This is a complete guide (updated in 2020), to everything you want to know about Thailand Tourist Visas. Your questions answered, rumours debunked and misconceptions cleared-up.
You will find out the most suitable tourist visa for you. How to apply for a Thailand tourist visa. How much it will cost. How long you can stay in Thailand on a tourist visa. How to extend your tourist visa. And most importantly, do you actually need a visa.
I have spent over a decade travelling, living and working in Thailand and in that time I have been through the immigration process myself more times than I can count. So I understand it can be a confusing topic. I have helped friends, family and other travellers out with their tourist’s visas. And now I want to share my knowledge and personal experiences with you- to help you travel smarter and easier.
In this guide, (which I hope you will find useful). I have pooled together all my resources to share with you. I’ve added some free downloads, including the latest visa application forms which will save you time and put you ahead of the rest.
So keep on reading to find the answers to your questions, and everything else I’ve learned about Thailand Tourist Visas over the years. And if you still have any questions left unanswered after reading my guide, leave a comment or shoot me an email and I will personally answer your visa related questions.
An Introduction To Thailand Tourist Visas
There are four different Thailand Tourist Visas:
- Visa-Free (Visa Exemption)
- Visa On Arrival (VOA)
- Single Entry Tourist Visa (SETV)
- Multiple Entry Tourist Visa (METV)
For most people reading this, you might be surprised to learn that you probably don’t need a visa at all. Over 55 nationalities can enter Thailand visa-free, this is known as a visa exception. There is no application or documentation needed for a visa-exemption. It is not the same as a tourist visa or a visa on arrival. It is a free entry stamp in your passport which will allow you to stay in Thailand for a pre-set period of time, usually one month but this can be extended.
A tourist visa fills up an entire page in your passport and you’ll need to apply for this in advance before you enter Thailand. You would only need a Tourist Visa if you are not eligible for a visa exemption OR if you plan to stay in Thailand for longer than 60 days consecutively.
If you are eligible for a visa exemption you can apply for a tourist visa. But it will not offer many benefits other than the length of stay. A single-entry tourist visa (SETV) is valid for 60 days and can be extended for an extra 30 days.
A multi-entry tourist visa (METV) is valid for 180 days, you can stay for a maximum of 60 days on each entry (which can also be extended for an additional 30 days).
Covid-19 Updates To Thailand Tourist Visas (2020)
Check the current status of tourist visa holders effect by Covid-19 with the Thai Immigration Bureau.
The coronavirus has been devastating to the travel and tourism sector across the globe. The spread of the virus will affect international travel to Thailand. Most of these changes are still unknown. I will be touching on the confirmed facts that relate directly to tourist visa applications only.
- Non-citizens in Thailand holding a tourist visa or any other type of visa have been granted permission to stay in Thailand until July 31st 2020. You do not need to extend your visa or report to anyone. You will not be fined or receive on overstay stamp. You must apply for a visa extension or leave Thailand once the situation has been resolved. If international travel is still prohibited at the end of July it is expected (but not yet confirmed) that the period of immunity will be extended.
- All International borders and entry ports in Thailand are currently closed.
- Tourist visas and visa on arrivals (SETV, METV, VOA) have been cancelled until September 30th 2020. This does not affect the visa exemption scheme, however, with international entry points closed visa exemptions are not being issues until a time when Thailand opens to international travel once again.
- Italian, Korean and Japanese passport holders cannot enter Thailand on a visa exemption until after September 30th 2020. (All borders are currently closed)
Do I Need A Visa For Thailand
In most cases, you don’t need a visa for Thailand. But this depends on the purpose of your visit and your nationality.
People not fully understanding the differences between tourist visas is usually the main cause of confusion. It can be easy to mix up a visa exemption with a visa on arrival.
There are two reasons why you would need a tourist visa for Thailand
- You are a citizen of a country which is not eligible for a visa exemption entry stamp.
- Or you plan to stay consecutively in Thailand for longer than 60 days.
Most of my readers are from the USA, UK, Canada and Australia. So if you are a passport holder of any of these countries (and you want to stay for fewer than 60 days), you don’t need a visa to visit Thailand as a tourist. In fact, that applies to almost all European, ASEAN, North American and most South American passport holders.
Here is a map which shows if you actually need a visa. Passport holders from countries marked blue, green or purple can visit Thailand without a visa. Countries marked grey will need to apply for a tourist visa in advance, while beige countries can apply for a visa in advance or make use of a visa on arrival.
Blue, green and purple countries can still apply for a tourist visa if they want to stay in Thailand for longer than 60 days.
Applying for a tourist visa or a visa extension doesn’t have to be a confusing process. The sole purpose of this guide is to help you get the most clear and precise information to save you time and confusion.
You can guarantee you won’t be turned away at the counter by downloading my document checklists.
You can speed up most application process by filling out the documentation in advance. I spend more time than I would like visiting immigration offices, which means I can grab a copy of the latest visa application forms and upload them here, for you, to download, for free.
Apply for your tourist visa or visa extension like a boss. With paperwork filled out in advance and a complete checklist of documents there will be no doubt in your mind you’re missing anything. You’ll be in and out with a new passport stamp quicker than ever.
* No documentation or application is needed to enter Thailand without a visa ( visa exemption)
TOURIST VISA APPLICATION:
VISA ON ARRIVAL:
30 DAY TOURIST VISA EXTENSION:
Thailand Visa Exemption
This information is all around visa-free travel to Thailand with a visa exemption stamp, this is the most common solution for most tourists heading to Thailand. A visa exemption is not the same as a tourist visa or a visa on arrival. But there is more information about both tourists visas and visa on arrivals in the next sections.
What Is A Visa Exemption
A visa exemption is the most common entry permit for tourists visiting Thailand. You do not need to apply for a visa exemption in advance, provide any documentation or do any other preparation (beside booking a flight).
When you enter Thailand your passport will be stamped at the immigration checkpoint. This stamp will grant you entry to Thailand for tourism purposes and it will be marked with a date on which you’ll need to leave the country. There is no cost for a visa exemption it is free to all eligible passport holders.
There are over 55 countries (listed below) which are eligible for the visa exemption scheme so there is a high chance you’ll find yourself eligible.
How Long Can I Stay In Thailand On A Visa Exemption
You can stay for between 15 – 90 days on a Thai Visa Exemption.
30 days is the most common duration. However, this will depend on your nationality. The border point used to enter Thailand can also have an effect on how long you visa exemption will be granted for.
A visa exemption can be extended for an extra 30 days while you are in Thailand. For most people, you will get a maximum of 60 days on a visa exemption. 30 days initially + a 30-day extension.
Which Countries Are Eligible For A Thai Visa Exemption
Here is a full list of countries eligible for a Thailand Visa Exemption. If you are a passport holder in any of these nationalities you will be able to enter Thailand for the duration listed without any documentation. You’ll will need to present your passport to immigration when you enter the country.
Nothing else is required.
The length of stay permitted will be longer if you enter Thailand by Air. If you are entering Thailand at a land (or sea) border the number of days which you will be permitted to stay in Thailand will be less.
This table is up to date as of 2023 however you should verify the information is correct before travelling to Thailand. You can verify the information with your nearest Thai Embassy or Consulate-General.
You can also download a full list of countries eligible for a visa exemption using the link below. This list is kindly provided by the Royal Thai Embassy and the document is updated immediately after a country is added or removed.
Full List Of Thailand Visa Exempt Countries:
|NATIONALITY||BY AIR||BY LAND|
|Argentina||90 Days||30 Days|
|Austria||30 Days||15 Days|
|Bahrain||30 Days||15 Days|
|Belgium||30 Days||15 Days|
|Brazil||90 Days||30 Days|
|Brunei||30 Days||15 Days|
|Canada||30 Days||15 Days|
|Cambodia||15 days||15 days|
|Chile||90 Days||30 Days|
|Czech Republic||30 Days||15 Days|
|Denmark||30 Days||15 Days|
|Estonia||30 Days||15 Days|
|Finland||30 Days||15 Days|
|France||30 Days||15 Days|
|Germany||30 Days||15 Days|
|Greece||30 Days||15 Days|
|Hong Kong||30 Days||15 Days|
|Hungary||30 Days||15 Days|
|Iceland||30 Days||15 Days|
|Indonesia||30 Days||15 Days|
|Ireland||30 Days||15 Days|
|Israel||30 Days||15 Days|
|Italy||30 Days||15 Days|
|Japan||30 Days||15 Days|
|Korea (South)||90 Days||15 Days|
|Kuwait||30 Days||15 Days|
|Laos||30 Days||15 Days|
|Liechtenstein||30 Days||15 Days|
|Luxembourg||30 Days||15 Days|
|Macau||30 Days||15 Days|
|Malaysia||30 Days||15 Days|
|Monaco||30 Days||15 Days|
|Mongolia||30 Days||15 Days|
|Netherlands||30 Days||15 Days|
|New Zealand||30 Days||15 Days|
|Norway||30 Days||15 Days|
|Oman||30 Days||15 Days|
|Peru||90 Days||30 Days|
|Philippines||30 Days||15 Days|
|Poland||30 Days||15 Days|
|Portugal||30 Days||15 Days|
|Qatar||30 Days||15 Days|
|Russia||30 Days||15 Days|
|Singapore||30 Days||15 Days|
|Slovenia||30 Days||15 Days|
|South Africa||30 Days||15 Days|
|Spain||30 Days||15 Days|
|Sweden||30 Days||15 Days|
|Switzerland||30 Days||15 Days|
|Turkey||30 Days||15 Days|
|United Arab Emirates||30 Days||15 Days|
|United Kingdom||30 Days||15 Days|
|United States||30 Days||15 Days|
|Vietnam||30 Days||15 Days|
If you are a passport holder from any of these nations and you plan to stay less than 30 days in Thailand. You do not need a tourist visa. If you are eligible for a visa exemption, but you want to stay over 30 days you can extend the visa exemption for an extra 30 days at an immigration office in Thailand. You’ll find more information on tourist visa extensions at the bottom of this post.
If your country is not listed here you will not be eligible for a visa exemption. Instead, you will need to apply for a tourist visa or a visa on arrival. Keep on reading to find out more and what the difference is between a visa exemption and a Thailand Tourist visa.
How Many Times Can I Get A Visa Exemption
Can’t I just keep crossing in and out of Thailand to stay longer? Yes, you can, each time you enter Thailand you’ll be issued a new 30-day stamp. But leaving Thailand every 30 days becomes tiresome pretty quickly and you will need to enter by air to get the full 30-day stamp.
*New rules have been introduced at land crossings. If you enter Thailand by land you will be eligible for two visa exemption stamps (at a land border) within a 12 month period. In my experience, this rule is not being enforced. But if you have too many stamps immigration might start asking questions.
If you have visa exemption stamps issued at an international airport they will not count towards your limit of two stamps at a land border. There is no limit to the number of visa exemptions you can receive in a 12 month period if you are entering Thailand at an international airport.
*This information applies to Thailand Visa Exemptions, not to tourist visas or visa on arrivals.
Can I Extend A Thailand Visa Exemption
Thailand visa exemptions can be extended for 30 days, regardless of the initial period of validity. You can extend a Thailand visa extension stamp at most Thai Embassy, it costs 1,900 Baht. In some cases, it can be quicker and more cost-effective to fly out of Thailand and fly back, where you will be issued with a new 30-day exemption stamp.
You’ll find more information on visa extensions at the bottom of this article. Including a full list of immigration offices, you can apply for an extension at, a checklist of documents you’ll need to bring and a downloadable extension form which you can fill out in advance to save you time and money.
Thailand Tourist Visas
The information in this section relates to Thailand Tourist Visas. This is not the same as a visa exemption stamp. In most cases, you don’t need a tourist visa.
What Is A Thailand Tourist Visa
A Thailand Tourist Visa takes up a full page in your passport and will permit you to enter Thailand for tourism purposes. You would only need to use a Tourists Visa if you are not eligible for a visa exemption or if you want to stay longer than 60 days in Thailand. There are two types of Tourist Visa. The single-entry tourist visa or SETV, and the multi-entry tourist visa or METV.
What Is A Single Entry Tourist Visa (SETV)
If you want to stay consecutively in Thailand for more than 60 days, but less than 90 days. Or you are not eligible for a visa exemption then this will be the visa you’ll want to use.
The single entry tourist visa is valid for 60 days and may be extended for an extra 30 days at a Thai immigration office.
The visa is inexpensive and on occasion, Thailand’s tourism board will offer to waive visa fees (on SETV) to give tourism a boost. Once you have had the visa granted you will have 30 days in which you can use it to enter Thailand. If you don’t enter Thailand within 30 days the visa will become invalid.
What Is A Multiple Entry Tourist Visa (METV)
A multiple entry Thai Tourist visa can be used to stay in Thailand for up to 9 months. As the name suggests you will be able to use this visa to enter Thailand multiple times over a period of six months.
If you are the holder of an METV you will be issued a stamp in your passport permitting you to stay in Thailand for 60 days. After the 60 days, you must leave Thailand and when you reenter you will be issued with another 60-day stamp.
If you enter Thailand the day before your visa expires, after six months. You will still be granted a 60-day stay. This can also be extended for an extra 30 days. Which means even though the visa itself is valid for 6 months (180 days) you can actually use this visa to stay for 9 months in total.
The 180 days (6 months) which the visa is valid for is simply the time in which a new stamp can be granted.
How Much Does A Thailand Tourist Visa Cost
As I mentioned you might get lucky and find that tourist visa fees are waived. But that isn’t always the case.
A single-entry tourist visa is much cheaper than a multiple-entry tourist visa. It will cost 900 Thai Baht. But as you can’t apply for the tourist visa in Thailand the amount will be converted to your local currency. Around $35 USD.
A multiple-entry tourist visa will cost significantly more. The price is 5,000 Thai Baht. Which equates to around $150 USD. Or equivalent in your local currency.
How And Where Can I Apply For A Tourist Visa
You can’t apply for a tourist visa in Thailand. You can apply for the visa at any Thai embassy outside of Thailand before you enter. For most people, this will be in their home country, but if you are already travelling in south-east Asia you can apply for a tourist visa in:
*Travellers holding an Indian or Chinese passport can only apply for a tourist visa in their homeland. Citizens of India and China are, however, eligible for a visa on arrival- which is valid for 15 days.
You can check the official Royal Thai Embassy website here for a full list of countries in which you can apply for a tourist visa.
To apply for a tourist visa you will need to visit a Thai Embassy in person and bring along the required documentation. It is a two-day process. You should drop off your passport at the embassy before 12:00 pm along with your supporting documents. On the following day, you will be able to collect your passport, usually in the morning but that will be confirmed with you when you drop off your passport.
Thailand Tourist Visa Documents Required
Here are all the requirements you must meet and documentation you must provide for a tourist visa application to be processed. While it is unlikely, you should keep in mind that consular officers reserve the right to request additional documentation at any time for any reason. So it can help to be polite, cheerful and presentable.
- Passport with at least 6 months validity
- Two passport-sized photographs
- Filled out tourist visa application form
- Visa fee in cash (35 USD) or equivalent in the local currency of the country you are making an application in.
You might be asked to provide proof of an onward flight and proof of financial means (20,000 Baht or equivalent). In my experience of ten years in Thailand- you will not be asked for this documentation. If you have proof on onward travel it doesn’t hurt to bring it along.
If you are asked about proof on onward travel, but you are travelling on a loose schedule and have not yet booked transport to leave Thailand. You can explain to the consular officer that you will be leaving Thailand by land and plan to buy a bus ticket locally.
Alternatively, you can ‘rent a plane ticket’ companies like Top Onward Ticket will book a refundable flight on your behalf and provide you with the ticket. It costs $10 USD and you will hold a genuine flight ticket for 48 hours, after 48 hours the ticket will be cancelled.
But don’t worry about being asked for proof of onward travel or proof of funds, like I said, you won’t be asked.
Download Thailand Tourist Visa Application Form
You’ll need to provide a filled out visa application form along with your passport. Most people will pick up a copy once they arrive at the embassy. But If you want to save some time and speed up the process you can fill out the form in advance. You can use the links underneath to download an application for you can print out at home. And yes, it’s totally free!
I find myself in the Thai Embassy usually a few times a year an I pick up the latest application forms to share with you. I last updated this application form in 2023.
You can use the same application form for both single entry and multi entry tourist visas.
Download Link One
Download a Thailand tourist visa application form (PDF) which you can print out and fill out.
Download Link Two
Download an interactive PDF application form which you can fill out online, and then print out. This application form is equipped with drop-down boxes to prevent any mistakes being made.
Thailand Tourist Visa On Arrival
The information in this section will relate to Thailand Visa on Arrivals for tourists. A visa on arrival is not the same as a Thailand Tourist Visa or a visa exemption.
I am lucky enough to be a passport holder from a visa-exempt country so I do not have any personal experiences with the Thailand Visa On Arrival process. But I have flown into Thailand with friends who have needed a visa on arrival. I have done a bit of digging and here is the latest information I’ve been able to find about the Thailand Visa on Arrival.
What Is A Visa On Arrival
A visa on arrival is often confused with a visa exemption. But they are totally different things. If you are a passport holder from a visa-exempt nation, you don’t need a visa on arrival.
A visa on arrival is a visa which is issued once you arrive in Thailand. It remains valid for 15 days and is suitable for travellers who require a visa to visit Thailand but do not want to go through the hassle of applying for a Thailand Tourist Visa in their home country. It is an alternative solution to the tourist visa and is the same in almost every sense.
The difference between the visa on arrival and a tourist visa is you do not need to submit an application in advance. And you will be permitted to stay for just 15 days, whereas a tourist visa will last for 60 days.
A visa on arrival cannot be extended past 15 days.
Which Countries Are Eligible For A Visa On Arrival
There are just 18 countries which are eligible to receive a 15-day visa on arrival. But remember 55 counties can travel to Thailand visa-free for 30 days, which is why so few nations are eligible.
Here is the full list of countries eligible to receive a Thailand Tourist Visa:
How Much Does A Visa On Arrival Cost
The Thailand visa on arrival is more expensive that the tourist visa. It cost 2,000 Thai Baht which must be payed in Thai currency and in cash when you arrive.
Keep in mind that you might need to change your currency before you arrive in Thailand as there are often no ATM’s air-side.
How (And Where) Can I Apply For A Visa On Arrival
Provided you are from one the 18 countries listed above you can apply for a visa on arrival. This means you can get a Thailand tourist visa once you arrive in the country, without needing to apply in advance, before you travel.
You must enter Thailand at an immigration point able to issue a visa on arrival. There are currently 48 international arrival points where a visa on arrival can be issued. This includes all major airports (Bangkok, Samui, Phuket, Chiang Mai). Al most land or sea ports.
You can find a full list of immigration points where a visa on arrival can be issued, here.
Thailand Tourist Visa Extentions
Most Thailand tourist visas, including visa exemptions, can be extended for an additional 30 days if you decide you want to stay longer in the country. It’s a straightforward process requiring a quick visit to a Thai embassy. Let’s look in more detail about the process of how to extend your tourist visa in Thailand.
What Types Of Thai Tourist Visa Can Be Extended
You can apply for a 30 day extension on all types of Thai tourist visas. Apart from the visa on arrival which is not eligible for an extension.
If you are a holder of a multiple entry tourist visa, you can extend your entry by 30 days once on each visit.
|VISA TYPE||EXTENSION PERIOD||COST|
|Visa Exemption||30 days||1,900 Baht|
|Single-Entry Tourist Visa||30 days||1,900 Baht|
|Multi-Entry Tourist Visa||30 days||1,900 Baht|
|Visa On Arrival||N/A||N/A|
How To Extend A Thailand Tourist Visa
A 30-day extension for a tourist visa is a single process. You will need to attend an immigration office with your passport and other required documentation. You will drop off your passport and collect it on the same day.
To extend a tourist visa you should arrive at the immigration office as early as possible. Most offices open at 9:00 am and ques will start to form shortly beforehand. Imigration offices will close for one hour from 1 pm until 2 pm for a lunch break so if you you haven’t dropped off your passport before this time you might be asked to come back the following day.
You will drop off your passport along with a visa extension form, two passport photos, a photocopy of your passport and 1,900 Thai Baht in cash. After parting with your passport you will need to wait for around one hour before your passport is returned with a 30-day extension stamp. It’s really that simple.
You can apply for an extension once there are less than 7 days remaining on your entry stamp. Don’t worry about loosing days by applying early on, the extension will begin on the day which the initial entry stamp expires.
You should keep in mind that you can only apply for an extension Monday – Friday when the immigration offices are open. If your visa is due to expire on a Saturday, Sunday or Monday you must apply for the extension the week before hand. National holidays must also be accounted for as imigration offices will be closed.
For example over the Thai new year in April it is common for immigration office to be closed for up to one week. If you don’t apply for a 30 day tourist visa extension in advance you can soon find yourself overstaying your welcome and forced to leave Thailand.
You can check the list of all national holiday in Thailand for 2023 here. Or you can download the list as a PDF here.
Where Can I Apply For A 30 Day Tourist Visa Extension
There are 45 immigration offices in Thailand where you can apply for a 30 day visa extension, including:
- Phuket Town
- Patong Beach
- Chiang Mai
- Phang Nga
- Koh Samui
Here is a useful map showing all of the immigration offices in Thailand where you can get a 30 day visa extension. Use this map to find the nearest office to you.
Once you have found the nearest visa extension office to you, you can use this directory to look up the address, phone number and opening hours.
Map Of All Thailand Immigration Office Where 30-Day Visa Extensions Can Be Issued:
Thailand Visa Extension Documents Required
When you apply for a 30-day tourist visa extension you will need to bring along a few documents, five things in total. Having these prepared in advance can speed up the process. You might queue for over an hour, but if you are missing a required document when you reach the counter you’ll be sent away and will have to queue again.
Here is a full list of all the documents you will need to bring when you extend a Thailand tourist visa:
You can also download my free 30-day visa extension documents checklist for free. To make sure there is nothing you’re forgetting.
You’ll obviously need your passport and your current entry stamp must have 7 days or fewer remaining.
2) Passport Sized Photographs
You might be asked for one, two or even even three photos. Bring as many as you have. Personally when I travel abroad I’ll carry a pack of 10 – 20 passport photos. You will almost always need one when apply for visas and it saves the hassle of hunting down a photo shop.
Don’t worry if you don’t have any passport photos, you can get some taken at the immigration office. It will cost around 200 Baht for 4 photos so you’ll have a couple spare for your next visa. But this does mean you’ll spend more time at the immigration office as the line for photos is often as long as the line to drop your passport.
3) A Passport Photocopy
You’ll need to provide a photocopy of your passport, again I keep a few copies in my bag for situations like this. If you don’t you can pay to have your passport copied at the immigration office. The price depends on where you are in the country. For example in Krabi i was charged 3 Baht for a copy, and in Phuket i was charged 40 Baht.
The requirement are usually a copy of the photo page, but I have been asked one or twice for a second copy of the page my current entry stamp is on. So it doesn’t hurt to take two copies. One of the main page and a second showing the visa stamp you want to extend.
4) Filled Out Visa Extension Form (TM7 Form)
The form you will need to fill out is an ‘Extension of Temporary Stay in The Kingdom of Thailand Application Form’, or a ‘TM 7’. Most people will pick up and fill in this form at the immigration office, but this again means more time spent there.
If you want to be in an out as quick as possible, download the form and fill it in yourself before before you get to the immigration office. Most hotels, hostel or guesthouses will be happy to help print a copy off for you.
To save you some time I have uploaded a copy of the visa extension form for you. Which you can download for free!
This form was last updated in – 2023
5) Money Money Money
The Thailand tourist visa extension costs 1,900 Thai Baht ($60 USD). You’ll need to pay this in cash an in Thai currency. Bring cash with you as most immigration offices do not have ATM’s on site or nearby.
Thailand Tourist Visas Common Questions
Which Thailand Tourist Visa Do I Need
You can use this helpful flow chart to quickly figure out which is the most suitable Thai tourist visa for you to use
I’ll b totally honest, graphic design in not my forte, hopefully this info-graphic will help you choosing the best tourist visa. But if any of my readers wanted to help out and give this graphic a quick redesign in return for a credited mention, shoot me an email.
Do I Need To Show Proof Of Funds Or An Onward Flight Ticket
You do not need to show proof of funds on proof of onward travel in 99.9% of cases. This applies when applying for a visa and when entering Thailand.
In my personal experience in over ten years of heading in and out of Thailand I have not once been asked to provide this nor have I heard of anyone who has been asked for these.
In the 0.01% chance that you are asked to show proof of funds you would be asked to prove that have access to 20,000 Baht, about $600 USD. This shouldn’t be a problem. Frankly, if your are travelling to Thailand with less than that, you probably don’t have enough funds to support yourself and shouldn’t be visiting in the first place. So there shouldn’t be any issues.
If you are asked to provide proof on onward travel I would tell the immigration officer you have plans to leave the county via a land border into either Laos, Myanmar or Malaysia. This is common practice and bus tickets are can only be purchased locally once inside Thailand.
If you want to play it safe you can ‘rent a flight ticket’ for $10 with onward travel or even book a legitimate air ticket with AirAsia. If you book in advance you can likely find a ticket from Bangkok or Phuket to Kuala Lumpur for $10 – $20 dollars.
What Is The Arrival/Departure Card
The Thai arrival card (TM6) is cutting edge technology. It’s a paper form which you must fill out and present to the immigration officer upon entering Thailand.
On international flights into Thailand airlines will distribute the forms to passenger during the flight. Bringing a pen along comes in super handy.
In my experience the information on these forms is not checked thoroughly. The will verify the visa number and passport number match your travel documents and check the hotel address provide is valid. It is best to use the address of a hotel in the same province as the airport you are flying into to save any confusion.
For example: If you are flying into Chiang Mai airport but have plans to travel to and stay in Pai in Mae Hong Song, it will be easier to provide an address in Chiang Mai province. Your hotel will report the change of address on your behalf when you check in.
Don’t forget you might not have an internet connection to check the hotels adress until you have passed immigration and can pick up a local SIM card. So be sure to have your hotel address accesible offline.
What To Do If You Lose Your Departure Card
When you enter Thailand the immigration office will keep tear the arrival card off and keep this part. You will be handed back a smaller stub which is known as the ‘departure card’. This will be stamped by the immigration officer.
You must surrender your departure card when you leave Thailand. But what if you’ve lost it? Or like me didn’t realise it was important and just tossed in the airport trash?
When it comes to leaving Thailand you might be subject to a minor inconvenience. If you’ve lost your departure card you simply fill out a new one which you can pick up from airline service counters in the airport.
Make sure you fill out a new card before joining the imigration line. If you get to the immigrationpoint without a departure card you’ll be turned away, have to pick one up and re join que. You then risk missing your flight. So get to the airport a little earlier, pick up a card at a service counter and then it’s business as usuall.
Thailand TM6 Arrival Forms Go Digital
Since 2018 Thailand has been phasing out the outdated departure/arrival cards for tourists. eTM6 apps have been launched on both Apple and Androids respective app stores. But have caused more confusion than they have solved.
The applications are riddled with bugs and security flaws and are rendered useless to travellers who enter Thailand and do not yet have a data package. It seems the future is a long way off for Thailand, at least for now.
At some point it is expected that these forms will be scrapped altogether, but for now you’ll still need to to fill one out.
Bribe Tip The Border Agent
It depends on which port you will be arriving at, technically speaking you should not hand over any cash to immigration officers when you enter Thailand. But let’s be real, it happens.
If you a flying into an international airport in Thailand you won’t need to pay anything. But the situation can be a little different at land borders.
These examples are my own personal experience from the past few years and the situation may change or be a different experience for others
Thai/Malaysia Land Border (Sadao)
It is common knowledge locally that at some land crossings like at Sadao on the Thai/Malay border tourists ‘need’ to pay 200 Baht to pass, you slip it into your passport, the immigration will take the tip and you’re good to go. If you are passing a land border your driver will usually inform you if there are any special fees to pay in advance. If you’re driving yourself you should ask around and check with a few locals beforehand.
What if you don’t put 200 Baht in your passport? Well I crossed the Sadao border from Malaysia into Thailand on a public bus back in 2018 and one of the guys travelling with us decided not to pay. To cut a long story short it is the only time I have actually seen a tourist have their proof of funds checked and proof of onward travel. Both of which he did not have. In the end he’d end up paying 1,500 Baht instead and the process took two – three hours, while me and the rest of the bus passenger were waiting.
Remember this only applies to certain land borders, and you’ll be informed of the fees in advance. If you are flying into Thailand this is not expected. Tipping immigration offices is illegal and it is becoming rarer and rarer. You shouldn’t give any cash unless you have been advised to.
Phuket Immigration Office
This one saved me a few hours. When applying for an extension on my tourists visa I had made the mistake of using my hotels address which was in Krabi, but applying for for the extension in Phuket. I would need to make the long journey to Krabi instead. Feeling a little frustrated and about to head out when the office told me “he had a friend who lived in Phuket and he can help me out, if I can help him out”. A little confusing but I got the gist.
I passed 200 Baht across the table underneath my papers, he smiled. And then proceed to pull out a fresh form and fill it out on my behalf.
The best 200 Baht id even spend, saved me the hassle of travelling to another province and spending a second day hanging around in the immigration offices.
This time a tip wasn’t requested, but I did have an overstay in my passport. There were two quese I’d have to join. First i’d need to rectify and pay my overstay charge and after tha’t settled I would need to join the much longer que for my departure stamp.
As I was in a hurry, and I was forking over some cash anyway, I handed the officer a little extra for his troubles and asked if he could fast track me through the que, sure enough he was happy to help. He already had my passport, so it was no extra hassle him to scan and stamp it- saving me a few hours.
So to answer the question, do you need to bribe border agents. Well in most cases the answer is no, but on the rare occasion, if you are asked handing over a few hundred Baht can quickly make you a new friend and make your immigration experience much more pleasant.
If you are in an airport don’t tip.
What To Do If You Overstay Your Thailand Tourist Visa
Don’t sweat it. It’s not a big deal.
If you overstay your visa nothing will happen. Providing it’s no more than a few days, weeks or months.
If you overstay your welcome on a Thailand Tourist Visa you will be charged 500 Baht per day which you have overstayed (limited to 20,000 Baht). You’ll also get a cool new passport stamp.
If you have overstayed your visa by 90 days or less you will face no further action than paying a fine at immigration when you depart. You will be banned from re-entering Thailand for one year if your overstay is longer than 90 days.
If you have overstayed your visa you can follow the departure process a normal, head to the airport, but leave plenty of time before your flight. When you get to the immigration counter, inform the officer you have overstayed your visa by less than 90 days- you’ll be taken into the back room where you’ll pay a fine and get a cool new stamp before you’re free to be on way.
Overstaying your visa is illegal but it is not treated as serious crime. If you have a flight to leave Thailand a few days after your visa expires it can be cheaper and easier to pay the overstay fine at the airport instead or extending.
I do shamefully have a handful of overstay stamps in my passport, none longer than a few days. Having an overstay stamp does NOT mean you are ‘blacklisted’- it will not affect you if you wish to return to Thailand. Things get serious only after you have overstayed your tourist visa by 90 days or longer.
While I try my best to keep this information updated regularly and provide simplified and easy to digest Thailand Tourist Visa information. You can verify the information found is up to date on the following websites.
Quick Tourist Visa Guide *Thai Embassy is not an official government website.