Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘O Visa Thailand’

10th April 2016

In previous postings on this blog the recent policies of the Royal Thai Immigration Police regarding visa overstayers in Thailand have been noted. In follow up to those articles, it should be noted that Thai immigration officials have recorded a sharp decline in the number of people physically present in Thailand beyond the expiration date of their visa. In a recent Bangkok Post article, the drop in overstay was noted:

The more than 39% decline, from 810,522 in October last year to 486,947 in March, shows “our new measure is effective”, Immigration Bureau chief Nathathorn Prousoontorn said on Friday.

While immigration officers chalk up a victory in the campaign to thwart overstaying foreigners it appears that a new issue has come to the forefront. In another article in a more recent edition of the Bangkok Post suspicious trends in Thai Marriage registration numbers were reported:

Bureau chief Nathathorn Prousoontorn said several foreign nationals are believed to have resorted to sham marriages as a loophole to stay in the country…The [Royal Thai Immigration Police] received a tip-off from the Public Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) that at least 150 Thai women in one district of a northeastern province had married foreigners in the past few months.

Clearly, the recent spike in marriages and the recent change in immigration overstay policy cannot be assumed to be coincidental. However, the upshot of these developments is the very strong probability that all upcoming Thai marriage visa applications (otherwise referred to as O visa applications) will be more heavily scrutinized when compared to similar applications lodged in the past. This blogger can personally attest to the fact that since policy changes at Thai immigration in late 2015 the process of obtaining or renewing a Thai business visa has been a more intensive endeavor as Immigration officials scrutinize all business visa applications and supporting documentation extremely thoroughly. Therefore, this recent news regarding marriage scrutiny could easily lead one to infer that future marriage visa extension applications and renewal applications could require more documentation and the backlog for issuing such documents could become exacerbated as a result of the increased scrutiny and documentation requirements.

As a general rule, this blogger has advised those interested in remaining in Thailand to understand that the process of obtaining a long term Thai visa and/or a Thai work permit is becoming increasingly complex. As a result of this increased complexity, the notion that the Thai immigration process is something that is quick and easy is simply a fallacy. Thai immigration matters are arguably as complicated and time consuming as immigration issues arising in countries such as the USA or the UK. Those undertaking Thai immigration matters for the first time are strongly encouraged to retain the assistance of a competent professional.

more Comments: 04

5th October 2015

Starting November 13th it will be possible for foreign tourists to apply for and obtain a 6 month Thai tourist visa. To provide more insight into this development it is necessary to quote directly from the Bangkok Post:

Unlike current tourist visas, which offer from one to three entries, the six-month multiple-entry visa will allow unlimited border crossings during the validity period. However, to prevent foreigners from basically living in Thailand on tourist visas, each entry will be limited to 60 days. The new multiple-entry visa will cost 5,000 baht, versus 1,000 baht for a single-entry, 60-day visa, which can be extended in-country for up to 30 days for an additional fee.

As noted above the new tourist visas will be more costly than previously, but the validity period will be longer. Meanwhile, those in Thailand on such visas will be required to adhere to the regulations which are already in place. It would appear that the Thai government is attempting to provide a long term visa solution for those travelers who wish to stay in Thailand for an extended period of time. It should be noted that in recent months Thai Immigration authorities have been cracking down on long term users of Thai visa exemption stamps as well as those attempting to remain in the Kingdom utilizing the Thai Education visa (also referred to as the ED visa). It remains to be seen whether Thai Immigration officers and Consular Officers at the various Royal Thai Embassies and Consulates abroad will be willing to issue multiple Thai 6 month tourist visas, but the creation of this new type of visa should provide a much needed option to longer term tourists.

It may still be possible to obtain a 1 year multiple entry Thai visa from certain countries. Such one year visas are often issued for those wishing to conduct business or work in Thailand (the Thai business visa), stay in the Kingdom with a Thai family member including spouses (the Thai O visa), or retire in Thailand (the retirement visa, also known as the O-A visa). Under certain circumstances a Thai ED visa may still be an option for long term stay, but it has been reported that those staying in the Kingdom on an ED visa to attend Thai language school are being frequently tested on their language capability.

Those who enter the Kingdom in B, O, O-A, or ED visa status may be eligible for a visa extension provided the applicant can provide certain documentation.

more Comments: 04

30th June 2013

It has come to this blogger’s attention that Thai authorities may one day require that tourists traveling to the Kingdom of Thailand purchase health insurance prior to being granted entry, to quote directly from the website UPI.com:

Lawmakers in Thailand say they want all foreign tourists to be required to purchase travel and health insurance before arriving in their country. Thailand’s Public Health Ministry Wednesday proposed the measure…The health ministry has suggested the cost of health insurance coverage might be included in visa fees, Public Health Minister Pradit Sinthawanarong said at the meeting. Those visiting Thailand without visas would be required to buy insurance at immigration checkpoints or the fees could be added to the cost of airline tickets.

To learn more about this issue readers are encouraged to click HERE to view this story in detail.

Although this policy is still in the discussion stage, if Immigration officials in Thailand eventually do decide to require foreign tourists to obtain health insurance then surely this would increase the costs associated with being granted entry to the Kingdom. Currently, those wishing to enter the Kingdom of Thailand for tourism purposes are required to obtain a Thai tourist visa. A single entry Thai tourist visa grants the bearer lawful presence in Thailand for 60 days, with an optional 30 day extension. It should be noted that foreign nationals from many countries can currently enter Thailand on a Thai visa exemption which is granted at an immigration checkpoint at the foreign national’s port of entry. In most cases a Thai visa exemption stamp in a foreign national’s passport will grant the bearer 30 days of lawful prensence in the Kingdom of Thailand.

Those wishing to travel to Thailand for the purpose of conducting business are required to obtain a Thai business visa which is categorized as a non-immigrant “B” visa by immigration authorities in Thailand. Once present in Thailand if the foreign national holding a business visa wishes to work then a Thai work permit must be first obtained before undertaking any type of labor in Thailand. Those traveling to Thailand to reunite with family may obtain a Thai “O” visa. This type of visa may allow the bearer to apply for a work permit depending upon the bearer’s circumstances. Foreign nationals wishing to retire in Thailand may obtain a Thai retirement visa which will permit the retiree to remain in the Kingdom for one-year intervals. However, those holding a retirement visa cannot apply for a work permit. Also, retirement visa seekers must be over the age of 50 and meet certain financial requirements. Some foreign nationals opt to travel to Thailand in order to receive schooling, in such cases it may be possible to obtain a Thai education visa (officially classified as an “ED” visa). It should be noted that in virtually all cases an ED visa holder cannot obtain a work permit.

For related information please see: Thailand Visa.

 

more Comments: 04

15th April 2010

In a recent posting of the website ThaiVisa.com, the issue of Thai tourist was discussed in the context of Thai Immigration. Frequent readers of this blog will remember that until March of this year, Thai Tourism officials, in conjunction with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, had been granting tourist visas to Thailand free of charge. Apparently, this program is to be extended. The following is quoted from ThaiVisa.com:

“The Ministry of Tourism and Sports has extended tourism stimulus measures for one year until 31 March 2011 to assist tourism related entrepreneurs who were affected from the demonstration of the United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD). Tourism and Sports Minister Chumpol Silapa-archa announced on Thursday that the ministry has resolved to extend the assistance measures to help tourism related entrepreneurs while road show activities must be organized on a continuous basis to further stimulate tourism. The stimulus measures include the exemption of visa fees for foreign tourists, travel insurance for foreign tourists of not more than 10,000 USD, low interest rate loans, and extension of loan payment periods.”

Hopefully, these measures will provide a benefit to Thailand’s struggling tourism sector which will likely be adversely impacted by the unrest in Bangkok that has occurred over the recent weeks. The report went on:

“The minister added that the number of tourists travelling [sic] into Thailand at airports in general have not decreased, but on the other hand, is more than the number in the same period last year because the figure last year was very low. Mr Chumpol admitted that tour bookings in Bangkok would be affected from the mass rally of the UDD now taking place at Ratchaprasong Intersection. However, those in other areas, especially in the southern islands of Phuket and Samui would not be affected.”

This author would argue that although Tourism has been impacted by recent events in Thailand. There may be another explanation for the seemingly lower tourism figures (or at least the lower numbers of people pursuing Thai Tourist visas). One of the causes could be the fact that more and more tourists in Thailand are “Long Stay” tourists, meaning that they prefer to remain for 3,6, 9, or even 12 months at a time. Many such travelers prefer to come to Thailand using an O visa as such a visa can be granted with a validity as long as one year. Others prefer to use a Thailand business visa. A Thai business visa provides the benefit of creating a foundation for a Thai work permit application should the need for such documentation arise. Although an individual present in the Kingdom on a business visa does not strictly meet the definition of “tourist,” many people come to Thailand using a “B” visa and conduct business meetings in Thailand before pursuing more recreational activities.

more Comments: 04

The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisement. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.