How to Get a Thai Tourist Visa
Long term travel takes a lot of preparation. Besides the more exciting aspects of planning a trip to Thailand, we also had to figure our how to legally stay in the country for as long as possible. Trying to find information about how to get a Thai tourist visa can be a very stressful and confusing experience. After researching the several available types, we decided to go the route of obtaining a triple entry tourist visa.
The requirements for tourist visas change periodically and government websites can be confusing and sometimes contain conflicting information. To help make it easier for you than it was for us, here is everything you need to know to get a Thai tourist visa.
Visa Exempt Stamp
If you have hold a passport from one of the countries on Thailand’s list of tourist visa exempt countries or territories, then you do not need a visa to enter the country. If you plan to stay less than 30 days and are traveling by air, or less than 15 days if traveling by land, you can simply get a passport stamp that will remain valid for your trip. (If you hold a passport from a country with a bilateral agreement on visa waivers you can extend your visit to 30 days if entering the country by land.)
* As of August 29th 2014, for 1900 THB (60 USD) you can extend your visa exempt stamp for 30 days (previously only 7 days) if you hold a passport from: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bahrain, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UAE, United Kingdom, USA and Vietnam.
*As of May 2014, visa runs on a visa exempt stamp are no longer allowed. After your visa free period expires, you must apply for a tourist or other visa. (You cannot get two stamps in a row.)
Single Entry Tourist Visa
This is the easiest visa to obtain and can be applied for through a Thai embassy or consulate in your home country or in a foreign country. With a single entry tourist visa, you can stay in Thailand for 60 days with the option to extend for an additional 30 days if you visit an immigration checkpoint in Thailand. For a list of checkpoints, reference the Thailand immigration website.
To apply for a single entry tourist visa you will need:
- Your passport with at least 6 months validity and at least one full blank visa page
- One visa application form completely filled out. USA, UK, Australia
- A copy of a recent bank statement or evidence of adequate funds (700 USD per person and 1,500 USD per family) Make sure your full name is visible on your statement
- Two 2″ x 2″ passport photos taken within 6 months
- A copy of a round trip ticket or itinerary outlining your departure from Thailand within 60 days
- 40 USD processing fee by cashiers check or money order made out to “The Royal Thai Embassy”
The requirements for a tourist visa may vary between countries and at different embassy locations. Check the links in the resources section at the bottom of this post for up-to-date requirements. A quick Google search for the nearest Thai Consulate will also help you find the current requirements.
If you are applying in person, you will most likely have to leave your passport for a day or two for processing. The consulate will give you instructions on when to return to pick up your passport and new visa.
Tip: It is always good to have a passport that has a photo that still looks like you. If your appearance has changed significantly since you were issued your passport then I recommend that you consider getting a new one. I had some trouble getting into Beijing earlier this year because I was traveling on a passport that was eight years old and I look quite a bit different than when it was issued.
Double and Triple Entry Tourist Visa
If you want to stay longer than the maximum 90 days that you can squeeze out of a single entry tourist visa, you can apply for a double or triple entry tourist visa. This visa will allow you to leave the country, and upon return, automatically have another 60 more days on that entry.
You can apply for a double or triple entry in the same manner that you would apply for a single entry tourist visa. However there are additional requirements and you will need:
- 40 USD per additional entry, ie. 80 USD for double entry and 120 USD for triple entry
- A signed letter in business format describing your itinerary and all proposed dates of entry and departure
In the past year, the Thai Consulate in Washington D.C. has been tightening up its visa application process.
*We have heard stories from some travelers who have had little to no trouble getting their triple entry tourist visa and from others who have been turned away or had a much harder time. If you are confused about what documents are required and how to get them, or if you have been denied a visa, leave a comment below and I will offer my advice.
*Double entry visas require that you use both entries within a period of 90 days (3 months) from the date of issue, while the triple entry visa must be used within 180 days (6 months) from the date of issue.
Extending Your Tourist Visa
A tourist visa valid for 60 days can be extended for an additional 30 allowing you to get 90 days out of each entry. You can apply for an extension at a Thai immigration checkpoint.
You will need to bring:
- 2″ x 2″ photo
- Thai visa extension request form TM 7 (Printed out double sided)
- Photocopies of the passport photo page, visa page, visa stamp page, departure card
- Your complete address of residence
- 1900 THB fee (60 USD)
If you have a multiple entry tourist visa, you’re able to extend each entry. In theory this can give you a total allowable time of 270 days (9 months) in Thailand if you obtain the three entry maximum, but you will always have to use you third entry before your visa’s expiration date. Be aware that a triple entry visa is valid from the date of issue so try to get your visa issued as close to the beginning of your trip as possible. A 30 day visa extension will start the day after your current visa expires so it does not make a difference when you visit the immigration office to extend.
* Visit the immigration office for an extension at least a week before your tourist visa expires so that you have some time in case they cannot process you that day. DO NOT wait until the last days before your visa expires to visit the immigration office.
* There is a 500 THB (15 USD) per day fine for every day that you overstay your visa. If you are caught by police before you pay your fine, you can be jailed and deported.
Re-Entry Permit For Single Entry Visa and Extension of Stay
If you have a single entry tourist visa with or without an extension of stay and you would like to leave the country and return, then you can apply for a re-entry permit. A re-entry permit can be obtained at an immigration office.
In order to apply, you will need:
- A passport with a valid single entry tourist visa
- Copies of your passport photo page, visa page, and last entry stamp page.
- A completed application for re-entry permit formTM-8
- 2″ x 2″ passport photo
- 1000 THB (30 USD) for a single permit or 3800 THB (120 USD) for multiple re-entries
When you are arriving back in Thailand be sure to write the re-entry permit number on your immigration arrival card (TM card), and make sure that you are stamped in correctly.
ALERTS FROM US EMBASSY:
- We have already received reports of Thai Immigration not allowing some foreigners to enter the Kingdom of Thailand because they had previous overstays even though the foreigner had paid the overstay fine before exiting on their previous stay in Thailand.
- Read more about the new penalties
As of December 2013 the D.C. Consular Office has moved to:
2300 Kalorama Road NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel : (202) 684-8493
Fax : (202) 459-9536
If you feel that I have left out any important information or if you have anything to add, please leave a comment below. Please share any of your personal Thailand visa experiences as well!