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Visas and Passports in Thailand

Author: Jim Newham
Submitted: March 2017


To enter Thailand, citizens of most countries will need a valid passport, or an equivalent travel document if they are a stateless person or refugee.

All passports and other entry clearance documents must be valid for six months after the date of entry into the country. Citizens of most countries will also need a visa to immigrate into Thailand.

Visa Requirements

No visa is required to enter Thailand if you are a citizen of one of the approximately 61 countries that have a visa waiver agreement with Thailand. There is a full list of visa requirements for countries of the world on the Thai Immigration website.

It is possible to extend this period for a further 30 days by applying at your local immigration office. These stays, however, apply mostly to tourists. In all cases, you will also need to produce a return or follow-on ticket; otherwise you may be refused entry into Thailand.

Citizens of the above countries wanting to stay for longer than 60 days will always need a visa – as will citizens of all other countries.

Additional Requirements

Whether or not you require a visa, you will receive a permission to stay stamp inside your passport when you arrive. How long this is valid for depends on your visa type and your home country: 30 days for most countries and up to 60 days for others. In some circumstances it is possible to get an extension of stay, allowing you to stay for more than 90 days.

Every non-national entering or leaving Thailand also needs to fill in an arrival/departure card. If you have arrived from a country that the Thai government considers yellow fever endemic, you must produce a yellow fever vaccination certificate. else you will be quarantined for six days.


Visa Types

Thai Tourist visas allow a stay of up to 60 days. You can apply for an additional 30 days’ stay but no more. There is also an ACMECS visa which grants tourist access to both Thailand and Cambodia. These visas will not allow you to stay in Thailand long-term, however.

Visas that allow a stay of longer than two months in Thailand are rather ambiguoously known as ‘non-immigrant visas’. These last for an initial period of 90 days and can be either single or multiple entry, with the latter covering a period of a year. Sub-categories include those for work, investment, family members and spouses, and the non-immigrant B visa, for business people, in which case a letter from the company will also be needed. For full details see the Thai Immigration website.

There is also the retirement non-immigrant visa, for those over 50 who want to retire in Thailand and have adequate financial backing. After the initial period on this visa, you will need to apply for an extension of stay.

Visa Application

You must apply for a Thai visa before leaving your home country. A copy of the visa application form is available online in English and Thai. However, you will need to print the form out and post it or deliver it in person to a Thai embassy or consulate. As visa application can take some time to complete, you should apply at least three months before you intend to move to Thailand. Once you application has been submitted, you should allow several weeks before your visa is issued to you.

Whichever visa you apply for, you will need the following documents as a minimum:

Visa fees in Thailand are generally low. Note that visa fees vary widely depending on which country you come from.

As is usually the case, a visa is not a legally binding permit to stay in Thailand, as border control guards have the right to refuse entry for any reason they see fit. A visa only indicates that you have been cleared for entry so far. It is the permission to stay stamp on your passport that demonstrates that you have been officially cleared to enter Thailand. This document gives your entry date and also the date you must leave Thailand.

Extending and Changing Visas

It is not possible to apply for a visa to further your stay while you are in Thailand. You will have to leave the country and reapply from abroad.



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