Visa runs are inevitable if you plan to stay long-term in any country. Chris and I came to Thailand on triple-entry tourist visas but knew that we would have to switch to Non Immigrant Visas when I wanted to teach. Therefore, I needed to apply for a Non Immigrant Business “B” Visa and Chris needed to apply for a Non Immigrant Dependent “O” visa.
If we had been traveling alone (aka, if we were single), or if we both wanted to teach, it would have been a straightforward process to obtain two Non Immigrant B Visas.
Another option would be that Chris could have stayed on the Tourist Visa on which we originally came over (two entries remained). Unfortunately, we wanted to be on the same “visa run cycle”; he would still have to do a border crossing every two to three months on a Tourist Visa while I would be required to go to an Immigration Office every ninety days for a check-in.
Although Chris was eligible for a Non Immigrant Dependent O Visa (we are married, and unfortunately this does not apply to those dating or engaged), he didn’t fit the conventional definition of “a dependent spouse” as defined on the Thai Embassy website because:
- Neither of us are Thai; it seems that in most situations, one of the spouses is Thai
- Chris wasn’t a woman and I wasn’t his bread-winning husband (the concept of Chris being the dependent seemed to puzzle some Thai people, leading some to say that it could not be done)
- We arrived in Thailand on a Tourist Visa and not on a Non Immigrant Visa (otherwise, this could have been taken care of at an Immigration Office in Thailand)
For simplicity sake, below is what you need in order to apply for a Non Immigrant Visa at any Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate. In most cases, it is easiest to go to a neighboring country (no need to fly all the way home), so we chose to do our visa run in Vientiane, Laos. I was employed by a staffing company that handled the paperwork for me.
Items Required for Any Thai Non Immigrant Visa
- Single entry: 2,000 baht (roughly 65 USD)
- Multiple entry: 5,000 baht (roughly 160 USD)
- Passport with at least 6 months validity remaining
- Two 2″x2″ passport photos
- Photocopy of passport page, visa page, and last visa entry stamp
- Thai Visa Application (Form also provided at any Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate)
|NOTE: We have been advised that the Royal Thai Consulate in Vientiane no longer provides multiple entry Non Immigrant O Visas. Your best bet is to apply for the single entry, and then have it extended at Thai Immigration (the route we took). From there you can also apply for single re-entry permits as needed for 1,000 baht each, or get a multiple re-entry permit (provides for less hassle and more flexibility) that allows you to come and go as you please for 3,800 Baht.|
Extra Requirements for a Non Immigrant Business “B” Visa
Foreigners who wish to work as teachers in Thailand must provide the following documents to the Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate of your choosing. If you choose to do a visa run to Vientiane, Laos like we did, these requirements are also listed on the Thai Consulate’s website (Vientiane, Laos); use Google Translate to read it in a language other than Thai.
- Official letter from the Ministry of Education of Thailand, or other sub-authorities concerned, approving the employment of foreign academic personnel (takes three to four weeks to process)
- Recommendation letter addressed to the Embassy (stating about the employment and visa application) and accompanied with the certified copy of the ID of the endorser
- Employment contract
- Form of the Employment Certification
- Copy of registration certificate of the concerned academic institute
- Copy of applicant’s academic certificate/record (I provided my company with my college transcripts and they translated it into Thai)
- Copy of the previous/current work permit (if any)
- Copy of the recent police clearance or certificate of no criminal conviction
|NOTE: These are the requirements to apply for a Non Immigrant B Visa at the Royal Thai Consulate in Vientiane, Laos. If you apply at a different embassy or consulate, please contact them directly to confirm their application requirements; the exact requirements may be different.|
Extra Requirements for a Non Immigrant Dependent “O” Visa
This example is for a non-Thai married couple in which one spouse is working and the other is not.
- Photocopy of marriage certificate
- Photocopy of living agreement (lease, guesthouse agreement, something saying you live together in Thailand)
- Original letter from hiring company indicating the to-be employed spouse’s intention to work, while also mentioning the nonworking spouse’s name and that he or she will be of dependent status while the employed spouse is working in Thailand OR a photocopy of employed spouse’s work permit.
Items Required for Entry into Laos
Laos has their own visa requirements to enter their country.
- One 2″x2″ passport photo
- $35 (From our experience exact change is not required, use crisp bills) OR 1,500 baht (equivalent to roughly $45, so use USD instead!)
- Tourist visa application (Form provided on arrival at Laos Immigration)
- Blue or black pen (the pens left out on the tables did not work)
|TIP: If you have some time and want to explore the country in which you’re applying for your visa then drop your passport off on Friday and pick it up on Monday. We had a great time discovering Vientiane, Laos over the weekend.|
If you aren’t married and plan to teach in Thailand and your significant other doesn’t want to go the same route we have heard great things about the Non Immigrant Education “ED” Visa options. It is possible to secure a one year education visa by taking a few short Thai language classes per week. We considered this option at one point, and still may pursue it in the future.