So, you worked hard to get your long-stay visa from the Thailand Immigration Bureau (Non-Immigration O, OA, B) and set up a lovely home in the Kingdom. After a long stay you head back to your home country to see family and friends. Some time after arriving home and enjoying Mom’s cooking you have a sinking feeling … did I do everything I needed to do to preserve my long stay visa and ensure a smooth return to Thailand? In this article we’ll describe the why, when and how for obtaining a Re-entry Permit before you leave Thailand.
We know from experience that some long stay visa holders are either unaware of the need for permission to leave the Kingdom or confuse their multiple entry O or OA visas with the need to obtain a Re-entry Permit. At bottom, every time a long stay visa holder leaves the country they should have in hand (stamped in their passport) a Re-Entry Permit issued by the Thailand Immigration Bureau. If you fail to obtain a Re-entry Permit when leaving Thailand your permitted length of stay will be cancelled.
For example, if you obtained a one-year extension of your O or OA visa and left Thailand after six months without a Re-entry permit, the remaining six-month term of your visa is lost. You may still be able to reenter Thailand if the original term of your multiple entry visa has not expired, but you will need to immediately reapply for a visa, essentially starting the visa application process over again. Clearly, an outcome you want to avoid. Here’s our recommendations to avoid unintended visa cancellations and preserve your visa when traveling from Thailand.
What is a Re-entry Permit?
The Re-entry Permit is simply the Thailand Immigration Bureau’s grant of permission to reenter Thailand from overseas travel under the terms of your visa. You can either obtain a single Re-entry Permits for B1,000 (about US$30) or a multiple Re-entry Permit for B3,800 (about US$120). The arithmetic on which works best for you is simple and just depends on how many trips abroad you intend to make during the term of your visa extension.
When can I apply for a Re-entry permit?
Once you receive your visa extension you may apply for a Re-entry permit at any time. We recommend to anyone anticipating overseas travel to apply for their Re-entry Permit immediately after issuance of a visa extension. That way, you aren’t inconvenienced later, or worse, leave the country without the permit. Of course, you can apply for a Re-Entry Permit any time before you leave Thailand, including day of travel at your point of departure (e.g., Suvarnabhumi or Don Mueang International Airports).
Where do I apply for a Re-entry Permits?
You can apply for a Re-entry Permit at: Immigration Office, Immigration Division 1, Tower B, Government B Complex, Chaengwattana Road, Laksi, Bangkok 10210. Office hours are 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday, but the office is closed on public holidays so it’s always good to call ahead. The process typically takes 30 minutes to an hour depending on the number of folks making application.
You can also apply for a Re-entry Permit at Suvarnabhumi or Don Mueang International Airports on the day you travel, and the airport immigration desks are available 24 hours per day, seven days a week. You should leave yourself an additional 2-3 hours to complete the process as you never know how busy the immigration office will be the day you are travelling.
As ever, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at Hello@BTISolutions.co
Your Baan Thai Immigration Solutions Team