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How to get a visa to visit Thailand

Complicated Thai visa requirements made easy!
Updated: November 6th 2013 | Thailand travel guides


about the thai visa - who needs a visa? - visa on arrival - long-stay visas - tips

Understanding Thai visa requirements


Let's keep the Thai visa process simple to avoid confusion. While there are many types of Thai visas e.g. work, marriage etc this page will mainly deal with visas for tourists who want to visit Thailand to travel or for a holiday..

Basically a Thai visa is a big paper sticker that you have in your passport allowing you to enter Thailand for a fixed period. You get this from your nearest Thai embassy or consulate (a few countries can get this on arrival - more on this later)

The other type of "visa" is actually just an entry stamp into Thailand that many countries can obtain when they arrive in Thailand either by land, sea or air. This type of "visa" is also known as a "visa free" stamp and shows your date of entry and also only allows you a fixed number of days in Thailand.

Now let's find out what nationalities from countries can enter Thailand, for how long and whether they need a visa or not!


What countries need a visa to visit Thailand?


The following lists will show you what countries can get free visa days, a free visa on arrival, for how long, or if they can pay for a visa on arrival.

Countries that get 90 days visa free in Thailand

  •  Argentina
  •  Brazil
  •  Chile
  • Peru
  • South Korea

Countries that get 30 days visa free in Thailand
(arriving by plane only. If arriving by land 14 days only!)

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bahrain
  • Canada *
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France *
  • Germany *
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy*
  • Japan*
  • Kuwait
  • Liechtenstein
  • Luxembourg
  • Monaco
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Oman
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Qatar
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • South Africa
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom*
  • United States*

* Nationals of these countries as of 1st November 2013 can now get 30 days visa free on arrival via overland border crossings

Countries that get 90 days visa free in Thailand


(By air, sea or land)
  • Brunei
  • Hong Kong
  • Indonesia
  • Laos
  • Macau
  • Malaysia
  • Mongolia
  • Montenegro *
  • Philippines
  • Russia
  • Singapore
  • Turkey
  • Vietnam

* Montenegro has signed a bilateral agreement with Thailand but it's yet to be implemented

Countries that must pay to get a visa on arrival in Thailand
(visa is for 15 days)

  • Andorra
  • Bhutan
  • Bulgaria
  • China
  • Cyprus
  • Estonia
  • Ethiopia
  • India
  • Kazakhstan
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Maldives
  • Malta
  • Mauritius
  • Oman
  • Romania
  • San Marino
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Taiwan
  • Ukraine
  • Uzbekistan

Country/countries with 14 day visa waiver

Cambodia

Countries that can get a 30 day visa free entry via overland border crossings into Thailand

  • Canada
  • Germany
  • France
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • UK
  • USA

* Visa free days for all other countries crossing by land is 14 days only

For a full update on Thai visa formalities do read the official Ministry of Foreign Affairs Thailand visa services website


Extending a Thai tourist visa & fees


If you arrived by land and obtained a 14 / 30 day free visa stamp then you may only extend by 7 days and it will cost you 1,900* bhat.

If you arrived by air and obtained a 30 day free visa stamp then you may only extend by 14 days for 1,900* bhat.

If you obtained a 60 day Thai visa you may apply for a 30 day extension for 1,900 bhat*

* some immigration offices will differ in their charges slightly.


How much does a Thai tourist visa cost?


If your arrive via plane and are entitled to 30 days free visa then you do not have to pay anything.

If you arrive by land and are entitled to 14 / 30 days free visa then you do not have to pay anything.

If you are applying for a 60 day Thai visa at an embassy or consulate of Thailand then you will need to pay USD $35 approx. The visa fee will change slightly between consulates and embassies in different countries depending on local "administration" or "processing" fees.

See above for visa extension fees. The average Thai visa extension fee is 1,900 bhat.


How long can I stay in Thailand?


Understand that Thailand changes its visa rules at random intervals. The reason for the changes is to prevent foreigners who are illegally working in Thailand from doing so easily. Now that you know this let's see how long an actual tourist can easily stay in Thailand.

Fly in 30 days visa free. Leave Thailand overland. Get a 2 month Thai visa and return to Thailand. Extend the 60 days visa by 30 days. Total = 120 days.

After 120 days you start to enter a gray area.

Thailand implements a 90 days in six months rule. Which is to prevent people taking cheap flights in and out every 30 days to obtain visa free arrivals. This is why overland visa free days were reduced to 14 days aside from the G7 countries. Do note that an actual Thai visa is not counted towards the 90 days in six months rule.

If you are genuinely traveling around South East Asia you should keep the above into account. Thai immigration officials are not stupid. If they see you stayed 120 days in Thailand, then went to Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos or Malaysia and Burma for lengthy periods of time then you should not have a problem.

If however you start racking up 30 days free on arrival stamps mixed with 60 day visas and only two day Malaysia or Cambodia etc stamps before applying for yet another Thai visa then you might well get refused.


What happens if I overstay my Thai visa?


If you stay longer in Thailand than your visa allows then you will be charged 500 bhat per day up to a maximum of 20,000 bhat.

Fines are paid at any immigration office or at the airport.


Can I leave Thailand and return on the same visa?


No. The 30 days free visa stamp, 14 / 30 days overland free visa stamp and the two month Thai visa only allow you to enter Thailand once. If you leave you will have to get a new visa again.

So do choose your visa carefully if you plan several trips through Thailand on your holiday. eg. there's no point in getting a 2 month visa if you only fly in for 1 week then leave for cambodia for 2 weeks before entering thailand for 10 days and then flying out.

Some Thai consulates do however offer two month multi entry visas offering two or more entries into Thailand. This is getting scarce in South East Asia (Vientiane in Laos is rumored to still offer these). If applying from your home country multiple entry visas might still be possible.


Do I need an onwards ticket to enter Thailand?


Technically yes you do. However most Thai immigration officials will not press for it. However it is important to note that if flying into Thailand many airlines will definitely not let you board with out proof of onward travel.

The reason the airlines insist on this is that Thai immigration can place blame on the airlines for not checking first and allowing potentially illegal passengers into Thailand.

If you plan to enter Thailand by land then officially you need proof of onward travel as well. However it's rarely asked for. If worried or if immigration check points start to enforce it then simply buying a cheap bus ticket with a receipt. Just be sure the ticket shows your destination is outside Thailand.

Some people have successfully tried to fake an airline ticket. Do be aware that many airlines are now able to cross check each others flights and can tell if a ticket is genuine or not. However, smaller regional airlines do not often share this information!


Tips on getting a visa for Thailand


  • Do have all your documentation ready when going to apply for a Thai visa.
  • Do have spare passport photos ready
  • Make sure you use the embassy or consulates services and ignore the people outside the main gates pretending to help you. More often than not they will take you to a stall, fill the forms for you, photocopy them and then charge you.
  • If possible find out the embassy or consulates opening hours. Some open for applications in the morning only with visa collections in the afternoon only.
  • If extending your visa make your to bring photocopies of your passport ID page plus all your previous Thai stamps and visas.
  • Do dress respectfully. Though some embassies/consulates are relaxed it's not a right of yours to obtain a visa. Showing up in beach-wear looking for your third visa in row is not a good idea.

Overland border crossings into Thailand




Activities around Bangkok


Prebooking value trips around Bangkok can be done online at quite good rates compared to some local tour operators. Do check out this list of activites around Bangkok which I've selected.


Package Trips around Thailand


Do you want to let the experts plan your trip to Thailand and beyond so you can relax and enjoy yourself. Take a look below for more information to make your trip that bit better:

 


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Getting a visa sticker for Thailand

A Thailand visa sticker
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