Acquiring a Thailand Visa is not a difficult task, but the the every changing rules and applications processes can be a little confusing. In this article, we will do our best to explain the following: how to get a tourist visa (30 day and 60 day) as well as how to extend these different visa types. Keep in mind that this article applies to US citizens, but this information can also serve as a jumping off point for the majority of European citizens and Australians. Make sure to continue reading until the end of the article for a full detailed explanation of how visa fees, rules, and application processes work in 2017.

Thailand Visa New Rules 2017

How many times did the Thailand visa rules change in the past years? That is a good question. The answer is many many times. The Thai government is notorious for changing their visa rules very often, sometimes several times in a single month!

With that being said, the Thai government has indeed been working to make the process streamlined with minimal fees in order to encourage new tourists. They do after all want to increase tourism and make their country accessible to as many tourists as possible. However, the Thai government is also diligently working to control the amount of foreigners working remotely in their country. For foreigners who work remotely and stay long-term in Thailand, the visa fees have actually increased over the past few years and limitations are being placed on how visa runs and extensions work.

How to Get a 30 day Thailand Visa on Arrival

One of the neat things about Thailand is that you can get a visa on arrival (VOA) at any major Thai airport if you are staying for less than 30 days. Make sure to double check to see if the airport you are arriving to offers VOA, but you should be fine if you are flying into Bangkok or Chiang Mai. If you are traveling via land (crossing a border) than the Thai government has limited the visa on arrival to 15 days. However, if you arrive at an airport, acquiring a 30 day Thailand visa is a simple and painless process.

Once you arrive to the airport, you will queue in line at the immigration area. You will hand your passport over to the Thai immigration officer who will ask you a couple questions which include stating your purpose of visit in Thailand (answer: tourism), duration of your stay (answer: 30 days or less), and your next destination (answer: must be another country that you are flying to).

If you tell them that you are planning to take a bus or train to another country, the Thai immigration officer may become suspicious. It is best to say you are flying to another country. They may ask you to provide proof of your onward travel (flight information). They might all ask for proof of financial capability. It is always best to come prepared with a copy of your bank statement stating that you have at least 10,000 baht per person or 20,000 baht per family.

Once the Thai immigration officer is satisfied with your answers (which should be a fairly quick process – no more than 2 minutes), they will ask you to smile for the camera and then they will stamp your passport.

It’s really that easy!

Nate & I just recently acquired a 30 day Thailand visa on arrival at the Bangkok airport (BKK) and we were shocked by how simply the process was. The Thai immigration officer asked us two questions and then stamped our passport. He didn’t require us to show him proof of onward travel which was nice because it made the process a lot faster for everyone waiting in line.

thailand visa process
US citizen can pick up a Visa on Arrival (VOA) when they arrive to Thailand at the airport

How to Get a 60 day Thailand Visa

Acquiring a Thailand visa before arriving to Thailand is a great idea for those travelers who plan to stay more than 30 days in the country. A 60 day Thailand visa is the perfect option for digital nomads who are interested in living long-term in Thailand. If you plan to stay in Thailand for only two months, you won’t need to visit an immigration office. It saves you a lot of headaches and frees up your time to explore the country.

You can get a 60 day visa at any Thai embassy. If you are traveling in Southeast, one of the easiest places to get a 60 day Thailand visa is at Thai Embassy in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Simply drop off your passport along with the necessary documents, and you can pick up your visa the very next day.

Documents you will need to bring:

  • two passport sized photos
  • signed copies of your passport
  • signed copies of your thai visa page/visa stamp
  • completed Tm.7 formExtension of Temporary Stay in the Kingdom”
  • proof of onward travel (flight information)
  • 1900 Thai baht (extension fee per person)
  • immigration departure card (the one that was given to you at the airport)
  • valid passport

Extending a 30 day Thailand Visa on Arrival

If you are planning to stay past your 30 day limit, you can always extend your visa on arrival for an additional 30 days. This needs to be completed before the visa on arrival expiration date.

Try to give yourself at least a week before the expiration date so that you don’t find yourself out of luck. The Thai Immigration office is closed for Buddhist holidays, and there are a lot of Buddhist holidays in the calendar year (so make sure to double check before going in).

Some things to keep in mind is that the first day of your stay in Thailand is the day you arrived. The last day of your stay in Thailand (the day you depart) also counts towards the final amount of days left on your visa.

Also, when you get your visa extension the additional 30 days will count after your first 30 days, no matter how much in advance your processed your visa extension. This is really neat because it alleviates some of the anxiety behind worrying about when to time your visa extension. You just need to apply and receive your visa extension before the expiration date, and you are good to go!

Note: If you try to extend a visa after the expiration date, you might be subject to penalty fees for overstaying your visit. There is an option to extend a Thai visa after the expiration date, but it’s only an additional 7 days and it still costs the same amount (1900 Thai baht).

To extend your visa, you will need to fill out the necessary paperwork (Extension Visa Form) at a local Thai Immigration Office. You can either download a copy here or pick up a copy at the office.

Tip: There are usually pens available but it’s always a smart idea to bring a pen with you in case they are all being used.

Documents you will need to bring:

  • One 4cm x 6cm passport sized photos
  • signed copies of your passport (page with your photo on it)
  • signed copies of your thai entry stamp
  • completed Tm.7 formExtension of Temporary Stay in the Kingdom”
  • 1900 Thai baht (extension fee per person)
  • proof of onward travel (flight information)
  • immigration departure card (the one that was given to you at the airport)
  • valid passport

Application Process For Tourist Visa Extension

It’s best to arrive to the office sometime in the early morning when they are not busy. From my experience at the Chiang Mai Immigration Office, I waited in line to drop off my forms. A staff will accept your paperwork, passport and fee and then immediately process your visa extension.

There is an area with plenty of seats (and air conditioning) in which you can wait until your name is called. Usually the staff will hold up your passport as they call your name. Make sure to listen carefully, as the pronunciation can be very different. It usually takes us about an hour from start to finish to receive our extension. First they will call you up and take a photo of you, then you will have to wait for them to call your name a second time. When they call your name a second time, you’ll be handed your passport, a receipt, and your change.

I always double check that they indeed stamped my passport with a 30 day stamp before departing.

Where to Get Passport Photos & Photo Copies 

If you forget to bring copies or to take a passport photo, you can usually get these things right next door. At the Chiang Mai Immigration office, there is a photocopy shop where you can make copies and take passport photos (prices are usually more expensive than elsewhere).

Extending a 60 day Thailand Visa on Arrival

This process is the same process as extending a 30 day visa on arrival except you will also need to provide a signed copy of your Thai visa page.

Documents you will need to bring:

  • One 4cm x 6cm passport sized photos
  • signed copies of your passport (page with your photo on it)
  • signed copies of your Thai entry stamp
  • signed copies of your Thai visa page
  • completed form “Extension of Temporary Stay in the Kingdom” (Tm. 7 ) http://www.immigration.go.th/nov2004/download/form_tm7.pdf
  • 1900 Thai baht (extension fee per person)
  • proof of onward travel (flight information)
  • immigration departure card (the one that was given to you at the airport)
  • valid passport

6 Month Thai Visa

Yes! It’s true.

If you are a US citizen and are currently residing in the states, there is currently a new option for Americans to apply for a 6 month tourist visa (before their trip). This is a great way to arrive to Thailand with an extra long visa. No need for visa runs or spending long hours in line at the immigration office.

Immigration Offices in Thailand

Chiang Mai Immigration Office

Promenada Resort Mall

Address: 192-193 Moo 2, Tumbon Tasala, Amphur Muang Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai 50000, Thailand

Hours: 11am -9pm daily

Phone: +66 53 107 888

Bangkok Immigration Office

The Government Complex, B Building, Floor #2 (South Zone)
Address: Chaengwattana Road (Soi 7), Laksi, Bangkok 10210

Why visit Thailand?

Thailand is one of the most desirable destinations in all of Southeast Asia. With it’s friendly visa process, thriving street food scene, and thrilling sight seeing opportunities, it has quickly become a hot spot in Asia. With a mix between modern sky scrappers and ancient temples, Thailand is a country that has preserved its history while still progressing forward. From visiting elephant sanctuaries and emerald buddhas to lounging in sky bars, Thailand has something to offer for everyone.

Conclusion

I hope that this information helps you the next time you need to get a Thailand visa or an extension on your existing Thai visa. If you have any tips or suggestions to add to this article, feel free to leave a comment down below. Did you have a good experience extending your Thai visa?

Author

Adriana discovered her passion for travel after a five-week camping trip through Central America. After graduating from the University of California of Santa Cruz with a B.A. in Modern Literature, she decided to buy a one-way ticket to Bangkok to explore the world. She's lived in Bali, Hanoi, Phnom Penh, and a few other places where durians are plentiful. In a former life, she worked at an investment firm in Los Angeles, California. She now lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

2 Comments

  1. Such a great informative post.

    Visas are such a nightmare when travelling, especially when you don’t have a long term plan and have no idea what visa you want.

    We did not take a pen the first time we extended our visa in Thailand….we learnt from our mistake 😂

    • Thanks Shelley! I’m glad you enjoyed this article.😊👍 Thai visas can be a little tricky…and I’m hoping this blog will help others traveling around Southeast Asia.

      That’s funny about the pen. The last time Nate & I tried to extend our Thai visas in Chiang Mai, we were denied because we had the wrong size passport photos (they were the standard size). They forced us to pay for new passport photos (which were very large and odd looking) at the Chiang Mai Immigration office. Luckily we were able to get our visa extension, but it’s hard knowing what kind of curve balls they will through your way. Now we bring all different sized passport photos just to be on the safe side. LOL 😂

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