The majority of foreign nationals are able to enter Thailand on a visa exemption stamp.
This means that you get a stamp at the immigration desk that allows you to stay for 30 days.
Please note that until the end of March 2023 you will get a 45-day stamp upon entry. This initiate has been put in place to boost tourism.
Okay, so now you're clear on how long you can stay when you arrive without a visa, what if you want to stay for 6 weeks, or 2 even months?
In this case, you can apply for a Tourist Visa.
In this FAQ guide, I'll answer all common queries regarding the Thailand Tourist Visa, both single and multiple entry.
1. Where can I get a Tourist Visa?
A Tourist Visa can be obtained from a Thai embassy or consulate in your home country, or a country outside of Thailand, if you live abroad or are already traveling.
You can also apply via the E-Visa online system. Indeed, some embassies may no longer accept applications for Tourist Visas and instead require you to apply online.
The E-Visa is delivered via email. You can then print it out and present it to immigration on arrival.
What different types of tourist visa are there?
A. Single entry
The Single Entry Tourist Visa is valid for 3 months from its date of issue. It allows a single stay of a maximum of 60 days.
B. Multiple entry
The Multiple Entry Tourist Visa is valid for 6 months from its date of issue.
It allows an unlimited number of entries within the 6-month validity of the visa. Each entry allows a maximum stay of 60 days.
For example, if you leave Thailand on the 59th day of your stay and re-enter the country a day later, you will be stamped in for a further 60 days.
What documents do I need to get the Tourist Visa?
The requirements may vary slightly between country, but this is usually what's required from your local embassy.
- A completed visa application form with two recent passport type photos attached. The form can be downloaded from your local Thai embassy website.
- Your passport must have a minimum 6 months remaining validity, and at least two blank pages – this is so your visa can be added to the passport, and for entry/exit stamps when entering and leaving Thailand.
- If you reside in a country but are not a citizen of that country, then you will be required to show a visa or residence card that permits you to stay. You will also be required to show evidence of where you live, by way of utility bill, bank account statement, or driving license.
- Two recent passport size photographs. You can get these done at a photo booth (in a mall or store) or at some print services shops.
- Confirmation of travel (flight tickets).
- Proof of accommodation in Thailand: this can be a copy of your hotel booking or a letter from the family or friend you are staying with.
- Copy of bank statement to show proof of earnings. This requirement will differ between countries, and differs for the single and multiple entry visas. For example, for a Single Entry Tourist Visa from a US Thai embassy, you will need a copy of your bank statement showing $700 per person and $1,500 per family. For a Multiple Entry Tourist Visa, you will need a copy of your bank statement for the last 6 months showing a minimum balance of $7,000 (every month).
Thailand's E-Visa System
If you are applying online through the E-Visa system, you will require the following documentation:
- Passport or travel document with a validity of not less than 6 months.
- Photograph taken within the past six months.
- Evidence of travel to Thailand (air ticket paid in full).
- Evidence of adequate finance (20,000 Baht per person and 40,000 Baht per family).
Please note that you are not required to submit any supporting documents in person at a Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate after completing the E-Visa application. Once approved, a confirmation e-mail will be sent through and you can print a copy of the confirmation e-mail to present to airline and Thai Immigration officials.
You can apply online here: https://www.thaievisa.go.th
Historically, Thailand's online systems have always fallen way short of expectations, with browser compatibility issues, bugs, broken links, etc., but the new visa system is working pretty well.
For those who deem themselves digitally challenged, there is a comprehensive user manual. This manual is also available as a series of how-to videos, which are very helpful. You can find the manual here.
How much does a Thai Tourist Visa cost?
The cost varies between country, but here is the cost for the US and UK:
- US: Single – $40. Multiple Entry – $200
- UK: Single – £30. Multiple Entry – £150
How long does it take to process a Tourist Visa?
If you attend the Thai embassy in person, the process will take around 5 working days. If you apply by mail, the process will take a minimum of 15 days.
Applying online will take 6-10 working days.
This is a general guideline and will differ between countries, and may be longer or shorter depending on how busy the embassy/consulate is.
I would personally allow 2 weeks if applying in person or online, and 3 weeks if applying by mail. This will ensure you get your visa before your flight date.
When is my Tourist Visa valid from?
The Single Entry Tourist Visa is valid 3 months from date of issue, and the Multiple Entry Tourist Visa is valid for 6 months from date of issue.
When you enter Thailand, you will be stamped in for 60 days.
Note: The expiry date of the visa shows on the visa sticker as ‘ENTER BEFORE'. When you enter Thailand, you will receive a rectangular stamp in your passport stating your date of entry and the ‘ADMITTED UNTIL' date. This date will be exactly 60 days after your date of entry
What happens if I leave Thailand before my 60-day stay is up?
If you leave prior to your 60-day stay ending, the remaining days will be forfeited.
If you think you will want to leave Thailand and re-enter, you should get a Multiple Entry Tourist Visa.
The Multiple Entry Tourist Visa is valid for 6 months from date of issue. You are allowed unlimited entries within the 6-month period of the visa. If you exit Thailand, as long as you re-enter before the visa expires, you will be stamped in for a further 60 days.
Can I extend my visa inside Thailand?
For those who want to extend their stay in Thailand, you can extend the 60-day Single Entry Tourist Visa by 30 days at a local Immigration Office. The fee for the extension is 1,900 Baht.
Under the Multiple Entry Visa, you can extend one of the 60-day stays by a further 30 days. The cost is the same.
Under the Multiple Entry Tourist Visa, by saving the 30-day extension for your final entry, you can accumulate almost 9 month's stay in Thailand.
Can I cancel my visa and get a refund?
No. The visa fee is non-refundable.
Can't I just do border runs instead of getting a Tourist Visa?
Because you are granted 30 days stay on arrival in Thailand, in theory you could just leave over a land border after 30 days and return the same day, activating a further 30 day's stay.
This is known as a border run. People used to stay in Thailand for years just going back and forth over the border.
However, the current rule is that if you enter Thailand over land without a visa, you are allowed a maximum of two 30-day entries within any rolling 12-month period.
With a Multiple Entry Tourist Visa, you can go in an out as many times as you want within the validity of the visa.
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