Whether or not you need a visa for Thailand depends on how long you intend to stay, and what you intend to do there: work, retire, volunteer, etc.
But what about children, do they require a visa to enter Thailand for a holiday or stay long term? And what about attending school?
Here's the answer to those questions and more.
Does My Child Need a Visa to Visit Thailand?
It depends on the length of your stay.
Most tourists can visit Thailand on a 30-day exemption. This means you can arrive in Thailand without a visa and be stamped in for 30 days. You must leave within that 30-day period to avoid being on overstay.
Children can also enter under this same exemption.
If you plan on staying longer than 30 days, you should get a tourist visa for each member of your family, including children.
That being said, you can extend your stay legally inside Thailand. An extension of 30 days costs 1,900 Baht at an immigration office. This helps you avoid overstay, and the need for a tourist visa.
A tourist visa lasts for 60 days. A multiple entry option is also available. It lasts for six months, but with a maximum stay of 60 days at any one time. A tourist visa can also be extended inside the country, as discussed above.
Read more on the Tourist Visa here.
What Happens if My Child Overstay His/Her Visa?
Let's say someone in your family falls ill before your flight home and you have to delay your departure. A dicky tummy in Asia is not uncommon. Adults are fined 500 Baht per day for each day they overstay.
Children under 15, however, are not fined for overstay. They do, however, receive an overstay stamp in their passport to indicate that they did not leave before the visa expiration.
Any child over the age of 15 will have to pay the overstay fine.
Is an Overstay Stamp a Problem for a Child ?
One overdue stamp because of a delayed departure caused by illness isn't going to be an issue at all.
However, if your child accrues multiple overstay stamps over a number of trips then immigration will be concerned. Not with the child, though, but with the parents. The parents are obviously in charge of travel arrangements, so if the child overstays, the fault lies with the parents.
Try to avoid overstay. It shouldn't be necessary unless it's an emergency.
Read the full overstay rules here.
Can My Child Get a Long-Stay Visa for Thailand?
Yes. A child can get a long-stay visa.
A typical example would be as the dependent of a parent taking a job in Thailand. The child can obtain entry as a dependent off of the back of the parent's Non Immigrant O Visa status.
Children aged 20 or over cannot be dependents.
The child would first enter Thailand on a single-entry visa, which is valid for 90 days. His/her stay can then be extended for 1-year at a local immigration office, provided there is still 21 days left of visa validity.
In the case that a child is attending school in Thailand, the child can obtain an education (ED) visa from the embassy of their home country. The school will provide a letter confirming the child's place to assist with the application.
In relation to the child's ED visa, the parent can get a single entry Non Immigrant O Visa to accompany the child, and then do a 1-year Guardian Extension inside Thailand. If the parent has a confirmed job, the parent can get a visa based on their employment status.
You're probably wondering “what happens if there are two parents”, so let me quickly address that.
In this case, the wife, for example, can be a dependent on the husband's (who is taking the job) visa. Please note that the Guardian Visa, applied for in Thailand, is for one parent.
To get two of these visas you would need two parents. The Guardian Visa also requires a deposit of 500,000 Baht in a local bank. Two parents with two kids would require a 1 million Baht deposit and their marriage certificate.
Here's a list of documents you can expect to have to provide your local embassy or consulate. Depending on your application, additional documents may be requested.
- Completed application form
- 2 x passport sized photographs
- Birth certificate
- Confirmation of school placement (if applicable)
- Sponsor's confirmation of employment (if applicable
- Copy of sponsor's passport photo page
Does My Child Need to do 90-Day Reporting?
90-day reporting is a requirement of all long-stay visas. This means a visit to immigration once every three months to report your residential address and show some documentation.
The official line for children is: If your children live with you and you already do 90-day reporting, then there is no need for your children to do so too. However, by the time they reach the age of 15, they should start doing it themselves. If you child is over 15, there could be a fine of 2,000 Baht for not reporting (1).
More on 90-day reporting here.