Get the Right Thailand Travel Visa Before You Go

"A Bought Thailand Travel Visa Gives 60 Days Travel but the Free Thailand Visa Grants Just 30 Days"

Only a very few nationalities are required to obtain a Thailand visa before arriving in Thailand.

If you are resident of a country that people love to flee (e.g. North Korea) then you'll need to apply for your Thailand visas in your home country.

Consult your local Thai Embassy or Consulate if you are unsure.

Either way, you'll need a visa to enter Thailand. Long gone are the days when you could swim across the Mekong for a day trip into Laos.

Step by Step to Your Thailand Travel Visa

You should have a general idea of how long you want your trip through Thailand will be. Keep in mind that most people stay a lot longer than anticipated.

I went to Thailand on a 30 day visa and stayed nearly four years.

It's an infectious place and everyone who travels to Thailand becomes marked with that unknown undercurrent that pervades the country.

I call it Jeraporn Mahattananusorn.

Be careful of her. She is beautiful, intoxicating and may become an addiction you cannot break for a lot longer than you ever thought.

Then there was this damn Video:

  • Check if You Need to Get a Thailand Travel Visa in the First Place

If you plan on staying longer than 30 days then you'll need to decide which type of visa you're going to apply for.

There are several different visas available and it's important to choose the right one.

Choosing the Appropriate Thailand Travel Visa

Documents You’ll Need to Supply:

  • A Passport Valid for at Least 6 Months

Remember that you will need at least 6 months validity on your passport to get into any country.

If you arrive in Thailand with 6 months on your passport, then you wont be allowed into any other country like Laos, Cambodia or Vietnam.

They also demand a minimum of six months validity on your passport.

Best to renew it if you have anything less than a year left on your passport. Don't give them any excuse to turn you away at the border.

  • Completed Visa Application Form

Print it out, fill it out and include it in your Thailand travel visa application.

Download the Thailand Visa Application Form Here.

  • Two passport Sized Photographs

Make sure your pictures aren't more than 6 months old. They should fit snugly in the space provided on the application form but they accept almost any photograph as long as it looks like you.

  • Copy of Your Travel Itinerary

If you're going to Thailand with a tour Group, just include a copy of the itinerary. If not, just write down when and where you plan to enter the country and list a few cities and places you plan to visit.

This is not a big deal so don't fret if you don't have an Itinerary written in Stone. Just make something up if you have to.

If you plan on mailing your application to the Thai Embassy or Consulate, take special note below.

  • Payment of the Application Fee

You must pay for your Thailand travel visa in the local currency (Baht). They accept cashier's checks from your bank and cash.

Choose appropriate means of mailing your application, which must include all the above as well.

  • Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope

Just include an envelope of the same size and with the same amount of pre-paid postage included in the application.

What Thailand Travel Visas Are Available?

  • The 30 Day Visa Issued Upon Arrival

If you plan on staying in Thailand less than 30 days then you don't need to apply for a visa at a Thai Embassy or Consulate.

The immigration official at the border crossing or airport where you arrive will issue you this visa at no charge.

There is a small risk that you might not get the visa. The immigration officials have the power to deny you entry into Thailand if you do not hold an onward bound flight ticket as well as proof that you have the funds to pay for the duration of your stay in Thailand.

I, nor anyone I know, has been refused entry into Thailand because based on these criteria. But it's a rule worth mentioning because they can refuse you entry into the country. That would suck.

That is the advantage of applying for your Thailand travel visa at a Thai embassy before you fly all the way over. If you get your visa through your local embassy or consulate, you are virtually guaranteed entry into the country as long as you can supply a few things.

  • A 60 Day Thailand Travel Visa

This one is Issued only at Thai Embassies and Consulates. I always get this one because it's only $40USD and it gives me peace of mind and time to well...take my time.

I get 60 days in Thailand with an option to extend the visa to 90 days with a simple trip to the Immigration department in Bangkok.

Just remember...

Once you have been issued your Thailand travel visa, you then have 90 days to land in Thailand to activate it or it will expire.

  • The Multiple Entry Non-Immigrant Visa

This full page Visa is difficult to qualify for, but worth the effort. The non-immigrant visa is essential if your employer in Thailand will be seeking a work permit for you. or if you plan to conduct any business affairs or extend your stay for any reason.

You will still have to leave the country every 60 days but multiple entry allows you to turn right around after crossing the Thai border to return immediately.

You won't have the hassle of visiting a Thai embassy or filling out any forms.

You can't do this with the 30 day visa issued upon arrival. You must leave the country after 30 days. You will be allowed to return immediately and get another another 30 days visa, but you can do this only once.

After the next visa expires, you'll be required to wait 90 days before you can enter Thailand again.

Just make sure the overworked immigration officer doesn't stamp you in on a 30 day visa. He / She should stamp you into the country under a 60 day validity.

It happens so... don't let it happen to you.

How To Extend Your Visa Once Your In Thailand

You can extend your tourist visa while in Thailand at the Immigration Bureau. Thirty-day extensions are usually allowed.

The Immigration Bureau is located at:

Soi Suan Phlu,
Located just off the South end of Sathorn Road,
Ph. 022 873 101

They are open Monday to Friday from 08:30am - 16:30pm as well as on Saturdays from 08:30am until Noon.

Even though the Immigration Bureau remains open until 4:30pm, they only accept Visa Extension Applications in the mornings between 08:30am and 11:30pm.

Be early and you'll wait less time for approval from the Thai Immigration Officials.

Most Tourist visas are approved but denial is subject to the discretion of the Thai authorities. So don't leave it until the last day before your visa expires to apply for an extension.

You can expect to wait an hour or 2 and pay some $40USD for an extension on most visas.

The 30 day visa is extendable by 15 days but the Tourist Visa can be extended for 1 month and for a much lower fee.

You Cannot Renew Your Thailand Travel Visa in Country

If anyone tells you they can get you a new visa or even an extension done for you, they're either lying to you or badly misinformed.

The only legal way to get a new visa is to physically leave the country. The only way to extend your visa legally is through the Thai government at the Immigration Bureau.

You'll see ads for "Private Visa Extension" services in many places. It seems that the Thai Government allows these companies to advertise in major publications yet will deport you if you're caught using the service.

Can I Work While I'm There?

No. None of the above visas allow you to work legally in Thailand. You are not permitted to work for money or conduct any business transactions unless you hold a valid work permit.

Your employer in Thailand will provide you with supporting documents to prove you are indeed sponsored by a legitimate company in Thailand. But you'll need to get hired first.

If You Get Hired By a Thai Employer Before You Leave Your Home Country...

  1. Get The Business To Mail You The 'Certificate Of Sponsorship' Form
  2. Take This Document Plus All Other Required Documents To A Local Thai Embassy.
  3. Fill Out An Application For A Thai Non-Immigrant Visa.
  4. Apply For Work Permit Once In Thailand.

If You Get Hired By a Thai Employer After You Arrive in Thailand...

  1. Get The Proof of Sponsorship Form.
  2. Leave Thailand's borders for a Neighboring Country.
  3. Take The Sponsorship Form Plus All Other Required Documents To the Local Thai Embassy.
  4. Fill Out An Application For a Thai Non-Immigrant Visa.
  5. Apply For a Work Permit Once You Return to Thailand.

If You Overstay Your Thailand Travel Visa

If you overstay your Thailand visa then get it taken care of quickly. You'll either have to leave the country or try to extend your visa at the Government Immigration Office.

To be honest, just leave the country as soon as you can. If you are caught on overstay while trying to leave the country, then you'll just be fined 200baht per day of overstay and sent on your way.

However, if you are caught on overstay while in country, you will be arrested, detained at the immigration detention center and remain there until you can produce a flight ticket out of Thailand.

Once you get that, you will then be deported regardless of your excuse.

"I forgot", has never worked.


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