THAI TOURIST VISA GUIDE/ENTRY FAQ
This is a guide for Thai tourist visa or VISA EXEMPT entries only. If you are getting a NON-IMMIGRANT visa of any kind (business, retirement, NGO volunteer, marriage, etc.) then this is probably not really relevant to you.
There are three ways to enter Thailand as a tourist:
1. Visa-exempt: This is available to citizens of various, but mostly Western countries. Visa-exempt entries are limited to two entries per year via land border, unlimited (within reason) for air entries.
2. Thailand visa on arrival: This is required for citizens of several mostly Asian, certain Eastern European and certain Middle-Eastern countries.
3. Thai tourist visa (Type TR visa): This is issued by a Thai embassy or consulate in advance of travel to Thailand. It is available in most countries, and is the only option for citizens of some countries.
What kind of visa do I need, or do I need one at all?
Check HERE: http://thaiembdc.org/visa-exemption-and-visa-on-arrival-2/ If your country of citizenship is NOT on this list, you must obtain a Thai tourist visa from a Thai embassy or consulate in advance of travel.
How long can I stay in Thailand as a tourist?
1. Visa-exempt: 30 days, extendable after arrival to 60 days total.
2. Thailand visa on arrival: 15 days, extendable after arrival to 22 days total.
3. Thai tourist visa/ Tourist (TR) visa: 60 days, extendable after arrival to 90 days total.
NOTE: The entry and exit days are counted as days for your stay, so effectively you get ~2 days less than your “maximum stay” length. Plan your travel accordingly.
NOTE: You cannot stay in Thailand as a tourist for more than 90 days. There is NO LEGAL way around this. (See the section on “How to stay in Thailand six months” below for a “sort-of” work-around).
What are the requirements for a visa-exempt entry?
- – You must be a citizen of the approved countries (see the chart linked above)
- – 6 months passport validity remaining.
- – Proof of 20000 THB (or equivalent) funds. NOTE: Thai immigration officers rarely ask for proof of this, but it certainly can be required.
- – You are limited to two visa-exempt entries by land per year. NOTE: Enforcement on this is hit-or miss, but don’t count on it being ignored by all immigration officers. This policy changed in December 2016 from 15-day land entries to 30-day land entries, but limited to two per year, so you may still see conflicting information on the Internet. Two land entries by year is CURRENT POLICY as of 2018.
- – Proof of exit travel within 30 days of Entry. NOTE: Thai immigration officers rarely ask for proof of this, but it certainly can be required. YOUR AIRLINE will probably require this or you won’t be allowed to board your fight to Thailand. I cannot stress enough that YOUR AIRLINE will probably prevent you from boarding if you don’t have proof of exit travel or a valid Thai visa already in your passport before travel. This could be a NASTY SURPRISE if you don’t have it when you go to check in at the airport before your flight. Do all airlines at all airports do this? No, but there is no way to tell yours does or not. I can say that multiple airlines (including Chinese airlines) originating flights from the USA will require this from my personal experience.
How do I get a Thai tourist visa/ tourist (type TR) visa?
Apply at the Thai embassy or consulate in your country or (for a single-entry TR visa only) or any other Thai embassy or consulate throughout the world. Multiple-entry tourist visas MUST be applied for only in your country of citizenship, or alternatively at a designated embassy for countries that do not have a Thai embassy. You cannot get a TR visa from inside Thailand, it must be done at an embassy or consulate outside the country. The details of application requirements vary by embassy, so contact your local Thai embassy for details. However there are some relative standards. These are SINGLE ENTRY TR visas only. Contact your local embassy for exact requirements, especially if you want a multiple-entry TR visa.
- – Visa application form (available from your local Thai embassy—check the website).
- – Passport with at least 6 months validity.
- – Proof of adequate funds for personal use: Typical requirement is a bank statement showing equivalent of 20,000 Thai baht in any currency (this varies a little by embassy).
- – Two passport photos (not including the one in your passport).
- – Confirmed airline reservation(s) showing entry and exit of Thailand within a 60-day time period (HELPFUL HINT: If you are planning to extend your visa longer than 60 days, buy a “throw away” ticket from Thailand to somewhere else within 60 days of entry—doesn’t matter where and submit that with the paperwork).
- – If doing by mail, postpaid return overnight mail envelope (check with your embassy for
- – Visa application fee, approximately 2000 THB. Varies by embassy.
How do I get a thailand visa on arrival?
Apply at the airport upon arrival in Thailand. Note this is ONLY AVAILABLE to certain
nationalities. There is an application fee and financial statement requirements. Contact your local Thai embassy for details if you need this visa. This is particularly relevant to Indian and Chinese citizens.
How do I get an extension of stay (“visa extension”)?
You can receive a ONE TIME PER ENTRY extension of stay by applying at an immigration police office, located in most major Thai cities. Depends on where, but just figure that the process will take about ½ day of your time. All extensions cost 1900 Thai baht, regardless of the length of extension. You also need a passport photo and photocopies of your passport picture page, current visa, entry stamps, and departure card. Visa-exempt and TR visas get 30 days extension, visa-on-arrival visas get 7 days extension. You MUST EXIT Thailand after your extension is up, you cannot apply for another one during the same entry.
I qualify for visa-exempt entry. I want to visit Thailand for a couple of weeks and then go to Cambodia (or any other country) and then come back to Thailand for another couple of weeks? Can I?
Yes. Upon re-entry to Thailand you will get another visa-exempt entry stamp valid for 30 more days. Do note that you can only officially get two visa-exempt land border entries per year. No limit (within reason) by air.
I got a 60-day single-entry TR visa and want to visit Vietnam (or any other country) 15 days after entry to Thailand. Can I come back to Thailand on the same visa?
No, and yes—with some additional work. The single entry TR visa is only valid for one entry and is voided upon exit of Thailand. However, you CAN buy a re-entry permit that will allow you reenter on the same visa. You must do this before entering the exit immigration queue at the airport. Note that it is possible to do this, but rare for single-entry TR visas to buy this—it’s mostly used by special-purpose non-immigrant visa holders. Cost is 1000 THB for a single reentry or 3800 THB for a multiple re-entry permit.
I want to stay in Thailand three months. How can I?
This is pretty easy. You can get a 60-day TR visa before travel and extend it at an immigration police office after arrival for another 30 days for a total stay of ~90 days. You’ll need to utilize the “throw away flight ticket” method discussed before to qualify for the visa, because you must show proof of exit travel with 60 days of entry to qualify for the visa before travel.
I want to say in Thailand six months. How can I?
You can’t. The longest time you can stay as a tourist is three months (60 days TR visa + 30 days extension). BUT there is a little “sort-of” work around. Get a Multiple-Entry TR visa in your home country (must be done in your home country of citizenship). Time this so it arrives JUST BEFORE YOU PLAN TO TRAVEL. Go to Thailand and get a 30-day extension of stay from an immigration police office. When that expires, leave Thailand on an overnight or day trip. Re-enter Thailand and repeat the process. Go home after your second entry visa extension runs out, as the visa is only valid for six months and it will be expired then. To reiterate, THERE IS NO SIX MONTH STAY TOURIST VISA AVAILABLE.
I want to stay in Thailand forever? How can I?
Your options are a little limited here. There is nothing “casual.”
- – Find employment in Thailand. This is quite difficult as most jobs are not open to “casual” foreigners without other hard ties to Thailand or special skills. Upon offer for employment, your company will get you a Non-immigrant B visa and work permit. The most common job avenue for Westerners is English teacher.
- – Education. Enroll in a government-approved education program (many subjects available). The “type ED visa” available for this is renewable for as long as you are enrolled in school. The school will assist you on getting a visa. Note that Thai language study is being scrutinized by officials due to widespread abuse of this subject to obtain a visa. You will be required to attend class (substantiated by records) and may have a language proficiency test presented when you go to renew your ED visa if you are there for learning Thai language.
- – Find volunteer work for a government-recognized NGO. The NGO will arrange for a Non-immigrant O-A visa and work permit.
- – Retire. This is an option for people over 50 years old that meet financial requirements.
Employment income of any kind (even foreign) is not permitted on this visa. You can get a Non-immigrant O-A visa from any Thai embassy outside of Thailand for this case.
- – Get officially married to a Thai national for a Non-immigrant O visa.
- – “Thailand Elite” – It’s a special paid “benefit” program for high net worth individuals to “buy in” to Thailand. This is simply not practical for most people. Google it if you have bags of money for more info.
- – There are other visa options for special purposes not relevant to this document. Google for more info.
I qualify for visa-exempt entries or TR visas. Can’t I just leave Thailand and come back every 30/60/90 days to stay there forever?
You can, for a while. Eventually the authorities will catch on to this and you will be denied entry. An example of this I know of was denied entry after about one year of back-to-back TR visas, but this is getting more and more difficult all the time.
I want to stay in Thailand longer than 15/22/30/60/90 days than I can with my visa. What happens if I just don’t leave?
This isn’t good. NEVER OVERSTAY. It’s breaking immigration law in Thailand which is a criminal offense.
Here’s what will happen:
- – When you finally exit Thailand, they will catch you overstayed at the airport or other border and fine you 500 Thai baht per day of overstay. They will also mark your passport as overstay, which may prevent you from getting visas from other countries and depending on the length of overstay may prevent you from visiting Thailand again.
- – If you are caught by Thai police as an overstay during any police interaction (ie. Your club where you are partying gets raided by the police, or you are involved in a traffic accident) you will go to jail, be held for an indefinite time until prosecution and finally deported. Thai jail is not a nice place. You will also be banned from entering Thailand for up to 10 years.
- – You probably won’t be able to successfully check in to a hotel while you are in overstay as the hotels have to file reports on all foreigners staying at their property and don’t want heat from the police.
Hopefully this is helpful!