Embassy official Orawan Heemmamhad confirmed to the Phuket Gazette that the embassy in the Malaysian capital stopped issuing 12-month business visas late last year.
“It is the Kuala Lumpur embassy policy not to issue 12-month non-immigrant B visas anymore. Now we issue only three-month non-immigrant B visas,” she said.
“We suggest that people apply for a one-year permit-to-stay in Thailand instead,” Ms Orawan said.
However, an official at the Royal Thai Consulate at Penang confirmed that there was no change in their policy for issuing the expat-popular business visas there.
“We are still issuing 12-month non-immigrant B visas for applicants who have previously been issued a 12-month non-imm B visa and are applying for a new one,” the official said.
“However, we will not grant a person a 12-month B visa if the person is applying for their first-ever 12-month non-imm B visa and there is less than six months left on their work permit.
“That said, if the person has already had a 12-month non-imm B visa and has had a work permit valid for the past 12 months, we will grant that person a 12-month non-imm B visa,” the consulate official added.
A staffer at the popular Thai Visa Service, which runs visa run services to Penang twice a week, said, “To be issued a 12-month non-immigrant B visa, applicants should go to Penang and get their three-month non-immigrant B visa first, then return to Thailand and have their work permit extended to last one year.
“They can then return to Penang and be issued a 12-month non-immigrant B visa, and come back to Thailand and work for the rest of the year,” she said.
“Of course, when applying for their second [or subsequent] 12-month non-imm B visa, applicants will need to prepare the same documents that were required when they applied for their first 12-month non-imm B,” she added.
For a full list of the documents required by the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs, click here.
However, without a 12-month permit-to-stay, expats will need to make “visa runs” to exit and re-enter Thailand every 90 days, the visa run staffer noted.