Ten commonly asked visa questions

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Ten commonly asked visa questions

Barry Kenyon

 

  1. Is there a limit on the number of times I can obtain a 30 day stamp on arrival at the airport?

Not any longer. A former rule about a limit of three times in six months was cancelled some years ago.

 

  1. Does everyone without a visa receive 15 days at a land border?

There are exceptions. Russians receive 30 days (unlike UK, US, Australians etc) as do Malaysians entering Thailand through their own border post. Citizens of South Korea and a handful of Latin American countries automatically receive 90 days whether they arrive by land or air.

 

  1. Why is there so much more documentation needed for a marriage visa than for a retirement visa?

Basically, because so many marriages break up. So the substantial documentation is needed every year to try and check if the couple is still together.

 

  1. As regards the retirement visa, can the 800,000 baht be held in a foreign currency?

As long as the cash is in a Thai bank most foreign currencies are OK. Remember that the money must have been there for three months (two months in the first year) before making the application.

 

  1. Can a gay civil partnership or gay marriage be used as the basis of a long stay visa for the foreigner?

Not currently as these arrangements are not recognized under Thai law. In the recent Bangkok governor polls, both major candidates promised to look sympathetically at gay rights so the issue is slowly being recognized.

 

  1. What documents are needed for a foreigner with a Thai spouse to obtain a 60 day extension?

It’s an alternative to a one year visa for the foreigner who often leaves Thailand. Documents required are passport, wife’s ID or passport, clear proof of residence in local area (house registration for example) and completed TM7 form with one passport photo. The wife needs to accompany the applicant.


 

  1. I have heard about a three year visa being given in some Thai embassies, true or false?

It is a restricted visa for foreign businessmen who frequently visit Thailand and is a multiple entry non-immigrant “B”. To obtain one, you will likely need a sponsorship letter from the Board of Investment or similar and must apply in your own country.


 

  1. Is there a limit on how many days overstay I can have before being jailed?

The legislation states that overstay costs 500 baht a day up to a maximum of 20,000 baht. There is no automatic trigger for arrests even if the overstay is two months or more. The most common reason for arrest is that overstaying foreigners cannot pay the fine.


 

  1. Do I need a letter from the hospital if I am seeking a sick extension?

Yes. The letter should in Thai and should state the nature of the illness, the treatment being given and the suggested length of the extension. The letter also needs to state that the applicant is too ill to travel outside the country by air or land.


 

  1. Do I need a work permit to do voluntary work?

No easy answer although the alien labor act excludes paid or unpaid work. It depends on what you are doing. If you are assisting the authorities (eg translator in the court, volunteer police, some kinds of charity work) you will not have a problem. If you are teaching kids English in your building or painting your neighbor’s house or regularly playing the piano in your local pub, then beware.