In this completely revised article I try to explain all options currently available to stay in Thailand longer than 29 days. I talk about 29 days, because the arrival day counts as day one effectively reducing the 30 days to a range of 29 days.
So let’s start to elaborate on the Thailand visa requirements
Is this tourist visa Thailand advice good for anybody?
No, it is not. I focus on Western countries. That includes the USA, Canada, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand. If you are not from one of those countries you need to check, whether the same rules apply to you. Best to check it on a Thai government website, where the domain ends with “go.th”.
Travellers from Romania cannot get a 30 day visa exempt stay. Instead they can get a 15 day visa on arrival.
Travellers from Bangladesh can only get a 7 day extension on a 60 day tourist visa.
I have split this article into two parts
Basic article about the 60 day Thai tourist visa
Hack the Thai tourist visa OR Thailand tourist visa FAQ
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Basic article about the 60 day Thai tourist visa
Why apply for a Thailand tourist visa?
“Do I need a visa for Thailand?” you might ask yourself. A Thai tourist visa makes sense if you wish to stay longer than 29 days in Thailand. Besides the visa there are easier ways, if you just want to stay 59 days maximum.
You have three options to stay longer than 29 days in Thailand in total
- Buy a flight ticket with flexible end date. When in Thailand you adjust the return date to a later date. Such a ticket is more expensive than a non flexible ticket though. After 29 days just extend your stay another 30 days, see below.
- Get a one way onward flight ticket for 29 days later and don’t use it. You can book such a ticket with a low cost airline like NokAir, Lion Air or one of the following airlines. After 29 days just extend your stay another 30 days, see below.
- Get a 60 day Thailand tourist visa and stay in Thailand for 59 days without any extra tricks.
How to extend your stay for 30 more days without getting a Thailand tourist visa
Can I extend my tourist visa in Thailand? If you entered Thailand and received a 30 day stamp in your passport (this is called a 30 day visa exemption) – you can also extend a 60 day tourist visa by 30 days to a total of 90 days for the same fee – you can extend this stamp a further 30 days at any Thailand immigration centre for a fee of 1900 Baht. Almost every province in Thailand has one. You have to fill out a form and bring a passport photo. The helpful staff there will explain it to you. Optionally you might be asked to show a proof of funds of 20’000 Baht and a copy of your flight ticket out of Thailand 30 days later at the latest.
I did this once and was not asked for a proof of funds or a flight ticket.
So why not just extend 30 days and book a flight ticket 59 days ahead?
Two problems might occur
One Some airlines will not let you board the plane, if you are only allowed to stay 30 days, but have booked the return or onward flight 59 later. They might be afraid, that you will be refused by immigration and hence will not let you board without a return or onward flight 29 days later.
Two The immigration staff at Thailand might want to see the ticket.
The two problems have never happened to me, but I want to mention it just in case.
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Thailand visa requirements – No visa required for
citizens of most Western countries. They can get a 30 day stay in Thailand for free (Officially it is called 30 day visa exemption stay, but the arrival day counts as day one, hence it is actually just 29 days). You can find the complete list here.
Thailand visa requirements – Visa on arrival
Citizens of some countries can travel to Thailand without obtaining a visa first and then get a visa on arrival. This visa on arrival allows them to stay 15 days in Thailand maximum. (The arrival day counts as day one, hence just 14 days effectively). You can find the complete list for the Thailand visa on arrival here. I know, that the Suvarnabhumi airport has a visa on arrival desk. I don’t know if it is possible to obtain a visa on arrival at other airports or at land borders. Anybody who knows that please leave me a comment. Thank you!
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Thailand visa application – Where to get the visa
You can get a single entry 60 day tourist visa for Thailand in a Thai embassy or consulate in every country except Thailand itself. You don’t have to return to your home country to apply for one. This is again not valid for everyone. Citizens of a few countries can only apply for a visa in their home country.
Thailand visa application – Which documents have to be provided
- Passport valid longer than half a year after your return flight or onward flight.
- Return flight ticket or one way onward flight ticket out of Thailand (printouts of the flight confirmations)
- Two passport photos not older than six months
- A filled-out Thailand visa application form downloadable on most Thai consulate or Thai embassy web-pages.
- Money for the visa fee (usually payable in the local currency of the country where you apply for the Thailand visa)
- If you do it by mail: Money for returning your passport by mail plus a postpaid return envelope with your address written on it
Some embassies and consulates might additionally ask for
- Phone number where they can reach you in case of questions
- Proof of funds of 20’000 Baht per person or 40’000 Baht per family.
Not every consulate or embassy might ask for all the documents listed above. But if you can provide all this additionally, you are on the safe side.
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The tourist visa Thailand will be valid for almost three months until the date specified under “enter before”. Until that date you can enter Thailand and get a stay of 60 days (actually just 59 days, because the arrival day counts as day one).
Thailand visa cost
Is mostly payable in local currency and therefore varies from country to country.
Process at the immigration desk of airport or land boarder
If you’re visa exempt or have a visa for Thailand proceed directly to immigration.
If you’re eligible for a visa on arrival proceed to the visa on arrival desk and then to immigration.
On the form, that you will have to fill out, you will have to provide a valid address during your stay: The address of the first hotel usually is enough. If you stay with Thai friends ask them to write a confirmation letter for you.
Allow two weeks of time for the whole process.
If you need the Thailand tourist visa within five working days it’s better to show up in person at the embassy or consulate and to tell them, until when you need it. If you need it even quicker ask for a more expensive express-service. But there is no guarantee, that such a service is available.
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Hack the Thai tourist visa OR Thailand tourist visa FAQ, second edition December 2015
In here I have answered the following questions:
How long does it take to get a Thai tourist visa?
Can I apply online for a Thai tourist visa?
How many times can you extend a Thai tourist visa?
What does the enter before date on my Thai visa sticker mean?
Can I leave Thailand inbetween the 60 days for small weekend trips?
Can I book the flight ticket at the moment when I have the Thai tourist visa for sure?
Can I go to Thailand for 30 days without a visa and then get a 60 day tourist visa in Thailand?
My 60 days are almost up. Do I have to leave Thailand now?
Will our visa application be accepted if we have no onward flight out of Thailand within 60 days?
Do I have to book all the hotels and accommodation for the time, that I stay in Thailand, to get a tourist visa?
I plan to obtain a 60 day Thailand tourist visa and plan to extend it by 30 days (I will almost get a 3 month Thailand tourist visa like this). The flight back is already booked 89 days after the arrival day. Am I in trouble, because the flight back is not 59 days later?
Since November 13, 2015, Thailand issues a multiple entry 6 month tourist visa for Thailand. What do I have to do to obtain one?
Can I still get a double or triple entry Thai tourist visa after November 13, 2015?
Do I have to fly out and back to activate the next entry of a multiple entry tourist visa?
“Travel strategy” questions
Is there something I can do if I want to stay longer than 90 days as a tourist in Thailand?
How long can you stay in Thailand per year on tourist visas only?
What is a back to back visa run and can I do it too?
How many single entry Thailand tourist visas can be obtained in a row?
Is the “Stay a maximum of 90 days in six months in Thailand” rule still valid?
It seems to become more difficult to stay in Thailand long term. Are there alternatives?
I will arrive in Bangkok next month and fly out of Bangkok 4 months later. I will do a round trip in South East Asia. Will I have a problem, because my return flight is not 29 days later?
I will stay in Thailand for a maximum of 30 days. Then I will travel through other parts of South East Asia for a few weeks. Can I then come back to Thailand and get another 30 days?
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Best regards to all, Charles