Integrity Legal

1st August 2009

For those who are present in Thailand on a long term visa it may eventually become necessary to obtain a Thai visa extension. A Thai visa extension allows the bearer to remain in the Kingdom of Thailand for a specified period (usually 1 year). That being said, if the holder of an extended Thai visa leaves the Kingdom, then the visa will automatically expire upon departure. The Thailand visa extension will not extinguish if the visa holder obtains a reentry permit. A Thai reentry permit is similar to a reentry permit for a USA visa in that it puts the Thai government on notice that the visa holder wishes to return to Thailand and does not intend to abandon his or her Thai visa.

Only an office of the Royal Thai Immigration Police can grant a reentry permit. Generally, there are two reentry permit classifications: the single exit permit, and the multiple exit permit. The multiple reentry permit is more costly than its single entry counterpart, but it may be wise to obtain a multiple exit reentry permit even if one is not immediately intending to leave the Kingdom of Thailand. I would argue that paying an extra fee for the multiple exit permit would be prudent in order to forestall losing one’s visa status should some sort of unforeseen eventuality arise.

The Reentry permit should not be mistaken for the Thailand multiple entry visa. A multiple entry visa usually allows the bearer to remain in Thailand for 90 days at a time over the course of the visa’s validity.  One major difference between the Thai visa extension and the Thai multiple entry visa is the fact that a person utilizing a multiple entry visa breaks their status every time the depart the country (even for a short period of time in the case of a “visa run”).  The person remaining in Thailand on an extension retains the benefit of enjoying unbroken visa status.

Even with a reentry permit, the holder of an extended Thai visa is still required to report their address every 90 days at the Thai Immigration office that has jurisdiction over their place of abode. Technically, passing through the Thailand Immigration checkpoint with a valid visa extension and reentry permit is a sufficient substitute for the 90 day reporting requirement because Thai Immigration simply wants to make sure that the foreign national checks in with their agency at some point during any 90 day period.

A Thai reentry permit should not be confused with a Thai work permit which is necessary in order for a foreigner to obtain lawful employment in Thailand. One should be aware that just because one has a valid reentry permit, their work permit may expire on a different date from their visa and take measures to ensure that all of these documents are kept up to date.

(Note: This information is for educational purposes and is subject to change. No fiduciary relationship should be construed to exist between the author and any reader of this posting.)


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