Jul
25

Passports and visas

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Passport and Visa information when living in Thailand In order to enter Thailand, you must have a valid passport and an appropriate visa. If you stay past the time allowed on your visa by one or two days, you may simply be fined 800 Baht per day as you leave Thailand. But overstaying your visa is a serious offence, it is better to stay within the limits of your visa. If you are coming for a period of time longer than a brief holiday and expect to leave and re-enter the country before your visa expires, you must obtain a re-entry visa. If you do not obtain a re-entry visa, your existing visa will be invalid upon leaving Thailand. All visas expire on the expiration date of your passport. Apply for a new passport well before your current one expires, in order to re-apply in time for new visas.  Visas valid up to six months are often required when travelling abroad.  When applying for a visa, there is a fee. Take two passport-sized photographs and two signed copies of every relevant page of your passport. These are the papers identifying you and the pages with your most current Thai visa entries. If you are considering a longer stay, it is worthwhile having a large batch of photographs taken at once. There are many photo shops and photocopying shops located along busy streets and in all the large shopping centers. On Arrival Permit If you are ‘in transit’ and have a ticket for your continuing journey, you will be given an entry permit upon arrival in Thailand. This is valid for 15 days, but application to the Immigration Office may gain an extension of a further 7 days. This permit is not issued to all nationalities, but it does include Australia, Japan, USA and most European countries. New Zealand, Scandinavian and South Korean nationals are eligible for a special permit for 90 days, which is extendable for an additional 35 days. A permit valid for 30 days (without a visa) has been extended to citizens of more than 50 countries including Australia, Canada, France, Japan, Malaysia, Oman, South Africa, South Korea, USA, United Kingdom. Check with your embassy if you have any questions. On Arrival Visa If you are ‘in transit’ and not entitled to the above permit, obtain a Visa on Arrival. You will need your passport and transport ticket for the completion of your journey. This 15-day tourist visa can be extended for an additional week for a small fee. Tourist Visa (60 days) Obtain this visa from the Royal Thai Embassy in your own country before departure. Although valid for 90 days – according to the dates stamped on your visa – this tourist visa entitles you to only 60 days in the country. It may be extended for a further 30 days. Extensions are obtained from a Thai Immigration Office. It may be renewed for 60 more days at the Royal Thai Embassy in another country. Cambodia, Singapore and Penang in Malaysia are popular visa renewal spots. Details of ‘visa runs’ may be obtained from travel agents. A limit may be put on the number of renewals allowed. Non-immigrant Visa (90 days) Obtain this from the Royal Thai Embassy in your own country before departure. You must have a valid reason for needing this length of stay. An extension of 30 days may be obtained from a Thai Immigration Office. Non-immigrant Visa (1 year) This is usually only granted when a work-permit has been obtained. In order for the spouse to be granted this visa as well, a marriage certificate must be produced; a photocopy is not acceptable. Sometimes, without apparent reason, this visa is granted only for shorter periods of time but may be extended without leaving the country. Each child with a separate passport needs a visa. There is a new One-Stop Service Centre located in Bangkok. It is specifically designed to reduce the red tape for foreign business people and investors. It can help expedite processing for visas, work permits and re-entry permits. It is advisable to take a Thai representative from your company or a lawyer familiar with the process. See Immigration and City Halls, in this section for location. Retirement Visa (1 year) If you are over 60 and in a financial position to retire, you may be granted this special visa, which after three or more years could lead to permanent residency. If you are considering this, obtain up-to-date information covering your particular circumstances from the Thai Immigration Office. There will be a financial security requirement, possibly a health requirement, proof that you have no police record and possibly a test of basic knowledge of the Thai language. Re-Entry Visa If you are leaving the country temporarily before your visa expires, obtain a re-entry visa from the Thai Immigration Office. You will need two passport photographs and a photocopy of your visa and passport. For convenience, you may purchase several re-entry visas at once. The cost is the same, currently 500 Baht each, but only one session of form filling is involved. Multiple Re-Entry Visa Once you have been granted either a 90-day or one year Non-Immigration visa you must get a Multiple Re-entry Visa, which is available from the Immigration office. Work Permit A work permit is only issued if your job could not be filled by a Thai national. Normally your company will have obtained this for you. Embassies On arrival in a new country, it is advisable to register with your country’s embassy. Passports and Children If you are here for a long stay and have children, it is advisable to have individual passports for them and not have them on your own passport. According to Thai law, parents cannot leave the country without the children they arrived with (as stated in your passport). If one parent is leaving with the children, don’t forget to carry a written, signed and embassy notarized statement from the other parent giving permission to do so. Babies Born in Thailand Foreigners born in Thailand do not receive Thai citizenship but the birth still needs to be registered. The hospital will file a certificate of birth at City Hall. To obtain your new baby’s birth certificate you must go to City Hall. You should have both parents’ passports, marriage certificate and a parent’s work permit. The birth certificate is written entirely in Thai. You must then have the certificate officially translated. It is a good idea to do this straight away, as there are sometimes errors in the original birth certificate. You may then take your child, the official translation of the birth certificate and the original Thai language birth certificate to your embassy to apply for a passport. Many countries require other documents as well, so please call your embassy prior to making the trip to Bangkok. You may also want to check with your embassy concerning the best time to come as some close early on certain days and others only do certain tasks on certain days.

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