If you want to live in Thailand longer than the duration your visa has been issued for, you have to get a Thailand Visa Extension. If you want to live in Thailand long-term, you will likely have to get several Visa Extensions unless you are in the few rare cases where you receive a multiple-year visa.
In a way, the Visa Extensions in Thailand serve in the same way as residence permits do in certain other countries. Once you have lived on consecutive Visa Extensions for up to three years, you become eligible for Thailand Permanent Residency.
Who Has to Get a Visa Extension for Thailand?
As the name suggests, everyone who wants to stay in Thailand longer than their visa is issued for has to get a Thai Visa Extension. Depending on the type of Thailand Visa you have, as well as the purpose of your travel to Thailand, you could get:
- A short-term extension, which is usually a 30-Day Thailand Visa Extension issued to Tourist Visa holders.
- A long-term Thai visa Extension, which can be from 90 days to one year, depending on which purpose you want to live in Thailand. Long-term extensions are issued to Non-Immigrant Visa holders.
When you receive a Thailand Non-Immigrant Visa from a Thai Embassy or Consulate in your country, it will usually be issued for 90 days. However, the Non-Immigrant Visa allows you to apply for a Visa Extension once you are in Thailand, on the basis of whatever purpose you are traveling for. Then, with the Visa Extension, you can legally live in Thailand for up to one year.
Before the current Visa Extension expires, you can re-apply to extend it for another year.
- A Thailand Work Visa is just a Non-Immigrant “B” Visa extension on the basis of employment in Thailand.
- A Thailand Student Visa is a Non-Immigrant “ED” Visa extension on the basis of education/pursuing higher studies in Thailand.
- A Thailand Marriage Visa is a Non Immigrant “O” Visa extension on the basis of marriage to a Thai citizen.
What Documents Do I Need When Applying for a Thailand Visa Extension?
When you apply for a Visa Extension in Thailand, you need several documents that support your application and convince the Immigration officers you are fit to receive the extension. The following documents are what everyone has to submit, regardless of the reason for travel:
- Application Form for Extension of Temporary Stay in the Kingdom – Form TM.7.
- One picture of yourself with the following requirements:
- 4 cm x 6 cm dimensions
- Recent (taken within the last six months)
- White background
- Neutral facial expression
- Your face must be fully visible
- Hats or headgear are not allowed, except for religious purposes. Even then, the covering must not obstruct your face
- Your original passport which is valid for at least six more months. Keep in mind that the visa extension will be issued depending on the validity of your visa, but usually no more than one year. If your visa is valid for less than a year, your Thai Visa Extension will also be issued for less than one year.
- Photocopies* of the relevant pages on your passport:
- The personal information page, showing your picture, name, expiry/issue date, etc.
- The page showing your Non-Immigrant Visa
- Any pages showing previous Thailand Visa Extensions (if applicable)
- The page showing the latest entry stamp in Thailand
- A photocopy of your Departure Card TM.6
- Any additional documents which are related to the purpose of your travel, such as:
- For employment purposes:
- Copy of your work permit
- Company documents, such as the registration certificate, list of shareholders, balance sheets along with the profit and loss statement, tax returns, etc.
- Map showing the location of your workplace
- For international students:
- The original Letter of Acceptance into the Thai educational institution
- Proof of the required financial requirements
- If you have family relations to a Thai national:
- Proof of family relationship such as a Marriage or Birth Certificate
- Map showing the location of the household (and maybe even pictures)
- Proof of the required financial means
- Rental contract
- The ID of the Thai national
- You may also have to submit family pictures
- If you want to retire in Thailand:
- Proof of the required financial means/deposit in the Thai bank
- Proof of monthly income
- Proof of residence
*The photocopies of your passport have to be signed, which will serve as your approval that they are true copies.
How to Apply for a Thai Visa Extension?
You have to apply for a Thailand Visa Extension at the Office of the Thai Immigration Department which has jurisdiction over the area in Thailand in which you will live.
You have to complete the “Application Form for Extension of Temporary Stay in the Kingdom – Form TM. 7”, which you can find online or in the offices of the Immigration Department when you apply.
Immigration Offices open in the morning, but you will likely have to wait in line for your turn to submit your application, and then wait a while more for the decision.
You must have your supporting documents with you as well as enough money to pay for the Thai Visa Extension fee.
Can I Renew My Thailand Visa Extension?
Yes, you can. If you continue to meet the requirements for a Thai Visa Extension, then you can apply for renewal about 30 days before your current extension expires.
How Much Does a Visa Extension in Thailand Cost?
Every time you have to extend your stay in Thailand, you have to pay a fee of 1,900 Thai Baht, regardless of the duration of your extension.
What Should I Do Once I Get My Thailand Visa Extension?
Once you get the Thai Visa Extension, you have to get a Re-Entry Permit and then, 90 days after entering, you have to report your address to the Immigration authorities.
Getting a Re-Entry Permit
You have to apply for a Re-Entry Permit, in order to be allowed to leave and re-enter Thailand without your visa becoming void. If you do not get a Re-Entry Permit before you leave Thailand, you won’t be allowed back in unless you get another visa at an Embassy or Consulate of Thailand abroad.
The Thailand Re-Entry Permit can be issued for a single entry or for multiple entries.
Submitting the 90-Day Report
Everyone who lives in Thailand long-term has to submit a 90-Day Report to the Thai Immigration authorities. This means that every 90 days of your continued residence in Thailand, you have to go to your local office of the Thailand Immigration Department and report your current address, even if it’s the same as last time.
SMART Visa holders have to report their stay annually, rather than every 90 days.
Ten-Year Thailand Visa Extension
There isn’t technically a Thai Visa Extension which is issued for ten years. Instead, holders of a Thailand Retirement Visa “O-X” will receive a 5-year, multiple-entry visa the first time they apply. Then, before the visa expires, they can apply for another five-year extension, meaning they get a 10-year stay in Thailand.
When Do I Become Eligible for Thailand Permanent Residency?
You become eligible for Thai Permanent Residency once you have received at least three consecutive Thailand Visa Extensions. The other eligibility requirements are as follows:
- You must have a Non-Immigrant Visa Extension at the time you submit the Residence Permit application
- Your Non-Immigrant Visa must have been issued on the basis of one of the following categories:
- You have invested a minimum amount of 10 million Thai Baht in Thailand
- You were employed in Thailand
- You lived in Thailand on the basis of your relationship to a Thai citizen or a Thai Residence Permit holder, such as a spouse, parent, or child
- You served as an expert or an academic in Thailand
- Any other category that the Immigration authorities consider acceptable
- You pass a Thai language interview
The Thailand Residence Permit does not expire. After having lived in Thailand with a Residence Permit for at least 5 consecutive years, you can apply for Thai Citizenship.