How to obtain a non- immigrant visas (non-O and non- B or business visa)
Thailand offers several different types of visa classes such as a non-immigrant O or B visa for foreigners with specific purposes for entry and temporary stay in Thailand with having no intention to immigrate to Thailand. This page contains essential Thai visa information on how to obtain a non immigrant visa for Thailand.
Thailand visas: 'Non O' and 'Non B' (non immigrant visa categories 'Others' and 'Business') and 'long stay'.
Non-immigrant visas for Thailand are issued by Thai consulates and embassies to foreigners who meet the requirements for such a visa. This type of visa can be issued as a single entry 90 days visa or as a 1 year multiple entry visa.
It should be noted that the stated time limit (1-year multiple entry) means the period within which the person may present the visa for entry, and not the duration of stay in the country. When entering Thailand within the given time frame, the immigration officer will grant a 90-day stay (non extendable). This is the initial period of stay for this type of visa. On re-entry again 90 days will granted. If the visa is presented on the last day of its validity, still a 90 days entry will be given (i.e. in practice a 1 year multiple entry visa allows as stay of 1 year + 90 days).
Eligible persons for a Thailand non-immigrant visa
To obtain a non-immigrant visa the foreigner must apply at a Thai embassy or consulate outside Thailand and submit a complete filled out visa application form, provide a passport or travel document with a validity exceeding the total validity of the visa (i.e. 18 months), 2 recent passport-sized photographs of the applicant taken within the past 6 months and visa fees. The Non-Immigrant visas are issued to persons in the following categories who wish to enter Thailand;
- official visitors
- business persons
- those arriving for investment-related activities that have been approved by the relevant government agency
- those arriving for investment-related activities under the auspices of the Board of Investment
- those visiting the country for study or observation
- media personnel
- missionaries belonging to missions that have been approved by the relevant government agency
- scientific researchers or lecturers at research institutes in Thailand
- experts in arts and crafts.
Others included under the Ministry rules :
- family members of persons in the above categories
- those working for state enterprises or for a public charity
- elderly persons
- those who formerly held Thai nationality
- those needing to obtain medical care in Thailand
- athletic coaches arriving to train Thai athletes
- those arriving to participate in legal activities involving court cases.
The non-immigrant visa application must be supported by documentary evidence (e.g. evidence of employment). There are guidelines for supplementary evidence for each of the above categories but the decision to grant a non-immigrant visa for Thailand based on the evidence supplied by the applicant rest solely at the discretion of each diplomatic mission. It is advisable to contact the concerning Thai embassy or consulate to find out where to and when to apply for a visa and the required documentation for specific visa categories like the non-immigrant visa.
The Thai visa category 'non- B' will be issued in case business such as employment with a Thai company or partnership, etc. This type of visa can be issued as a single entry 90 day visa or as a 1 year multiple entry visa. A non-B visa must be supported by documents such as:
- Copy of a company affidavit
- Copy shareholders' list
- A work permit or letter from an employer showing that the applicant will work at the company.
- If the applicant is a director of a newly established company a sponsorship letter from an accounting or law firm applying for the work permit is normally sufficient or proof of an application for work permit in accordance to section 8 (wp.2) from the Labour Department.
- Copy of the company's balance sheet (if the company is older than 1 year)
- Color passport size photos (2).
(All company documents have to be signed by the authorized director and sealed) Most embassies and consulates around Thailand are more restrictive in issuing non-immigrant visas to foreigners and for for example the non- B visa follow strict the official official guidelines and require more supporting documentation than embassies and consulates in most western countries or the foreigner's home country.
Foreigners applying for a non-immigrant B visa in Kota Baru and Penang (Malaysia) are also required to show a valid work permit or receipt from the Labour Department that a work permit application has been lodged (application for work permit in accordance to section 8 wp.2) before they issue a non-B visa. The embassy in Kuala Lumpur does in this case not require a work permit or receipt from the Labour Department, but will issue in this case a 90 day single entry non-immigrant B visa. Also the consulates in Kota Baru and Penang will issue in this case only a 90 day single entry non- B visas.
The embassy in Kuala Lumpur has not stopped issuing multiple entry non-immigrant visas, but require a valid work permit in addition to the above mentioned documents. It is at the discretion of the embassy and visa officer if a 1 year multiple entry will be given and another factor the visa officer will consider is how respectable the job and company the applicant is working for is (in case of a teaching or dive instructor jobs they may only issue a single entry 90 days non-B to these applicants).
Also the consulate in Penang has not fully stopped issuing one-year multiple entry visas, however, generally the consulate will only issue single entry visas.
The above information on visa applications in Malaysia shows the general practice of applying for a visa and different practices by Thai consulates and an embassy in one country. The writer of this article has been issued a 1 year non- B multiple entry visa in Australia just by showing he was on a website listed as staff (with the request to bring the company documents next time), the partner was issued a non- O without any required proof of marriage. In Malaysia the year before the whole list of documents was required and a non- O for the partner was refused because of a missing marriage certificate (despite the fact they were issued visas together for the past 5 years). In other instances a non O was issued because of planned diving courses in Thailand, and another time based on a monthly rental agreement, but you won't get away with this around Thailand.
A single entry non-immigrant visa which allows a stay of up to 90 days can be used for the application of 'temporary stay' or as some call it 'long stay' which allow the foreigner to stay for up to 12 months in Thailand, without have to leave Thailand every 90 days. One of the conditions for temporary stay is that the company must have a ratio of 4 Thai employees for every foreigner.
Teaching jobs (as are dive instructor jobs) are sometimes considered suspicious by visa officials: more information for documents required for teaching jobs and visas.
Also this type of visa can be issued a single entry 90 day visa or as a 1 year multiple entry. Based on a the ministerial rules spouses and children of non-immigrant B applicants or any others non-immigrant visa category will be issued with a non-immigrant O visa (O in this visa category stands for 'others' like dependency). Proof of marriage in the form of a marriage certificate could be requested, especially by the consulates around Thailand.
Approval of a non-immigrant O, 1-year multiple entry is often discretionary and rest solely at the discretion of each diplomatic mission. This type of visa is difficult to obtain around Thailand but at some consulates in Europe and Australia (if you are a resident of that country) relatively easy to obtain and will for example be granted to foreigners can who supply a rental agreement of property in Thailand, or foreigners who plan to follow courses in Thailand. It could be helpful if the reasons given are supported by some documents and if you could show sufficient funds.
Regulations and conditions for a 'temporary stay' following a non- immigrant visa and entry into Thailand (i.e. for permission to stay up to one year without having to leave Thailand every 90 days on a visa-run). Investment visas are not issued since October 1 2006. However, existing visas in this category may be extended if the holder still has funds of 3 million baht and is still doing business in Thailand. The information in this page is provided as general information and is not intended to be comprehensive.