Integrity Legal

13th January 2010

Thailand visa issues seem to be one of the most popular topics discussed on this blog. This may be due to the fact that many people who travel to the Kingdom of Thailand find that they would prefer to remain for a long period of time. Unfortunately, obtaining a Thai long term visa seems to be getting more and more difficult as visa regulations become increasingly complex and cumbersome. That being said, there is one rule that can have a major impact upon one’s chances of obtaining a Thai visa. This rule deals with foreign passport validity.

In many cases, Thai Consular Officers working at Consulates and Embassies overseas are hesitant to provide long term visas to Thailand if the applicant’s underlying passport is not valid for the entire duration of the visa. This being said, there is a bright line rule at most Consulates: the applicant must have at least 6 months of validity left on their passport in order for any visa to be issued. However, as a practical matter Consular Officers have a great deal of discretion regarding visa issuance and short term passport validity is frowned upon. This negative attitude could translate into a Thai visa application’s denial if the officer is uncomfortable issuing a visa to the applicant based upon the totality of the circumstances.

For those interested in obtaining a Thailand visa it is wise to have a passport that is valid for at least one year. Further, some posts prefer machine readable passports as they provide an extra level of security and act as a means of preventing visa fraud because it is more difficult to forge a machine readable travel document.

As with US Consulates and Embassies, each Thai Consulate or Thai Embassy has a slightly unique procedure for processing visa applications and as a result the above information should be checked against the post policies and guidelines at the time of application. As a general rule, a Thai visa applicant would be wise to present a well-founded application along with a machine readable passport valid for more than six months, but preferably more than one year.

For Americans seeking a new passport in Thailand please contact the American Citizen Services Section of the US Embassy Bangkok as this office is primarily responsible for passport issuance to those resident in Thailand. For those living in Northern Thailand the US Consulate Chiang Mai can also assist with passport procurement for American Citizens.


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2 Responses to “Passport Validity and Visas to Thailand”

  1. [...] About the Author: Benjamin W. Hart is an attorney licensed to practice law before the US Federal District Court of Kansas. Currently, he lives and works in Bangkok, Thailand as Managing Director of Integrity Legal (Thailand) Co. Ltd. Contact Integrity Legal at 1-877-231-7533, +66 (0)2-266-3698, or info@integrity-legal.com. For more information on Consular Processing Issues at US Posts in Thailand please see: US Embassy Thailand or US Consulate Chiang Mai. [...]

  2. [...] About the Author: Benjamin W. Hart is an attorney licensed to practice law before the US Federal District Court of Kansas. Currently, he lives and works in Bangkok, Thailand as Managing Director of Integrity Legal (Thailand) Co. Ltd. Contact Integrity Legal at 1-877-231-7533, +66 (0)2-266-3698, or info@integrity-legal.com. For more information on Consular Processing Issues at US Posts in Thailand please see: US Embassy Thailand or US Consulate Chiang Mai. [...]

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