People often ask me what is the “best” travel document for someone who wishes to stay in Thailand for the long term. I generally respond that the best travel document is the one that meets the needs of the carrier. That being said, Thai business visas really are the most flexible of all the different immigration options for staying in Thailand. That’s not to say that there is something wrong with Thai education visas and Thai “O” visas, but these two categories of Thai immigration are restricted in such a way that Thai business visas are not.
Thai business visa holder can get a Thai work permit
The right to work legally in the Kingdom of Thailand should not be taken for granted. Obtaining a work permit can be a difficult task and having the wrong visa can lead to complications or completely hamper the ability to obtain a work permit. The Thai “O” non-immigrant visa does not necessarily confer the right to obtain a work permit. If the reason for obtaining an O travel document is based on marriage to a Thai national, it will generally be easier to obtain permission to work with this type of visa. Otherwise, the Ministry of Labor of Thailand is reluctant to issue work permits to those with an O travel document.
The holder of the Education visa has practically no right to obtain a work permit. Exceptions can theoretically be made to this restriction when the visa holder wishes to work part-time in Thailand. In general, it is assumed that this part-time job will be at the institution where the visa holder is studying.
The B visa confers the unambiguous right to request a work authorization document if the labor regulations are respected. This privilege should not be overlooked when choosing a Thai travel document.
The Thai tourist visa
A Thai tourist visa is a great option for those who wish to stay in Thailand for the short term, but it probably should not be used as a long term visa option. One of the main reasons for this is the fact that the tourist visa usually only lasts 2 months with the possibility of an extension for an additional 15 days. Conversely, a Thai business visa has 90 days of continuous validity and if one gets a one-year multiple entry Thai visa then one would have 4 entries of 90 days duration per entry. The Thai business visa can also be extended for up to 1 year of validity in Thailand.