I was sitting at the Thai Immigration Office the other day and witnessed a common occurrence, tourists not understanding the different types of visas in Thailand.
After 5 minutes of watching the tourists completely confused, I stepped in and explained the different types of visas in about a minute.
So here it is, the simple guide to understanding the three most common types of visas in Thailand: Entry Visa, Tourist Visa, and Non-Immigrant Visa.
Visa Type 1- Thailand Entry Visa
Just by entering the country of Thailand, you receive a visa on arrival. Depending on “how” you enter the country, this visa will either be 14 or 30 days.
*You will receive a 30 day visa if you enter by airplane from another country.
*You will receive a 14 day visa if you enter by land from another country. This includes: bus, boat, or train.
Both visa options are free of charge.
Visa Type 2- Thailand Tourist Visa
A Tourist Visa is a 90 day visa. You get 60 days when entering Thailand if you have this visa, then you can extend it 30 days at the local Immigration Office in Thailand.
If you are visiting Thailand and “might” stay longer than 30 days, get this visa in your home country. This will save you from having to deal with the possibility of an unnecessary visa run.
You can only get a Tourist Visa outside the country of Thailand. If the country has a Thai Embassy or Thai Consulate, you can get it there.
If you are already in Asia, you can get the Tourist Visa in most of the neighboring countries like: Malaysia, Lao, Singapore, etc… It will usually take about 2 days to get.
When applying, you will need an application completely filled out, two passport sized photos, and the fee is normally around 1,900 baht.
When the 60 days of this Visa are about to expire, you can extend it for another 30 days. This will cost you 1,800 baht. Go to the local Immigration Office in Thailand to do this.
Note: In some countries such as Laos, you can get a Multi Entry Tourist Visa. This is like having two Tourist Visas in one. After 60 days, you leave Thailand to do a border run. Then you get another 60 day stamp upon return to Thailand. Note, this visa can only be extended once, so it is often considered a five month visa. The cost is around 2,000 baht.
Visa Type 3- Thailand Non Immigrant Type O Visa
This visa can be easy to get if you are an American or Canadian. If you are from anywhere else in the world, this is nearly impossible for you to attain. (Unless you are married to a Thai woman)
The Non Immigrant Type O Visa is valid for one year once it is used. Every 90 days you have to leave the country or do a border run. Then when you return to Thailand, you get another 90 day stamp. You can leave the country as many times as needed within the year that this visa is valid. Note, if you get the last 90 day stamp right before the year expires, the Non Immigrant Type O Visa can last nearly 15 months.
If you are going to be in Thailand longer than 90 days, this is the visa to get.
I recently got this Non Immigration Visa in the United States.
What I needed:
- Application filled out. (I did this at the Thai Consult)
- 2 passport photos
- A copy of my bank statement to show that I had over 1000usd in my account
If your trip is only a couple days longer than the valid time of your visa, you can get a short extension while in Thailand.
At the local Thai Immigration Office, you can extend any visa 7 days for 1,900 baht.
Each day you stay past the expiration of your visa, you will be charged 500 baht for a maximum of 20,000 baht.
A couple years ago I forgot when my visa expired and had to pay 7,000 baht in overstay fees. In most situations you simply pay, and that is the end of it. However, I have heard stories where people frequently abuse this by overstaying a year at a time and find they are banned from ever entering Thailand again. However, these types of situations are rare.
1- Enter Thailand by Land and you will receive a 14 day Visa for free
2- Enter Thailand by Air and you will receive a 30 day Visa for free
3- If you are going to be in Thailand for longer than 30 days, get a Tourist Visa before coming to Thailand.
4- You can extend any Visa 7 days while in Thailand for 1,900 baht.
5- Overstay fee in Thailand is 500 baht per day.