Entering a country isn’t a walk in the park these days. Having to deal with visas while traveling can be intimidating. Every country has different rules, prices and documentation you must have before or on arrival.
I’ll give you your need to know info on visas for visiting Thailand. I will also go into detail on visa extensions and visa runs.
Most likely you will be entering Thailand on a tourist visa which means you will receive a stamp or document on arrival at the airport. This will say you can enter Thailand for 15 to 30 days as a tourist depending on what country you are from.
If you are more comfortable having your visa ahead of time you can go to the Thai embassy closest to you and obtain one that way.
The most popular visa people enter Thailand with is a tourist visa. Thailand is one of the biggest tourist destinations in the world! Due to this, they have a revolving door of people entering immigration from all different nationalities and countries. Thailand relies on tourism as a huge source of their income.
You can enter Thailand on a tourist visa for 15-30 days depending on what country you are from. A tourist visa is possible for extension for another 30 days after filling out paperwork and being approved at the Thai embassy.
Many countries are exempt which means there is no cost for a tourist visa on arrival! Later in this post I will list the countries that do not have to pay for a visa on arrival. If you are not an exempt tourist, the visa will cost 30 USD. This is always subject to change so please check with the Thai embassy online before hand. If you plan to extend your tourist visa it will end up costing 1900 baht which is 60 USD.
This visa is for those who plan to do business in Thailand. You will need to be employed or sponsored by a Thai company and will be allowed to stay in Thailand on this visa for 90 days of single entry or 1 year for multiple entries.
You must be granted a work permit before arrival. The visa fee is 2,000 Baht for single-entry with three-month validity and 5,000 Baht for multiple entries with one-year validity.
If you plan to study in Thailand, then you will need to apply for an education visa. When entering on an educational visa you will be able to stay in Thailand for up to 90 days for single-or 1-year multiple entries. Although you can use the same visa for up to a year, it has to be extended every 90 days at certain Thai immigration offices.
The visa currently costs 2,000 baht but check with your local Thai embassy as this may vary. The cost of each 90 day extension is currently 1,900 baht.
Both times I have entered into Thailand by air, neither have asked for proof of financial means but that does not mean it won’t happen to you. If the embassy says it’s what they want on the website, then they are allowed to ask you for it on arrival. You can chance it considering most tourist do not get asked for proof of finances or exist flights, but this is at your own risk.
In order to get a visa on arrival you must be on the list of countries below. You will also need to make sure your passport is valid, and you must give an address in Thailand. This can be a hotel, hostel, apartment or place of stay when arriving to Thailand. Thailand likes you to also have a confirmed return ticket to show that you are flying out of Thailand on your approved 15-or 30-day stamp.
Lastly, a fee of 2,00 baht is payable upon entry and is subject to change without notice. It must be paid in cash and of Thai currency. Although I have never had to show recognition of this nor have I had to pay and neither have a lot of my friends it is always a good idea to follow the rules in case, they decided to check.
If you are not on the list for visa on arrival it is important to go to the nearest Thai embassy prior to your holiday to get a visa sorted ahead of time.
List of countries eligible for the Visa on Arrival:
15. Papua New Guinea
17. San Marino
18. Saudi Arabia
Visa exemption allows tourist from certain countries to enter Thailand without a visa. These people can stay a maximum of 30 days of entering Thailand through an international airport or land border checkpoints for neighboring countries. Anyone under visa exemption is only allowed to enter Thailand for tourist purposes.
“Holders of normal passports of the following countries are granted visa-free travel to Thailand for a period of up to 30 days. The exemption is granted at most twice in a calendar year when entering over land or via a sea border but there is no limitation when entering by air.”
55 Countries allowed to enter Thailand under the VISA EXEMPTION RULE:
10. Czech Republic
17. Hong Kong
35. New Zealand
45. Slovak Republic
47. South Africa
52. United Arab Emirates
53. United Kingdom
54. United States
Overstaying your visa is illegal and can end up costing more money then over staying is worth. Major consequences can occur if you do not leave Thailand on the designated day your passport stamp says. If your passport is stamped to leave Thailand January 4th, then you must have transportation booked out of the country before or on January 4th.
Overstaying your visa a couple of days isn’t going to hurt you or put you in jail, a lot of people have over stayed shot periods of time and had to pay a fine but major consequences can occur if you overstay for an extended period of time.
I entered Thailand on a tourist visa for 30 days. When it came time to extend, I went to the Koh Samui immigration office, filled out paperwork, paid 1900 baht and waited for an approval stamp allowing me 30 more days in Thailand.
You will need to have two copies of your passport page as well as 1 passport photo to glue to your application. Since I was staying on Koh Phangan, the easiest location I could extend was at the Koh Samui office, depending on where you are in Thailand will depend on where you can extend your visa.
Find out which Thai embassies you can extent at here
A visa run is the journey towards a neighboring country where a foreigner (whether tourist or professional) needs to apply for a visa to stay legally back in that kingdom. Basically you need to hop boarders for a few days and reenter back into Thailand.
You must show a confirmed flight leaving Thailand within the 30 days of entry. You will also need to show a bank statement or cash of 10,000 baht so they know you are financially stable. It is a good idea to have at least 2,000 baht with you when entering on visa exemption by land in the south of Thailand.
Many people have reported having a fee levied on them when crossing the border. I did not have this problem any of the 3 times I entered Thailand from Malaysia but again, it is at your own risk of what you want to do.
With Malaysia being your cheapest option, you can chose to do your visa run in either Penang or Kuala Lumpur. You will be able to access Malaysia by bus, train or flight depending on what you prefer. Check out more information on visa runs to Malaysia here.
Penang, Malaysia was always the destination of choice for me because it was the closest and cheapest option at the time. Coming from Koh Phangan, I would take a boat and bus ride to Penang and spend 2 night waiting for my visa approval.
Penang is probably one of the best places to do your run because of its unique little city and its unforgettable food. Penang has some of the best food I have had in Asia, it also offers great street art and a nice night life to make a little holiday out of your boarder hop.
Others have done visa runs in Cambodia, Loas and Myanmar. Find out more information on visa runs to these locations here.
I hope this information was helpful for those of you heading to Thailand! It is surely a place you will keep wanting to come back too if you don’t already find yourself wanting to live there after visiting!