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business visa without work permit 90 day stays


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Thank you in advance for reading this post.

I have a one year business visa, but do not have a work permit and because I havent been doing business here have not been earning money from Thailand. As I understand, I have to leave every 90 days and come back if I do not have a work permit and have done this many times. Still, the last time I did this the woman at the border crossing (Myanmar) was requesting to see a work permit when I was exiting Thailand and she appeared to be a bit emotional about it. I stayed calm and did my best to explain that I believe I could continue with a 90 day stay if I do not have a permit. Then she took a break, came back and said it was ok “for this time”. I am not sure if did not know the regulations with accuracy or if there had been any recent changes. I feel it is worthwhile to write about it here and see if someone could assure me that … I am permitted to stay for 90 days with a business visa and no work permit. My next and last visa run with this business visa in Jan. 31 and I hope that it goes smoothly.

Any feedback?

An additional question... I am somewhat considering staying for another 30 days (visa run to Myanmar or Cambodia) after my business visa is finished instead of returning to home country. Would I be allowed another 30 days. If not, plan A has been to go back to home country on the 31st.

Thanks again for reading. I surely looking forward to hearing your thoughts/ information/ suggestions.

Edited by Goodmind
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Yes, you can stay 90 days, and if exit, then re-enter just before the visa expires, you should be stamped permitted to stay 90 days again.

A work permit alone, has nothing to do with how long you stay in the country.

Yes, you could do a 30 day visa exempt entry.

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There have been other reports of people holding a multiple entry non-b visa being asked for a work permit. Most have been able to enter after giving a good explanation on what they are doing here.

A non-b visa issued for business purposes is for frequent business travelers it is not meant to be used for living here.

You could get a visa exempt entry after your next 90 day entry ends. You will only get 15 days at a border crossing unless your are from a G7 country. After you get a the visa exempt entry it can be extended at an immigration office for 30 days for a fee of 1900 baht.

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There have been other reports of people holding a multiple entry non-b visa being asked for a work permit. Most have been able to enter after giving a good explanation on what they are doing here.

A non-b visa issued for business purposes is for frequent business travelers it is not meant to be used for living here.

You could get a visa exempt entry after your next 90 day entry ends. You will only get 15 days at a border crossing unless your are from a G7 country. After you get a the visa exempt entry it can be extended at an immigration office for 30 days for a fee of 1900 baht.

I am on a non-B multi entry with no work permit yet. I also do not source my income from Thai sources but do conduct business here. At some point I may start sourcing income here and requesting a work permit, but so far have not had any need to do so.

In the meantime, coming and going has been no problem and I have not been asked for anything - if anything, I have often volunteered information to immigration at such checkpoints as Mae Sot and Nong Khai, where I regularly enter and exit the country and they have always been delighted and curious about what I do - I speak and read/write fluent Thai, which seems to help. While I do use my visa for de-facto residence in Thailand and I think that's OK, I do travel to neighboring countries often enough and stay away from Thailand for at least a few days at a time that it's clear I'm a regular business traveller rather than staying 90 days, exiting then coming back the same day. That I only did in the past when I was working here with a work permit but even in those days I didn't carry my work permit with me and I also travelled outside of Thailand for pleasure a couple of times during the validity of the visa during holidays so there was never an issue either.

I would imagine that I wouldn't have any issues in my case? Recently I've barely managed more than about a month in Thailand uninterrupted, due to regular travel to Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam, as well as one trip to China and I'm heading to Myanmar for at least a week in the next 1-2 weeks as well.

As it stands this is the best visa for my situation and once it comes time to renew it, I'll be heading back home to get a new one, unless I were to be offered a Thai based job that is eligible for an extension of stay in the meantime, but even in that event I'll only go for the extension on my last 90-day entry after the visa expires. Reason being I want to know if I can last in the job because as we both know, an extension of stay ends when the work ends, while a visa does not. Hence it's safer to remain legally on a non-B multi, get a work permit, exit/re-enter Thailand when the 90 day period is up to get a new permission to stay, doing so when you don't have to work, say during a public holiday period or a weekend and then once you've been in the job for 2-3 months you should know if you like it and they will extend your stay for a year at immigration, subject to minimum salary requirements etc. I haven't had to do that recently, but I'm just saying that's what I'd do. The extension of stay I'd only go for during the last 90 day period for the reasons I've outlined above, as a fail-safe.

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My prediction the requirement for a WP whether an annual one or temporary one is going to become more and more prevalent as time goes on

And to the OP you may already need a WP for Thailand dependent on what "business" your doing in Thailand, it had nothing to do with your source of income, you maybe working illegally right now

Therefore the immigration official may in fact be correct in asking to see your WP

Edited by Soutpeel
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Yes, the reply above is correct. The requirement for a WP does not depend on whether there is money involved or not; it is based on whether you are carrying out what the labour department defines as 'work'. Any kind of consulting, business meetings, giving business advice or even just signing company documents would be classed as doing work, so you have probably been 'working' illegally already...

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There have been other reports of people holding a multiple entry non-b visa being asked for a work permit. Most have been able to enter after giving a good explanation on what they are doing here.

A non-b visa issued for business purposes is for frequent business travelers it is not meant to be used for living here.

You could get a visa exempt entry after your next 90 day entry ends. You will only get 15 days at a border crossing unless your are from a G7 country. After you get a the visa exempt entry it can be extended at an immigration office for 30 days for a fee of 1900 baht.

I am on a non-B multi entry with no work permit yet. I also do not source my income from Thai sources but do conduct business here. At some point I may start sourcing income here and requesting a work permit, but so far have not had any need to do so.

In the meantime, coming and going has been no problem and I have not been asked for anything - if anything, I have often volunteered information to immigration at such checkpoints as Mae Sot and Nong Khai, where I regularly enter and exit the country and they have always been delighted and curious about what I do - I speak and read/write fluent Thai, which seems to help. While I do use my visa for de-facto residence in Thailand and I think that's OK, I do travel to neighboring countries often enough and stay away from Thailand for at least a few days at a time that it's clear I'm a regular business traveller rather than staying 90 days, exiting then coming back the same day. That I only did in the past when I was working here with a work permit but even in those days I didn't carry my work permit with me and I also travelled outside of Thailand for pleasure a couple of times during the validity of the visa during holidays so there was never an issue either.

I would imagine that I wouldn't have any issues in my case? Recently I've barely managed more than about a month in Thailand uninterrupted, due to regular travel to Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam, as well as one trip to China and I'm heading to Myanmar for at least a week in the next 1-2 weeks as well.

As it stands this is the best visa for my situation and once it comes time to renew it, I'll be heading back home to get a new one, unless I were to be offered a Thai based job that is eligible for an extension of stay in the meantime, but even in that event I'll only go for the extension on my last 90-day entry after the visa expires. Reason being I want to know if I can last in the job because as we both know, an extension of stay ends when the work ends, while a visa does not. Hence it's safer to remain legally on a non-B multi, get a work permit, exit/re-enter Thailand when the 90 day period is up to get a new permission to stay, doing so when you don't have to work, say during a public holiday period or a weekend and then once you've been in the job for 2-3 months you should know if you like it and they will extend your stay for a year at immigration, subject to minimum salary requirements etc. I haven't had to do that recently, but I'm just saying that's what I'd do. The extension of stay I'd only go for during the last 90 day period for the reasons I've outlined above, as a fail-safe.

my situation is pretty much the same, I have a non-B multiple now for almost ten years. never every have I been asked for a work permit. the non-B has nothing to do with holding a work permit. it just actually means you are required to travel a lot for business purpose.

Indeed that#s what I do, like you, I almost never have been staying the full 90 days in all those years, sometimes just for days before leaving the country and returning again days or weeks later.

I have a registered business in my home country and can prove through my plethora of immigration stamps in all Asian and sometimes even South-American countries that I have to travel extensively.... exactly this is what I would tell to an Immi-officer if something like what the OP experienced happens to me.

on the other hand I almost never use land-borders. the last time must have been 3 years ago or so at Sadao / Kayu Bukit Hitam, where I had a pleasant short chitchat with the Immi-officer

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My prediction the requirement for a WP whether an annual one or temporary one is going to become more and more prevalent as time goes on

And to the OP you may already need a WP for Thailand dependent on what "business" your doing in Thailand, it had nothing to do with your source of income, you maybe working illegally right now

Therefore the immigration official may in fact be correct in asking to see your WP

Where did you hear that?

I don't think that the multi non-B was intended necessarily for work based activities, but more for business. It is indeed the correct visa for someone who is consulting, attending meetings, etc. and often coming and going over the validity of the visa. However, some people might be on a non-B multi entry because they don't meet the requirements for extension of stay (usually because their salaries are too low) although I suspect this doesn't affect a particularly large segment of foreigners.

While some nationalities don't require a WP for certain activities such as meetings etc. for limited periods of time (usually 15 days, sometimes up to 90 days) due to provisions provided under the terms of an FTA with Thailand (e.g. Australians) or the APEC card, most others do as you say, but this really depends on the nature of the activities performed in Thailand, in particular if it falls under the definition of work and a regular salary comes from a Thai based employer.

Therefore, the immigration officers in the OP's case may or may not have been correct in asking him for a WP. However, it is more likely that a WP will be requested if the holder of a non-B spends very little to no time outside of Thailand (aside from the obligatory 90 day border runs) and that they are working in Thailand, whereas someone who spends some of their time inside Thailand and comes and goes regularly but also spends a considerable amount of time travelling or alternatively, just uses the non-B visa for some occasional business meetings wouldn't be asked for a WP because that person doesn't need one.

However, as we all know, immigration officials interpret the rules anyway they see fit, depending on the border crossing. Consistency is not what they are used to, and we all know that.

Many countries issue business visas like the 1-year non-B with 90 day stays that Thailand offers including China for example, and they mostly don't assume that you are working there either - in fact, I don't think a work permit can be issued to a business visa holder in China although I'd have to check. The business visas are designed for a purpose, whereas 90-day non-Bs, which are extended for a year (or occasionally 2 years for BOI investors) are obviously designed for those employed in Thailand and those on 1-year extensions should expect to be asked for WPs.

Many occasional business travellers, particularly those just coming for conferences and casual discussions for a couple of days or so enter Thailand on 30-day visa exemptions and since they don't earn any income from Thai sources, they only come from time to time and don't stay more than a few days or occasionally a week or two they are OK. I know many people who do this and no way would they go to the trouble of getting a non-B, especially when a visa exemption more than covers their stays and a conference etc. wouldn't be too happy about doing what it sees as unnecessary paperwork.

But anyway, as always immigration has the right to ask a traveller what his/her purpose of entry is. I don't get it why most foreigners seem to think that a Thai immigration officer isn't supposed to ask you questions and if he/she does, it's bad news. No it isn't. It should be normal that they ask some questions to ascertain the purpose of entry. Most people like the OP who have a multi non-B should be able to explain what they are doing if asked and will be OK.

Edited by Tomtomtom69
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My prediction the requirement for a WP whether an annual one or temporary one is going to become more and more prevalent as time goes on

And to the OP you may already need a WP for Thailand dependent on what "business" your doing in Thailand, it had nothing to do with your source of income, you maybe working illegally right now

Therefore the immigration official may in fact be correct in asking to see your WP

Where did you hear that?

I don't think that the multi non-B was intended necessarily for work based activities, but more for business. It is indeed the correct visa for someone who is consulting, attending meetings, etc. and often coming and going over the validity of the visa. However, some people might be on a non-B multi entry because they don't meet the requirements for extension of stay (usually because their salaries are too low) although I suspect this doesn't affect a particularly large segment of foreigners.

While some nationalities don't require a WP for certain activities such as meetings etc. for limited periods of time (usually 15 days, sometimes up to 90 days) due to provisions provided under the terms of an FTA with Thailand (e.g. Australians), most others do as you say, but this really depends on the nature of the activities performed in Thailand, in particular if it falls under the definition of work and a regular salary comes from a Thai based employer.

However, as we all know, immigration officials interpret the rules anyway they see fit, depending on the border crossing. Consistency is not what they are used to, and we all know that.

Therefore, the immigration officers in the OP's case may or may not have been correct in asking him for a WP. However, it is more likely that a WP will be requested if the holder of a non-B spends very little to no time outside of Thailand (aside from the obligatory 90 day border runs) and that they are working in Thailand, whereas someone who spends some of their time inside Thailand and comes and goes regularly but also spends a considerable amount of time travelling or alternatively, just uses the non-B visa for some occasional business meetings wouldn't be asked for a WP.

Many countries have business visas like the 1-year non-B that Thailand offers including China for example, and they mostly don't assume that you are working there either - in fact, I don't think a work permit can be issued to a business visa holder in China although I'd have to check. The business visas are designed for a purpose, whereas 90-day non-Bs, which are extended for a year (or occasionally 2 years for BOI investors) are obviously designed for those employed in Thailand and those on 1-year extensions should expect to be asked for WPs.

Many occasional business travellers, particularly those just coming for conferences and casual discussions for a couple of days or so enter Thailand on 30-day visa exemptions and since they don't earn any income from Thai sources, they only come from time to time and don't stay more than a few days or occasionally a week or two they are OK. I know many people who do this and no way would they go to the trouble of getting a non-B, especially when a visa exemption more than covers their stays and a conference etc. wouldn't be too happy about doing what it sees as unnecessary paperwork.

But anyway, as always immigration has the right to ask a traveller what his/her purpose of entry is. I don't get it why most foreigners seem to think that a Thai immigration officer isn't supposed to ask you questions and if he/she does, it's bad news. No it isn't. It should be normal that they ask some questions to ascertain the purpose of entry. Most people like the OP who have a multi non-B should be able to explain what they are doing if asked and will be OK.

I heard this a while ago via our corp lot who have lots of dealings will immigration and the rumour was if you come to Thailand on a "B" visa the sponsoring entity will be required to arrange a work permit for you, it could be the temporary one or something longer dependent on the circumstances

In fact some MNC require this if your visiting their offices for "meetings"

Edited by Soutpeel
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There have been other reports of people holding a multiple entry non-b visa being asked for a work permit. Most have been able to enter after giving a good explanation on what they are doing here.

A non-b visa issued for business purposes is for frequent business travelers it is not meant to be used for living here.

You could get a visa exempt entry after your next 90 day entry ends. You will only get 15 days at a border crossing unless your are from a G7 country. After you get a the visa exempt entry it can be extended at an immigration office for 30 days for a fee of 1900 baht.

I am on a non-B multi entry with no work permit yet. I also do not source my income from Thai sources but do conduct business here. At some point I may start sourcing income here and requesting a work permit, but so far have not had any need to do so.

In the meantime, coming and going has been no problem and I have not been asked for anything - if anything, I have often volunteered information to immigration at such checkpoints as Mae Sot and Nong Khai, where I regularly enter and exit the country and they have always been delighted and curious about what I do - I speak and read/write fluent Thai, which seems to help. While I do use my visa for de-facto residence in Thailand and I think that's OK, I do travel to neighboring countries often enough and stay away from Thailand for at least a few days at a time that it's clear I'm a regular business traveller rather than staying 90 days, exiting then coming back the same day. That I only did in the past when I was working here with a work permit but even in those days I didn't carry my work permit with me and I also travelled outside of Thailand for pleasure a couple of times during the validity of the visa during holidays so there was never an issue either.

I would imagine that I wouldn't have any issues in my case? Recently I've barely managed more than about a month in Thailand uninterrupted, due to regular travel to Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam, as well as one trip to China and I'm heading to Myanmar for at least a week in the next 1-2 weeks as well.

As it stands this is the best visa for my situation and once it comes time to renew it, I'll be heading back home to get a new one, unless I were to be offered a Thai based job that is eligible for an extension of stay in the meantime, but even in that event I'll only go for the extension on my last 90-day entry after the visa expires. Reason being I want to know if I can last in the job because as we both know, an extension of stay ends when the work ends, while a visa does not. Hence it's safer to remain legally on a non-B multi, get a work permit, exit/re-enter Thailand when the 90 day period is up to get a new permission to stay, doing so when you don't have to work, say during a public holiday period or a weekend and then once you've been in the job for 2-3 months you should know if you like it and they will extend your stay for a year at immigration, subject to minimum salary requirements etc. I haven't had to do that recently, but I'm just saying that's what I'd do. The extension of stay I'd only go for during the last 90 day period for the reasons I've outlined above, as a fail-safe.

my situation is pretty much the same, I have a non-B multiple now for almost ten years. never every have I been asked for a work permit. the non-B has nothing to do with holding a work permit. it just actually means you are required to travel a lot for business purpose.

Indeed that#s what I do, like you, I almost never have been staying the full 90 days in all those years, sometimes just for days before leaving the country and returning again days or weeks later.

I have a registered business in my home country and can prove through my plethora of immigration stamps in all Asian and sometimes even South-American countries that I have to travel extensively.... exactly this is what I would tell to an Immi-officer if something like what the OP experienced happens to me.

on the other hand I almost never use land-borders. the last time must have been 3 years ago or so at Sadao / Kayu Bukit Hitam, where I had a pleasant short chitchat with the Immi-officer

That's right, the non-B multi entry is intended for business purposes, it even says so right there on the Thai consulate/embassy websites in various countries, such as Australia.

I think what confuses some people (and perhaps even some immigration officers) is that for some reason, the business and work categories of visas have not been separated. There is a 90-day non-B visa, which although it could be used for business purposes is only 90 days and single entry, hence may not fit the needs of most travellers on business, therefore a 1-year visa is the one that is generally requested and granted to eligible persons. The 90-day visa is usually used for those coming to work in Thailand to enter the country before an extension of stay is granted. Again, the Thai consulate/embassy websites specifically mention this as well.

However, it would make more sense to split up these visas and create a new category like China has done. Over there a "Z" visa is issued for work purposes. It says 000 days on it, but actually you have to convert it within 30 days of arrival in China to what's known as a "residence permit" for the purposes of employment, valid for 6 months, 1 year or possibly longer, depending on local rules and possibly any bilateral privileges depending on your nationality. A work permit must also be applied for.

The "M" visa is a business visa for business purposes issued to those who intend to go to China for commercial and trade activities and can be issued for various periods starting from 30 days, 90 days, 1 year with 90 day stays etc. It is probably the closest equivalent of the Thai non-B multi entry.

The "F" visa is similar but I think it's now used for those who intend to go to China for exchanges, visits, study tours and other activities. Formerly the F visa covered both the activities in the "M" visa, and the "F" visa's current purposes.

I also hold a 1-year "M" visa for China, which allows for 90-day stays per entry and is essentially exactly the same visa as the Thai non-B multi entry as it was issued for the same sort of purpose.

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  • 1 month later...

Thank you everyone for your feedback and suggestions.

They are certainly helpful.

Everything went fine at the border on the visa run.

Again, I appreciate all of your responses and suggestions.

Your knowledge on the situation is very much appreciated!

Br.

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