As one of the most popular destinations in Thailand, many people who travel to the seaside city of Pattaya decide to stay here for a while. Whether you simply want to extend your stay for a few weeks or start a new life in Thailand, you will need to apply for the correct Thai visa in Pattaya.
Taking the time to sort out the right visa at the start of your stay can save a lot of hassle later. There are several different options, each with their own pros and cons. Tourist visas can last for up to nine months, while those who wish to work or study in Pattaya will be able to obtain special non-immigrant, year-long visas, which can be renewed when they expire.
Residents of Canada, the USA, UK, and many others, are automatically granted a 30-day permit to stay (not a visa) when they touch down at one of Thailand’s airports from an international destination, while those who travel overland from one of the neighbouring countries will receive a similar entity for 15 days.
Visa on arrival
Those who hail from one of these 28 countries (and/or territories) are also able to travel to Thailand without arranging for a visa in advance. These nationals are granted a visa that lasts for five days, although they will have to pay a fee of 1,000 baht for the privelege.
Tourist visas in Pattaya
Tourist visas are typically granted for 30 days and anyone who wishes to travel to Thailand and is not mentioned in the visa waiver category will need to arrange for a visa at a Thai embassy in advance.
However, those who do fall into the visa waiver category can also apply for a 60-day tourist visa in their country of residence – fees vary from country to country.
Thai immigration authorities can extend a Pattaya Tourist Visa once (making a total of 70 days), or apply for a multiple entry tourist visa of 60 days. These multiple entry visas in Pattaya are a good option for those who plan to visit neighbouring countries during their trip and they can be extended twice.
However, travellers who are entering Thailand on one of these visas by an overland route may be asked by the authorities to show that they have 10,000 baht of more for every 30 days they intend to stay in Thailand.
Retirement visas in Pattaya
People who wish to apply for a retirement visa must be a minimum of 50 years and either have a monthly income of at least 65,000 baht or have had 800,000 baht (or combination with income) sitting in your Thai bank account for three months prior to application. You must also show proof that you have no criminal record.
Non-immigrant visas in Pattaya
People who are hoping to set up residence in Pattaya for a year or more will need to apply for a non-immigrant visa. These are granted to people who have been given a job offer for work, such as teaching or journalism, are supporting a Thai spouse or child, or investigating business investment in Thailand. You can also obtain one for visiting friends.
Non-immigrant visas must be applied for outside of the Kingdom (although not necessarily in your home country) and applicants need a large amount of paperwork, such as a marriage certificate, proof of a job offer and so on.
A large number of long-term residents tend to use single (90-day) non-immigrant Thai visas in Pattaya in order to stay in the resort. Although going through the initial stages are relatively simple, converting this visa into a full 12-month visa can be rather tricky as a lot of paperwork is required. Keeping track on the various requirements can be arduous, especially as they change from time to time. Those considering this option will want to check the thaivisa.com forum regularly.
Types of Non-immigrant visas in Pattaya
(discover the full criteria at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs site).
Non-imm B: this is the most common type of visa among people who wish to stay in Pattaya for several months. Applicants who have been offered work need to produce the letter of appointment from a reputable company, as well as a whole host of other documentation. Converting this Pattaya visa to full a 12-month visa depends on the successful issuing of a work permit, and once this has been done the paperwork needs to be re-issued to the immigration department all over again, which can take up to four months in total.
Non-imm O-A: visitors to Thailand who have established a family with a Thai husband or wife may apply for this type of visa in Pattaya. They must show their marriage certificate and proof that they have at least 400,000 baht in a Thai bank account or receive a regular salary from abroad. Retirees can also receive this type of visa if they have ID documents along with a salary of 65,000 a month or 800,000 baht in the bank.
Non-imm Ed: non-immigrant education visas will be granted to those who show proof that they are taking part in a Thai course or undergraduate studies at a reputable language school or university. These Thai visas in Pattaya last for up to 12 months and can be renewed.
Other types of non immigration visas include:
Non-imm M: this is available for those who are conducting journalist work and applicants must be endorsed by an accredited media agency.
IM: this is a special investor visa, which is approved by the Board of Investment. These visas can also be used for those who want to set up a business in Thailand and can last for up to three years.
Permanent residence in Pattaya
Anyone who hopes to stand a chance of receiving permanent residence in Thailand must have renewed a non-imm for five years prior to application. They should also make sure their Thai is up to par as both written and spoken Thai tests are part of the application process. Of course, applicants will also need to show proof that they are an upstanding citizen, and obtaining all the necessary paperwork can take several years. Once everything has been approved, the cost of the permanent residence visa is 195,000 baht (97,500 if you have a Thai spouse) as well as a 5,000 baht application fee.
Overstays and extensions in Pattaya
Tourist visas can be extended for a period of 10 days at Pattaya’s immigration department. However, this can only be done once and is relatively pricy as it costs 1,900 baht for just 10 days. Those who are applying for non-immigrant visas in Pattaya will usually be given an extension of a further 30 days while the application is being processed or paperwork is gathered.
The immigration authorities have tightened up their overstay policy and those who overstay their visa by 40 days or more may be randomly detained. Even overstaying for one day is a bad idea as those who do this regularly are sure to have a black mark against their name, as well as having to pay 500 baht for each day they remain in Thailand after their visa expires.
Immigration Department blues
The Tor Mor, as it is known in Thai, is a department of the Royal Thai Police that deals with some 200,000 visa applications a year in the best tradition of government bureaucrats. Few expats can speak positively of their annual visa run-around, which usually involves multiple visits, long queues and blunt staff. Although the department has tried in recent years to streamline and improve their services, a great deal of patience is required when dealing with them. You can expect some rather petty ‘barriers’, which might be smoothed out if you left it all to an expensive lawyer.
Pattaya Immigration Department
It is best to arrive at 08:00, just before the immigration office opens. —– Contact: 75/265 Soi 5, Moo 12, Jomtien Beach Road, Nong Prue, Banglamung, Chonburi 20150. Open hours: 08:30-16:30 (Mon-Fri). Tel: (038) 252 750-4, Fax: (038) 252 753, Email, Website.