Foreigners who want to enter Thailand for sightseeing, vacation, or other leisure activities may have to get a Thailand Tourist Visa, depending on their nationality. Thai Tourist Visas are only for short-term purposes which do not require the holder to engage in employment or other remunerated activities of any kind.
If you’re thinking of visiting Thailand, there’s a lot to see there, starting from the ancient ruins and countless elaborate temples, to the charming water markets, modern cityscapes, and sandy white beaches.
This article will detail the Thailand Tourist Visa: who needs one, how to apply, the types, required documents, fees, and other related questions.
Who Needs a Thailand Tourist Visa?
You must apply for a Thailand Tourist Visa unless:
- You are from a country which is exempt from visa requirements
- You are eligible for a Thai Visa On Arrival
Citizens of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, South Korea, and Peru can travel to Thailand without a visa for up to 90 days. Nationals of several other countries are exempt from a Thailand visa for stays of up to 30 or 14 days.
Who Can Get a Thailand Tourist Visa on Arrival?
If you are from one of the following countries, you do not need to apply for a Thailand Tourist Visa before you travel to Thailand – you can obtain it on arrival at one of the designated entry points:
- People’s Republic of China
- Papua New Guinea
- Saudi Arabia
The Thailand Visa On Arrival is only valid for 15 days, after which you have to leave the country; you cannot extend it.
Types of Thailand Tourist Visas
There are three types of Thailand Tourist Visas:
- Single-entry visa, which is valid for three months. After you leave the country, you cannot re-enter, even if you haven’t exhausted the entire number of days.
- Multiple-entry visa, which is valid for six months, and allows the holder to leave and re-enter the country multiple times for the duration the visa is issued.
- Thai Visa On Arrival, which is only issued to citizens of certain countries for a non-extendable period of 15 days.
How to Apply for a Thai Tourist Visa?
You have to apply for a Thailand Tourist Visa at one of the diplomatic missions of Thailand abroad (Embassies or Consulates). The application process is as follows:
- Contact a Thailand Embassy or Consulate in your country or the one nearest to you. Make an appointment if one is required, learn about the opening hours, working days, and their preferred method of Thai visa fee payment. Find a list of Thai diplomatic mission offices here.
- Collect the required documents for a Thai Tourist Visa (see below)
- Submit the Thai Tourist Visa application. Depending on which Embassy/Consulate you apply in, you can submit the application:
- Through the post, in which case you have to enclose a pre-paid and self-addressed envelope
- Wait for the application to be processed
- Collect the passport and visa. If you applied by mail, they will be mailed back to you.
If your Thailand Tourist Visa is approved, you have to enter the country within the time stated on your visa, otherwise, it will expire.
How long does it take to process a Thailand Tourist visa?
The application processing time for a Thai Tourist Visa depends on the specific Embassy or Consulate through which you apply. You should count on between 5-10 working days from the time they receive your completed application, although some diplomatic missions claim to issue visas in as little as 2 working days.
However, because there is no pre-determined amount of time, you should apply at least a couple of weeks in advance of the time you intend to travel. If you are applying by mail, also take into account the time it will take for your document to be mailed to the embassy and back to you.
What documents do I need for a Thai Tourist Visa application?
When you apply for a Thailand Tourist visa, you must have several documents that support your application. The Thailand Tourist Visa requirements include:
- A passport, which is valid for at least another six months and has at least two blank visa pages
- Photocopy of the personal information page of your passport,
- A completed and signed Thailand Visa Application Form
- A confirmed return travel ticket, proving you intend to leave the country after your visa ends
- Two recent passport-size pictures, with the following specifications:
- Dimensions: 3.5 cm x 4.5 cm
- White background
- Taken within the last six months
- You must have a neutral facial expression, staring straight ahead
- Your entire face must be fully visible
- Headgear is only allowed for religious purposes and only when it does not cover the face
- Glasses are allowed only if they do not cover your eyes and do not have heavy frames
- Proof of sufficient financial funds to cover the duration of your stay, such as in the form of bank statements from the last six months
- Proof of accommodation in Thailand (hotel booking, a letter of invitation from a friend, etc).
- Proof of payment of the Thai Visa fee.
- If you are visiting family/friends in Thailand: Proof of relationship
- Letter of Invitation
- If you’re applying for a multiple-entry visa:
- Proof of employment, such as a letter from your employer if you are employed; a self-assessment and/or your company’s registration document if you are self-employed; letter from your school if you are a student.
- Documents attesting to your need for a multiple-entry visa
The Thai Embassy or Consulate in which you apply can ask for any additional documents as they see fit. The documents also change depending on the purpose of your travel.
The documents which are not in English have to be translated and legalized.
How Much Is the Thailand Tourist Visa Fee?
The Thailand Visa fee changes depending on the country from which you are applying and the local currency. However, as an estimate, the Thai Tourist Visa cost ranges at about $30 to $50 for single-entry visas and about $150 – $250 for multiple-entry visas.
Additionally, you may have to pay in cash at the time of application or through bank transfer, as per the preferences of the Thai embassy or consulate through which you apply.
What Is the Duration of a Thailand Tourist Visa?
A Thai Tourist Visa is issued for the following duration:
- Single-entry Thai Tourist Visa: Valid for three months and a single entry. You can stay in Thailand for up to sixty days within three months. If you leave, you cannot re-enter even if you haven’t spent the maximum duration of days.
- Multiple-entry Thai Tourist Visa: Valid for six months, during which time you can enter multiple times, but for only up to sixty days per entry.
- Thai Visa On Arrival: Up to 15 days.
Can I Extend a Thailand Tourist Visa?
Yes, you can, unless you have a Thai Visa On Arrival. If you are in Thailand on a regular Tourist Visa, and you want to stay for longer than the visa is issued, you can apply for an extension at the Office of the Thailand Immigration Bureau in Bangkok before the visa expires. Extensions are issued for up to 30 days but the decision is ultimately up to the Immigration Officers.
To apply for an extension, you need:
- Your valid passport
- Photocopies of your passport’s information page, your current Thai visa, and the entry and exit stamps
- The Thai Visa Extension Application Form, which you can download online or get at the Immigration Office
- Enough money to pay the Thai visa Extension fee (1,900 Thai Baht which is about USD 62)
- A passport-sized picture
Thai Visas On Arrival, however, which are issued for up to 15 days, cannot be extended. If you know you need to stay for longer than 15 days, you have to apply for a regular Thai Tourist Visa from one of the diplomatic missions of Thailand.
What Happens If I Overstay a Thailand Tourist Visa?
If you overstay your Thai Tourist visa, you will be fined. The fines for overstaying start from 500 Thai Baht per day, and can reach as high as 20,000 Thai Baht per day if you overstay for more than 40 days.
If you overstay your visa for longer than 90 days, you will be deported and banned from re-entering the country, depending on how much you have overstayed (the ban could be from 1 to 10 years).
Can I Apply for a Thailand Tourist Visa Online?
Whether you can apply for a Thailand Tourist Visa depends on your nationality. For the moment, only citizens of a few countries can submit their Thai Visa applications online: China, Britain, and France.
In December 2018, the Thailand Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that in 2019, they would launch a new electronic application system for visa applications in order to facilitate tourism. In February 2019, Chinese nationals became the first foreign nationals to be eligible for the Thai eVisa and were joined by British and French nationals in April.
However, it is expected that in the following three years, citizens of all foreign countries with which Thailand has diplomatic relations will become eligible to receive a Thailand visa online.
Additionally, as of now, even those who are eligible to submit their Thailand visa applications online still have to go and get their passport stamped at a Thai embassy or consulate in their country, but the Thai government intends to make the entire process online in the following years.
If you are eligible, you can apply for a Thai Tourist Visa online here.
Can I Work With a Thailand Tourist Visa?
No, a Thailand Tourist Visa does not allow the holder to work. Any foreigner who wants to work or conduct business in Thailand must apply for a Non-Immigrant Visa category ”B”. Additionally, if you want to take up paid employment, you also need a Thai Work Permit, which your employer has to obtain for you.