Integrity Legal

21st July 2009

There are certain misunderstood aspects of the Thailand Business Visa that may need to be cleared up in order to properly understand how Thai Immigration views those non-Thai nationals in possession of a Thailand B visa.

First, a Thai business visa should not be inferred to impart the right to work in Thailand. Those holding Thai B Visas (Business), must still obtain a Thai work permit before they will be allowed to enjoy employment rights. Even then, Thai law, which in this respect is similar to United States Immigration law, restricts work authorization to a specified geographic location, namely the official address of the employer. That being said, it may be possible to get a second employer stamped into one’s Thai work permit and thereby allow employment with multiple organizations by officially authorizing such employment.

One very difficult concept for many to grasp is the idea that a visa does not confer the “right” to enter the country. This causes some confusion particularly with regard to United States Immigration. A USA visa simply gives the bearer the right to seek permission to enter the United States of America.

The Kingdom of Thailand views visas and travel documents in a similar light. In fact, it may be possible to be turned away at a port of entry in Thailand even where the prospective entrant has what is otherwise considered to be a valid visa. This issue became of acute concern nearly 5 years ago when operators began springing up throughout Thailand who offered to send one’s passport out of the Kingdom and have it sent back in with a new valid visa issued from an Embassy or Consulate abroad. In this situation, even though the visas were issued legally, the Thailand Immigration authorities at the port of entry began not only turning prospective entrants away, but also nullifying visas issued to someone who was in Thailand when the visa was issued at a diplomatic post abroad.

Another common mistake regarding Thai Business visas involves the definition of “multiple entry.” Specifically, does a one year multiple entry Thai visa imply that the bearer may remain in Thailand uninterrupted without being forced to leave? Put simply: No. A Multiple entry visa holder must leave at least every 90 days in order to remain in legal immigration status in the Kingdom.  That being said, the multiple entry visa is commonly confused with the Thai visa extension. The extension allows the bearer to remain in Thailand for up to one year without being compelled to depart every 90 days.  The downside of the extension is the fact that one needs to obtain a reentry permit in order to leave the country. The multiple entry visa allows the person holding it to leave the Kingdom and return on the same visa so long as it remains valid. Hence the name, “multiple entry.”

For further information, Please see the US-Thai Treaty of Amity as certain Immigration rights are created under this bilateral agreement.

(This is not legal advice. For such advice contact an attorney. No lawyer-client relationship should be assumed to exist between author and reader.)

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