How to Legally Extend Your Visa to Stay in Thailand

Three years ago, the immigration authorities in Thailand instituted a crackdown that set foreign expats both already living in the Kingdom and those who are thinking of moving to the country for reasons outside of tourism.
It can indeed be daunting for people who live in a country not their own to face a sudden action by the local government. People are now wondering if they can now move on to Thailand for work, or for retirement, without going through a lot of hassles.

Perhaps the new rules have been misunderstood but, by looking at what the real deal is, you’ll see that there really is nothing detrimental at all to your plans of moving to Thailand in the future. In any case, the goals of the crackdown have been discussed in a separate blog in this website, so let’s move on to how you can actually avoid being caught by the immigration authorities.

If You’re a Tourist That Want to Stay More than 90 Days…

Perhaps your first step is to get a multiple entry tourist or non-immigrant visa from a Thai consulate or embassy in your own country. This gives you the legal paperwork to enter Thailand as a tourist.

A single entry into Thailand requires you to stay for 60 days, and you have the option of exiting the country or to extend the visa for another 30 days. Choose the option that applies to you. If you need to exit, make sure that you’re exiting for a significant period of time. Take this as a chance to go on a week-long holiday outside of the country, so you can see the sights.

You can then return to Thailand for another entry using your multiple entry visa; that’s the beauty of METVs, as they let you return multiple times without having to apply for another visa. You can repeat everything you’ve done to satisfy the exit requirements of your visa as many times as you want, until the 6-month period is up.

If you’re planning to actually work in Thailand in the long-term, perhaps taking the METV route can be time-consuming and annoying. Plus, it might get you into trouble with the authorities. Ignore this advice, and you can add yourself to the list of foreigners stung by the crackdown.

Get the Appropriate Permit for What You Plan to Do in Thailand

So, we come to the big elephant in the room. What do you really plan to do long-term in Thailand? There are, of course, legal remedies for each of those goals.

There are corresponding permits that you can apply for. If you plan to study in Thailand, you’ll need to get a student permit or visa. You can, in addition, apply for a work permit if you’re going to be employed in Thailand, provided that your employer can help you out in applying for the necessary permit by supplying you with the needed paperwork.

Finally, if you want to move to Thailand for your retirement, you might want to apply for an immigrant visa and, in time, a permanent residency.

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