Foreigners are divided into different classes: Some countries belong to Visa Exemption Rule, some to Visa-on-Arrival, some to Bilateral Agreement. Prior to travelling to Thailand, a foreigner must determine first the duration of stay in Thailand and purpose of stay, check which group his/her country belongs, and check if he/she can enter Thailand without a visa, or if contacting the nearest Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate is a necessity to apply for a Tourist Visa.
Common types of visa to Thailand for foreigners:
90-Day Non Immigrant Visa to Thailand
This visa is valid as a single entry visa, meaning the holder can use it once, and is permitted to stay for a period of 90 days. Benefits of 90-Day Non-immigrant visa would be the holder can open a bank account, and he can work in Thailand provided that he will obtain a work permit. This serves as an initial visa for longer-term visa such as Marriage Visa, Retirement Visa, or Application for a Work Permit in Thailand.
One year Non-Immigrant Visa to Thailand
This visa has the same benefit as the 90-Day Non-Immigrant Visa however the One Year Non-Immigrant Visa offers multiple entries to Thailand. The holder is allowed to stay 90 days per entry which means, after the initial 90 days, he needs to go to the nearest border (about 4 hours ride away from Bangkok), get a new entry stamped at the immigration checkpoint, then return back to Bangkok. The holder is eligible to open a bank account and is eligible to apply for a Work Permit.
Thai Business Visa
If the foreigner’s purpose in staying to Thailand would be to conduct business, to work in Thailand, or to invest in the country, he could secure Thai Business Visa. The validity of this visa would be for a period of one year (multiple entries). The holder can stay for 90 days per entry. Those who got an approved Thai Business Visa are eligible to apply for a work permit. The holder can also open a bank account. The beauty of this visa would be that it is extendable for one year (has the option to convert it to a longer-term visa).
Thai Marriage Visa
This is issued to foreign-born applicants who have a Thai spouse. Once approved the holder is permitted to stay in Thailand for a period of one year. The foreigner-spouse is allowed to work in Thailand provided he will secure a work permit. Thai Marriage Visa is renewable every year. Leaving Thailand for Marriage Visa renewal process is not necessary.
Thai Retirement Visa
This visa is issued to foreigners who meet the age requirement of 50 years and above. This is for foreign-born nationals who intend to retire in Thailand. The holder can stay for one calendar year. Once the visa expires, it can be renewed inside Thailand without the necessity to leave the country. With the Thai Retirement Visa, holder is not allowed to work.