be sent to. Otherwise they can just go directly to the consulate and apply there in person. At the Thai consulates in Australia, all citizens of the countries mentioned above are allowed to apply whether by post or in person. Though, the visa applicant needs to be physically present in the country where the visa application is being processed.
2. Passport with remaining one year validity.
3. The Thai embassy and consulates in the US require bank account with a minimum of 500 USD deposit while the ones in the UK and AUS require copies of itinerary or airfare ticket.
4. Thai company supporting documents. The Thai company which will be organizing your visa shall inform the consulate about your visa application and shall provide you with the necessary documents to prove that the company is licensed and duly registered in accordance with Thai business law.
5. Visa application form. All necessary information required needs to be provided in the form. Don’t forget to affix your signature and the required photo.
If you enlist the services of a Thai company to assist you with the visa application, the company would likely request your basic information and copy of your passport and then they will prepare your visa application papers. They will just send the papers to you via courier. You in turn have the choice to bring it to the consulate in person or send it there through mail. If you intend to do it by mail, make sure to use a registered mail service so that you may be able to track down the whereabouts of your visa application. The normal processing time when done by mail is 5 business days and when the application is tendered in person it may take a day or two only. Of course you have to anticipate mailing delays and other factors so ideally the visa application should be done the soonest possible time once you have determined your departure date to Thailand.
Apart from the service fee which you have to pay for the company who will be organizing your visa, you have to anticipate consular fee in the amount of 175 USD if you will be applying your visa in the US and 100 Sterling Pounds if you are doing your application in the UK. This consular fee can be paid via the consulates’ payment forms that come with your visa application packet.
Advantages of the One Year Multiple Entry Thai Visa
Among the obvious merits of having a one year multiple entry visa is your ability to stay in Thailand for one year except that you are required to exit to the nearest border every 90 days to update your visa stamp. You don’t have to pay anything at the immigration border to do this. You just have to shoulder your transportation fee. If you are coming from Bangkok, the visa run can be accomplished in 8 hours as the nearest border is 4 hours away from the metropolis. Also, there are a lot of visa agencies to bring you to the border for a very reasonable fee.
The One year visa also allows you to work provided that you can secure a corresponding work permit to go with your Non B visa. It will also improve your chances of getting employed as employers can readily employ you with your visa. They only need to obtain the necessary work permit for you.
On another note, this visa type is not renewable. You need to go back home and apply for another one if you wish to stay further in Thailand. This visa can also be switched into long term visas such as retirement visa, marriage visa and business visa as long as you have the necessary qualifications.