Thailand Re-entry Permits: How NOT to Lose Your Thailand Visa

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Are you a long-term visa holder who’s planning on leaving Thailand and needs a re-entry permit? Maybe you’re sitting in the taxi right now heading to the airport. Or worse yet, maybe you’re at the airport scrambling for help. Relax. We have you covered.

If you have at least forty-five minutes to spare before you flight takes off, then I’ll show you how to get your re-entry permit at one of the international airports in Thailand.

And if you have a few weeks or days before your flight leaves, then consider yourself off the hook. You’ll be able to get your re-entry permit ahead of time at one of the immigration offices listed in this guide.

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What is It?

If you have a visa that hasn’t expired and you want to leave and return to Thailand, you’ll need to apply for a re-entry permit before you leave Thailand. A re-entry permit let’s you leave the country without forfeiting your visa. But this doesn’t “pause” your visa. Whether you’re in Thailand or not, the amount of time given to you on your visa still winds down. This process is not for you if you entered Thailand on a visa-exempt stamp or a visa on arrival.

How Many are There?

When you apply for your re-entry permit in Thailand, you’ll have two choices: a single re-entry permit and a multiple-entry permit.

Single Re-entry Permit

With a single re-entry permit, you can leave and enter Thailand just one time with your current valid visa. If you need to leave Thailand after that, you’ll have to apply for a new re-entry permit. The cost for a single re-entry permit is 1,000 baht.

Multiple Re-entry Permit

With a multiple re-entry permit, you can leave and enter Thailand as many times as you like with your valid visa. The cost for a multiple re-entry permit is 3,800 baht.

If you’re leaving Thailand in an emergency, or for a yearly vacation, then getting a single re-entry permit makes the most sense. But if you plan on leaving Thailand more than four times with your valid visa then you should get a multiple re-entry permit to save you money.

Who Needs One?

When you first apply for your Thailand visa, you’ll have to choose between getting a single-entry visa or a multiple-entry visa. If you get a multiple-entry visa, then you won’t have to apply for a re-entry permit when leaving Thailand on your valid visa.

who needs a thailand re-entry permit

If your visa is a single-entry visa, then you’ll have to apply for a re-entry permit every time you want to leave and re-enter Thailand on your valid visa.

If you leave Thailand on your single-entry visa without a re-entry permit, immigration officers will void your visa.

The only exception is the Thailand Elite Visa. You don’t have to get the re-entry permit. In addition, every time you re-enter Thailand, you get a visa stamp allowing you to stay in Thailand for one more year.   

Below are a few examples of some typical Thailand visa holders and why they’d need to apply for a re-entry permit.

Tourists

If you came to Thailand on a single-entry tourist visa, and you want to leave the country but plan on returning, you’ll need to apply for a re-entry permit.

Professionals

If you work in Thailand and have one of the non-immigrant work visas, and you want to leave the country for business or pleasure, you’ll need to apply for a re-entry permit.

Retirees

If you’ve retired in Thailand and have a long-term retirement visa, but you want to leave the country to go back home or take a vacation outside of Thailand, you’ll need to apply for a re-entry permit.

Married

If you’re married to a Thai national and have a non-immigrant marriage visa, and you want to leave Thailand to return home or go on vacation, then you’ll need to apply for a re-entry permit.

Other

The above examples are just a few of the typical visa holders who’ll have to apply for a re-entry permit when leaving and returning to Thailand. For more details on every visa type in Thailand, take a look at our in-depth guide to Thailand visas.

Application Process and Costs

To apply for a Thailand re-entry permit, just go to your nearest immigration office or re-entry permit counter at any of the international airports in Thailand.

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thailand re-entry permits

No matter which immigration office or airport you at, getting your re-entry permit is the same unless noted below. Here’s the step-by-step process, with costs and required documents.

  1. Go to the re-entry permit counter
  2. Give the immigration officers your boarding pass, 4×6 cm photo, filled in TM.8 form, photocopies of your passport picture page and valid visa page, and TM.6 departure card
  3. Pay 1,000 baht for a single re-entry permit or
  4. Pay 3,800 baht for a multiple re-entry permit
  5. Get your re-entry permit stamped into your passport

Where to Apply

You can apply for single and multiple re-entry permits at immigration offices and international airports throughout Thailand.

If you have one of the visas mentioned above and you leave Thailand without a re-entry permit, you’ll forfeit your visa and have to get a new one when returning to Thailand.

Immigration Offices

If you want to stay ahead of the game and get your re-entry permit before you go to the airport (smart move), then you can apply for your re-entry permit at any immigration office in Thailand. Here are a few popular locations, followed by a few links to an entire list.

Bangkok

If you’re in Bangkok you can apply for your re-entry permit at the Division 1 Immigration Office in Chaengwatthana (link to Google Map). The office is open Monday through Friday, from 8:30pm to 4:30pm, except on Thai holidays.

Chiang Mai

If you want to apply for your re-entry permit in Chiang Mai, go to Promenada Mall (link to Google Map). The office is open Monday through Friday, from 8:30pm to 4:30pm, except on Thai holidays.

Phuket

If you want to apply for your re-entry permit in Phuket, go to the immigration office in Phuket Town (link to Google Map). The office is open Monday through Friday, from 8:30pm to 4:30pm, except on Thai holidays.

Other Locations

Here’s a map of Thailand Immigration Offices and a list of Thai Immigration Offices.

Airports

If you forgot to get your re-entry permit from an immigration office, or you have to take an emergency flight outside of Thailand, you can apply for a re-entry permit at any of Thailand’s international airports. But you have to be flying out of the country on the same day you apply.

Keep in mind that if you have a connecting flight in Thailand from another airport in Thailand, and you plan on getting your re-entry permit after your connecting flight–at the second airport, you’re really testing your luck if you have a short layover.

Suvarnabhumi Airport

If you’re leaving Thailand from Suvarnabhumi Airport you might want to get there at least three hours before your flight, as the process could take you up to 45 minutes. The re-entry permit counter is located all the way your left in the immigration departure halls. It’s open 24-hours a day.

Note: If you apply for a re-entry permit at Suvarnabhumi Airport, officials considered it an emergency. So you may have to pay a 200 baht admin charge, bringing your cost up to 1,200 baht for a single entry re-entry permit and 4,000 baht for a multiple entry re-entry permit.

Don Mueang Airport

If you’re leaving Thailand from Don Mueang Airport, getting a re-entry permit is quite easy. The process shouldn’t take longer than 10 minutes if there’s no one else waiting. The re-entry permit counter is located after passport control but before security. It’s open 24-hours a day.

Chiang Mai Airport

If you’re leaving Thailand from Chiang Mai, you can get your re-entry permit at Chiang Mai Airport after you check in for your flight. In the international departures area, you’ll find podiums where immigration officers can help you apply for your re-entry permit.

Phuket Airport

If you’re leaving Thailand from Phuket, you should get your re-entry permit before you go to the airport, at the immigration office in Phuket Town (see section above on Phuket Immigration Office). There have been mixed messages online whether or not you can get a re-entry permit at the airport. So to play it safe, go to Phuket immigration.

Final Thoughts

Applying for a re-entry permit in Thailand is one of the easier immigration matters to handle–as long as you do it ahead of time at an immigration office. You can probably get away with applying for a re-entry permit at the airport, but if you’re worried about time, get it done beforehand.

John Wolcott is the global editor for ExpatDen. He's a New Jersey native who now lives in Bangkok with his wife and two daughters.

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