Did you know that you can leave Thailand and come back on the same Thai visa? A Thai re-entry permit is a convenient (but necessary) stamp that allows current Thai visa holders to travel to other countries and come back without forfeiting their current visa.
|UPDATE: This post has been updated as of May 2018.|
Know Before You Go
Here are several important things to keep in mind if you have a Thai visa (Tourist or Non Immigrant) and plan to travel in and out of the country. Please read the following answers to our FAQs:
WHEN YOU NEED A RE-ENTRY PERMIT
- A re-entry permit should be used only if you have a single entry Tourist Visa or a single entry Non Immigrant Visa.
- If you are on a Non Immigrant Retirement Visa, you will need a re-entry permit only after you have received your one-year extension.
- A re-entry permit is valid throughout the length of your visa extension (an extension is obtained at an Immigration Office inside of Thailand whereas a visa is obtained from a Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate outside of Thailand). If you get a new extension (applicable to single entry visas) your re-entry permit will be voided and you must apply for a new one.
- A multiple re-entry permit is only cost-effective if you have received a nine-month extension on single entry Non Immigrant Business or a one-year extension on a Non Immigrant Retirement Visa. Otherwise, apply for a single entry re-entry permit as needed.
- If you have a Non Immigrant Visa and leave the country on a re-entry permit, your 90-day check-in count restarts at ‘Day 1’ when you re-enter Thailand.
WHEN YOU DO NOT NEED A RE-ENTRY PERMIT
- This permit cannot be used if you have a Visa On Arrival or a Visa-Exempt Stamp. (Which country are you from?)
- You do not need a re-entry permit if you have a Multiple Entry Tourist Visa or a Multiple Entry Non Immigrant Visa (the exception is a Non Immigrant Retirement Visa that has a one-year extension)
The Benefits of a Thai Re-Entry Permit
A re-entry permit allows visitors to leave Thailand for a brief period of time to travel to another country and then re-enter Thailand on the same visa. You neither give up the days remaining on your original Thai visa nor do you have to make arrangements to get a new Thai visa before coming back to Thailand.
Why is this great?
For starters, it’s helpful for tourists who’ve been suddenly presented with an amazing opportunity to travel to another country but still want to finish their original time in Thailand.
It offers relief for teachers, students, or retirees who have a year-long Thai visa and need or want to leave the country for a vacation or travel experience.
It’s also essential in cases of emergencies where foreign visitors must leave the country but have every intention of coming back to Thailand.
A Thai re-entry permit completely eliminates the hassle of rounding up the correct supporting paperwork for a completely new Thai visa, traveling to a Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate, and paying for the application. That itself is priceless!
Thai Re-Entry Permit Application Requirements
When deciding whether or not you need a Thai re-entry permit, ask yourself, “Will my trip outside of Thailand go beyond the expiration date of my current Thai visa?”
If your Thai visa expires before you return to Thailand, then you won’t need a re-entry permit. If you still have time left on your Thai Tourist or Non Immigrant Visa when you want to return to Thailand, then you will need to apply for a re-entry permit.
To apply for a re-entry permit, you will need:
- Passport with a valid Thai visa (you cannot get a re-entry permit on a 30-day Visa Exempt Stamp or Visa On Arrival)
- Copies of the photo page, current visa page, and immigration departure card
- Copy of extension stamp page (applicable to Non Immigrant Thai visas)
- Re-Entry Permit application (form TM.8) that is provided at your local Thai Immigration Office
- One 2″ x 2″ passport photo
- 1,000 baht for a single re-entry permit; 3,800 baht for a multiple re-entry permit (cash only)
|NOTE: If you are on a Non Immigrant B Visa, you do NOT need to have received a visa extension or a work permit to apply for a re-entry permit.|
If you decide to leave Thailand without first securing a re-entry permit you will subsequently end your visa. You’ll have to go through the entire process of getting a new visa unless you have more entries left to use, as in the case of Multiple Entry Tourist Visa (METV) or multiple entry Non Immigrant visa.
When to Apply for a Re-entry permit
If you plan to leave Thailand for a brief trip and want to re-enter on the same Thai visa you originally entered with, apply for a Thai re-entry permit before your trip.
Apply at a Thai Immigration Office in Thailand
Apply for a re-entry permit at your local Thai Immigration Office before you leave Thailand. There’s an office in every province. Plan your travel schedule accordingly and give yourself at least a few hours to complete this task.
We recommend going at least one day in advance and not on the same day as your international flight. The process should take between 30 minutes and 2 hours depending on the volume of people at the immigration office.
|NOTE: Thai Immigration Offices are open Monday through Friday, 8:00 am or 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. They are closed on weekends and on Thai holidays. Plan accordingly.|
Apply at an International Airport in Thailand
Thailand’s international airports offer this service. You can only apply for a re-entry permit at an international airport on the day of your flight.
After you’ve checked into your flight and gone through the security line (where security officers check your airline ticket and scan your carry-on luggage) but before you go through immigration and get stamped out of Thailand, there is a small kiosk or desk area that you can apply for a re-entry permit.
The re-entry permit desk at an international airport is open every day the airport services an international flight. If you have an international flight departing at 12pm noon, 9pm, or 2am, the office will be open.
|TIP: Give yourself roughly 10 minutes per person to process a re-entry permit at the airport. For example, if you have three people traveling in your group, show up to the airport 30 minutes early. This should be enough time get a re-entry permit.|
How to Use a Thai Re-Entry Permit
When it’s your turn to go through the immigration checkpoint, tell the officer (politely) that you have a re-entry permit. Hand them your passport open to the page with your re-entry permit. Even point to the permit. Just make the officer aware that you have a re-entry stamp so that you don’t wrongly receive a 30-day Visa Exempt Stamp.
If the immigration officer somehow misses your re-entry permit, your Thai visa will be voided. Sadly, you will be responsible for paying the fees to obtain a new visa or any overstay fees (500 baht per day).
Each Thai re-entry permit is good for one entry into Thailand. If you plan on making several trips in and out of the country over the course of the same visa extension, we recommend applying for a multiple re-entry permit. This gives you unlimited access in and out of Thailand during the time your visa is valid.
When We’ve Used a Re-Entry Permit
We’ve used a re-entry permit several times, the latest being for a Viking River Cruise. We left Thailand and went to Hanoi, Vietnam, down the Mekong River, then to the Angkor Wat Temples in Siem Reap, Cambodia. At the time we were both on single entry Non Immigrant Thai visas. We applied for our re-entry permits a few days before our trip and were able to fly back into Thailand without a hitch.