Foreign nationals who have to travel to Thailand for business-related purposes have to apply for a Thailand Business Visa. The Business Visa is a “B” Category of Thai Non-Immigrant Visas. Thai “B” Category Visas are issued for the following reasons:
- To conduct business without payment (ie. the Thai Business Visa)
- Paid employment, for which you will also need a Work Permit (see Thailand Work Visa)
- To invest in a business in Thailand
This article will detail some frequently asked questions regarding the Thailand Business Visa.
Who Needs a Visa to Conduct Business in Thailand?
Foreign nationals who will travel to Thailand to conduct business, such as attend meetings, negotiate deals, etc, but will not be paid by a Thai company for their services need a Thailand Business Visa.
Although certain countries have a visa exemption for Thailand, the exemption is usually for tourism purposes only. So, if you are from a visa-exempt country, you should check with a Thai Embassy or Consulate whether you need a Business Visa if you won’t actually be working.
Additionally, if you travel to Thailand for business frequently, you can get a one-year visa, which allows multiple entries for up to 90 days each time you enter.
Note: If you want to work, however, you also need a Thai Work Permit, which you cannot apply for if you don’t have a “B” Category Non-Immigrant Visa, so keep that in mind.
What Are the Types of Thailand Business Visas?
The Thai government issues two types of Business Visas:
- Single-entry Thai Business Visa, which allows you to enter Thailand once and stay for up to 90 days.
- Multiple-entry Thai Business Visa, which is valid for one year and allows you to enter multiple times, and stay in Thailand up to 90 days per entry.
What Documents Do I Need for a Thailand Business Visa Application?
The documents which support your Thai Business Visa application are:
- Your passport. Which is valid for at least another six months and has at least two blank visa pages.
- A completed and signed Thailand Business Visa application form. You may be able to download it from the website of the embassy/consulate or get it there if you apply in person.
- Passport-sized picture of yourself, with the following specifications:
- Dimensions: 3.5 cm x 4.5 cm
- White background
- Taken within the last six months
- You must have a neutral facial expression, staring straight ahead
- Your entire face must be fully visible
- Headgear is only allowed for religious purposes and even then, only if it does not cover the face
- Glasses are allowed only if they do not cover your eyes and do not have heavy frames
- Proof of sufficient financial means to cover the duration of your stay. You need 20,000 Thai Baht if you are traveling alone and 40,000 Thai Baht if you are traveling as a family.
- A letter from your employer. Which states your position, how long you have been employed, your salary, and the reason you’re visiting Thailand.
- A Letter of Invitation from the company in Thailand.
- Relevant documents that show your correspondence with your business partners in Thailand.
- Documents related to the inviting company in Thailand. Which are signed by the Company’s Board of Directors, authorized managing director and hold the seal of the company.
- Their business license and business registration
- The list of company stockholders
- The company profile
- The details of the business operation
- The company’s balance sheets, Income Tax and Business Tax statements for the past year
- The company’s location shown on a map
You may be asked to provide any additional documents as the representative office sees fit.
All the documents you submit have to be translated to Thai or English and notarized.
How to Apply for a Thailand Business Visa?
You have to apply for a Thailand Business Visa from one of the diplomatic mission offices of Thailand in your country, or a country near you.
- Contact the Embassy or Consulate. You can also visit their website to learn about their specific requirements regarding appointments, visa application submissions, opening hours, and visa fee payment. Different offices may have their own specific different requirements.
- Collect the required documents for a Thai Business Visa.
- Submit the Thai Business Visa application. Depending on where you apply, you can submit the application:
- In-person on the date of your appointment; or
- By mail, in which case you have to enclose a pre-paid and self-addressed envelope so the Embassy/Consulate can return your passport and documents
- Wait for the Embassy/Consulate staff to process your visa application.
- Retrieve your passport and documents.
- If you applied in person, you have to pick up the passport yourself
- If you applied by mail, they will be mailed back to you
If your Thai Business Visa application is approved, you have to enter the country within the duration that the visa is issued.
How Long Does It Take to Process a Thailand Business Visa Application?
The processing time for a Thailand Business Visa depends on the specific representative office through which you apply. However, you should give it about 5 – 10 business days, although some offices process visas in as little as two days.
How Much Does the Thailand Business Visa Cost?
The cost of a Thai Business Visa depends on the type of visa you receive. As such:
- Single-entry Thailand Business Visa fee is 2,000 Thai Baht (about USD 65)
- Multiple-entry Thailand Business Visa fee is 5,000 Thai Baht (about USD 164)
The fees could change slightly from one country to the next, based on the local currency. Additionally, the method for visa fee payment can also change, because some offices will only accept cash, while others may require you to pay through bank transfer.
Can I Bring My Family Members With Me to Thailand With a Business Visa?
If you want to bring your dependent family members to Thailand with you, they have to apply for a category “O” Non-Immigrant Visa, which allows them to stay in Thailand for no more than a year.
Can I Get a Thailand Business Visa on Arrival?
The Thailand Visa On Arrival, which is issued to nationals of certain countries, is strictly for tourism purposes. As such, if you intend to conduct business or work in Thailand, you have to get the Non-Immigrant “B” Visa (Thai Business Visa) from a Thai Embassy or Consulate in your country.
Can I Change a Thailand Tourist Visa to a Business Visa?
If you enter Thailand on a Tourist Visa, and you want to conduct business while you are there, you can apply to change the category of your visa at the Thai Immigration Bureau Office in Bangkok.
Note: You may not be able to change the category of the visa if you enter using a Thai Visa On Arrival because the VOA is not extendable.
What Is the Difference Between a Business Visa and Work Visa for Thailand?
Technically, a Thailand Business Visa and a Work Visa are the same thing: they are both a “B” Category Non-Immigrant Visa. However, a B Non-immigrant Visa on its own does not authorize you to actually work. Foreigners who want to work in Thailand and be paid have to apply for a Work Permit.
The terms Business Visa and Work Visa are not the official terms used by the Thai government – they are the terms which expats and travelers use.
So, to sum up, the difference between the two is:
- A Thailand Business Visa is a “B” Category Non-Immigrant Visa which allows you to go to Thailand for business-related purposes for which you won’t be paid by a Thai company.
- A Thailand Work Visa is also a “B” Category Non-Immigrant Visa. With just the visa, you cannot work. To work and be paid by a Thai employer, you need a Thai Work Permit. Once you have the work permit, you will live in Thailand in what is referred to as a “Work Visa”.