Complete Top Guide to Visa Options For Chiang Mai Thailand

I have now been in Thailand for just under 3 weeks. After traveling to Bangkok and Chiang Mai I have to say that Chiang Mai is my favorite city so far. The hard part about staying here is the limited time I am allowed to be in the country. I currently can only travel here for about 30 days at a time. Now if you are planning to come to Thailand what options do you have to stay a longer duration? What are the options available for you? Well, the good news is there are several other visa options available for tourists who are planning on a relatively longer trip anywhere in Thailand and especially in Chiang Mai. Here is a quick run through on the various options:

The Basic Visa Requirement

There is no visa required before or on arrival for US citizens. Without visa, any US citizen is allowed to stay for 30 days if they arrive by flight and 15 days if they arrive by land. This stay can be extended further twice first by a month and then again by a week. For a stay that is longer than that US citizens can apply for a tourist visa that enables 60-day stay and this can be extended twice both times for a month each. So in all with basic formality, one can easily plan for a 4-month stay. However of your idea extends beyond the stipulated period and you are targeting significantly long-term period, there are some other options as well. It goes without saying that they need a certain amount of paperwork and documentation to establish authenticity and overall credibility of a person choosing to spend a longer period on the Thai soil.

There are many types of long-term visa that one could look at applying depending on nature and need for one’s stay in Thailand. This will not just allow foreigners to stay on Thai soil legally but even apply for work permit if the need arises.

Retirement Visa

This is particularly relevant for those above 50 years and close to the retirement time. If one has sufficient retirement funds and are keen to take a longish break, they can easily come to Thailand on a 90-day NonImmigrant Visa. This type of visa can be then extended to one year. All you need to do is go to the Thai Immigration Office and meet the following requirement:

In the country following the satisfaction of the below requirements:

  • Applicant needs to 50 years of age or more than that
  • Must meet the fund requirement as specified by the officials
  • Must have a Thai bank account and deposit 800,000 THB there
  • The money needs to be there in the account at least 2 months before applying for retirement visa and in all should be in the account for 3 months or more when applying for an extension of this retirement visa.
  • Applicant must have a monthly pension of THB 65,000 and it is mandatory to show proof of this income when they apply for the retirement visa.
  • The above mentioned financial requirements can be also met up in various combinations. For example, if your monthly pension amount or the money you earn is around 500,000 on an annual basis and you have savings of 300,000 THB, you can use this combination to satisfy the visa authorities for the total THB 800,000 requirement.

 

Business Visa

This is most relevant for those keen about conducting business in Thailand or are keen about expanding their presence in the Thai soil. This visa also entails a valid work permit that will enable you to work efficiently and absolutely legally without any worry. In case you are already working for a Thai company normally, your employer will take care of this and process the required information for visa work. In case you have plans to make a company or establish a new business in Thailand your visa will be processed through the documentation required for your company.

 

In this way, you will not just be able to work and live in Thailand peacefully but also won’t face any kind of impediment towards further enhancing your work and success.

Education Visa

As the name indicates this visa is applicable for those wanting to pursue higher studies in Thailand. Whether you are targeting a Government establishment or international organization or even language schools, you can organize your stay through this kind of visa. Normally the school that you apply for studies will handle the processing for you and provide the required documents as a part of the admission formalities. The validity of the visa will be variable depending on the specific course and institution you might have enrolled for. While applying for the courses students should, therefore, be careful about the program they choose and the kind of impact and bearing it would have on the overall stay formalities.

Marriage Visa

This is an eventuality for many foreigners who end up staying for an extended period in Thailand. If your spouse is Thai and you wish to stay with them you can apply for this visa once you meet the requirements outlined by the Visa authorities:

  • You should be legally married to a Thai national
  • Satisfy the financial requirements as decided by the visa authorities
  • Open a Thai bank account and deposit THB 400,000 there.
  • Must furnish proof of monthly income of THB 40,000

In case you are already in Thailand and working there, your marriage visa will also facilitate the procurement of your work permit.

Conclusion

Apart from these you also have the option of applying for Non-immigrant O Visa or another visa. This is relevant for dependants of those applicants choosing to apply for retirement or business visa. Select Thai consulates also provide 1-year visa with multiple entry options to visit your friend who might be stationed in Thailand. Though the paperwork is not very tiring, visa applicants must ensure that they report their address to the nearest Immigration office every 90 days. Also be careful if your long-term visa is a single entry one. In that case, you need to apply for re-entry permits if you travel in between.

Eric Lafleche