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Thai Visa Notations

Each year, many people opt to travel to the Kingdom of Thailand in order to explore the beautiful beaches, exotic nightlife and interesting scenes. For some, the trip is short, but for others a long term vacation awaits. If one wishes to remain in the Kingdom of Thailand for a continuous period of more than 15 to 30 days, a Thai visa is likely required to maintain lawful status. Those who apply for long term Thai visas are initially dismayed at some of the notations on their visa.

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For example, some visas to Thailand are stamped with a notation which states: “Employment Prohibited.” Dismay is had because the visa holder believes this means that they cannot receive employment authorization at any time. In reality, this simply means that employment is not authorized based solely upon this travel document. The Thai authorities have split the right to work from the right to reside in Thailand. Much like a US business visa (B1), the bearer is only allowed to travel and enter the country for business related reasons which do not constitute employment in the USA.

This same issue is often experienced by those in Thailand on a Thai business visa. Many labor under the incorrect belief that a Thai business visa entitles the bearer to work authorization in the Kingdom of Thailand. As a matter of fact, a Thai work permit is the only document that permits a foreign national to engage in employment in the Kingdom. Even with a work permit, one’s employment must be within the scope of activities listed in the permit. That being said, a Thai business visa with an “Employment Prohibited” notation could still be utilized as a basis for a work permit application provided all of the other legal requirements are met.

Another common notation that throws some would-be expats off guard is the one which states: “Extension of Stay Not Permitted.” This is a truly disconcerting notation because many believe that it is impossible to extend their visa past the initial validity. This is not the case. Instead, this should actually read: “Extension of Stay is not allowed without re-authorization.”

One may extend a Thai business visa, but it is not a matter of right. Instead, an entirely new extension application must be submitted and approved before one will be permitted to remain in lawful status past the visa’s expiration. This seems to be intended as a notation to be used internally by Thai government officers employed at either the Royal Thai immigration Police, the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or the Thai Ministry of Labour. Many foreigners are relieved to know that these notations rarely have a detrimental impact upon their long term plans.

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