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Thailand Re-entry Permit: A Complete Guide

Thailand has long been a sought-after destination for tourists, expatriates, and digital nomads alike. With its stunning landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and vibrant cities, it’s no wonder why people from all over the world choose to visit or settle down in the Land of Smiles. However, if you plan on leaving Thailand temporarily and then returning, you might need to obtain a re-entry permit to ensure a smooth journey back into the country. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about the Thailand re-entry permit.

Table of Contents

What is a Re-entry Permit?

A re-entry permit is an official document issued by the Thai Immigration Bureau that allows foreigners holding specific visa types to leave and re-enter Thailand without voiding their current visa status. Without a re-entry permit, your visa may become invalid as soon as you depart the country.

The necessity for a re-entry permit arises when individuals with non-immigrant visas, such as a work permit or marriage visa, require a temporary departure from Thailand for various reasons, including business trips, family emergencies, or leisure travel.

Types of Re-entry Permits

In Thailand, there are two main types of re-entry permits:

  1. Single Re-entry Permit: This allows one-time re-entry into Thailand within the validity period of the current visa. If you plan on leaving the country just once and returning, a single re-entry permit is suitable for you.
  2. Multiple Re-entry Permit: If you need to leave and re-enter Thailand multiple times within the validity period of your current visa, a multiple re-entry permit is recommended. With this type of permit, you can travel back and forth without any limitations until your visa expires.

It is crucial to accurately assess your travel plans and visa duration to determine the most suitable option for your needs.

Application Process

The application process for a re-entry permit in Thailand typically involves the following steps:

  1. Prepare the required documents: These typically include your passport, visa, departure card, and a completed re-entry permit application form. Make sure to double-check the specific requirements with the Thai Immigration Bureau or the Royal Thai Embassy/Consulate in your home country.
  2. Visit the Thai Immigration Bureau or your local immigration office: You can apply for a re-entry permit directly at the Thai Immigration Bureau in Bangkok or your nearest immigration office in other provinces. Arrive early and be prepared for potential queues.
  3. Submit your application: Complete the application process by submitting all the required documents and paying the applicable fees.
  4. Obtain your re-entry permit: Once your application is processed and approved, you will receive a re-entry permit stamp in your passport, which allows you to leave and re-enter Thailand without any issues.

It’s worth noting that the process may slightly vary depending on your location and specific circumstances, so it’s advisable to check with the relevant authorities before proceeding.

Cost and Validity

The cost of a re-entry permit in Thailand depends on the type you choose. As of writing this article, the fees are as follows:

Type of Re-entry Permit Fee
Single Re-entry Permit 1,000 Thai Baht
Multiple Re-entry Permit 3,800 Thai Baht

Keep in mind that the fees can change, so it’s advisable to verify the current rates before submitting your application.

The validity of a re-entry permit aligns with the expiration date of your current visa. This means that if your visa is set to expire in six months, your re-entry permit will also be valid for six months.

Re-entry Permit vs. Visa Run

A frequently debated topic among foreigners in Thailand is whether to obtain a re-entry permit or opt for a visa run. A visa run refers to exiting the country and immediately re-entering to extend the visa-free stay or acquire a new visa exemption stamp.

While visa runs may seem like a convenient option, they can come with potential risks. Immigration officers have become stricter in recent years, and there have been instances where individuals were denied re-entry or received shorter visa-free stays upon returning to Thailand.

On the other hand, a re-entry permit guarantees the retention of your current visa status and eliminates the uncertainty associated with visa runs. If you have a long-term visa or a work permit, obtaining a re-entry permit is highly recommended to avoid any complications.

Re-entry Permit vs. Multiple Entry Visa

Another consideration for frequent travelers to and from Thailand is whether to obtain a re-entry permit or a multiple entry visa. While both options allow for multiple entries, there are some key differences:

Re-entry Permit Multiple Entry Visa
Can be obtained while residing in Thailand without leaving the country Usually obtained from a Thai embassy or consulate in your home country or a designated consulate in a neighboring country
Valid for the duration of your current visa Valid for longer periods, such as 6 months, 1 year, or more
Flexible option for individuals already in Thailand Suitable for individuals planning ahead from their home country or a nearby location

Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, so carefully consider your circumstances before making a decision.

Re-entry Permit FAQs:

Q: Can I apply for a re-entry permit at an airport before leaving Thailand?

A: Yes, you can apply for a re-entry permit at the Thai Immigration Counter in most international airports before your departure.

Q: Can I enter Thailand with an expired re-entry permit?

A: No, you must ensure that your re-entry permit is valid before returning to Thailand. Otherwise, you risk losing your visa status.

Q: Can I apply for a re-entry permit through an agent or representative?

A: Yes, you can authorize someone to apply for a re-entry permit on your behalf through a Power of Attorney. However, it’s essential to choose a reliable and trustworthy representative.

Q: How long does it take to process a re-entry permit?

A: The processing time may vary, but it typically takes a couple of hours. Arrive early to allow for any unexpected delays.

Conclusion

A re-entry permit is a crucial document for individuals residing in Thailand on non-immigrant visas who plan on temporarily leaving the country and returning later. By obtaining a re-entry permit, you can ensure the continuity of your visa status and avoid potential complications.

Make sure to carefully assess your travel plans, visa duration, and the type of re-entry permit that best suits your needs. Remember to follow the correct application process, provide the necessary documentation, and pay the applicable fees.

Whether you choose a single re-entry permit or a multiple re-entry permit, securing your ability to return to Thailand hassle-free is an investment in your peace of mind and allows you to continue enjoying the wonders that the country has to offer.

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