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Thai Visa Information

Types of Visa   30-Day Visa Exemption   New Visa Rules   Visa Extension & Visa Runs
Passport Holders Who Can Enter Thailand Without Visa   Thailand Visa News

The most basic requirement for a trip to Thailand is a passport still valid for at least six months, counting from the date of your arrival in the Kingdom. So if you plan a holiday in Thailand and the expiry date of your passport should be within the next six months, please apply for a new passport asap.
When in Thailand, do not overstay your visa. Always check the expiry date of your current visa and your relevant entry stamp ("admitted until").
If you make it to the airport or any land border checkpoint, the overstay charge is only 500 Baht per day (maximum fine 20,000 Baht). If you should, however, get arrested without a valid visa during your stay in the country, you would be considered an illegal immigrant, face deportation and harsh fines.

Types of Visa

If you wish to stay in Thailand for longer than 30 days, it might be a good idea to a apply for a visa prior to your trip. If you plan to stay for a holiday no longer than 90 days at a time in Thailand, a regular tourist visa will likely be sufficient. Please click the appropriate link to find all details you need to know:
Tourist Visa
Business - Non-Immigrant Visa "B"
Retirement - Non-Immigrant Visa "O-A" (Long Stay)
Education - Non-Immigrant Visa "ED"
Marriage - Non-Immigrant Visa "O"
Other types of Non-Immigrant visas include e.g. investment and diplomatic visa.

30-Day Visa Exemption (New Rules!)

In general, foreigners who wish to stay in Thailand for longer than 30 days are required to obtain a visa from a Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate prior to their visit.
However, nationals of most European, many North and South American, as well as other Asian countries, who meet "visa exemption" requirements and wish to stay in Thailand for not exceeding 30 days for "tourism purposes" only (!) do not require a visa when entering Thailand. All they need is a passport valid for at least six months!
This permission of stay has only little in common with a regular visa. In fact, it's not a visa at all. The term "visa exemption" simply means that eligible foreigners shall be granted a permission of stay without having to apply for a visa prior to their entry into the Kingdom.
Upon arrival at a Thai immigration checkpoint, you'll simply have an entry stamp (not a regular visa) stamped onto a page of your passport. This little square stamp displays both the "date of arrival" and an "admitted until" field, showing the date when you're due to leave. This visa-exempt entry stamp (sometimes wrongly referred to as "tourist visa" or "visa on arrival") is free of charge.
The permitted duration of stay is up to 30 days (for nationals of most countries).
Tourists arriving via international airports will get a 30-day entry stamp, while visitors from most Western countries arriving in Thailand via land border checkpoints will receive only a 15-day permission of stay (see below).
The only official requirement is an onward travel ticket as proof of your intention to leave Thailand again. Therefore, traveling to Thailand with a one-way ticket cannot be recommended. While this regulation is occasionally being enforced (and some airlines might refuse to let you board a flight to Thailand unless you have a return ticket) it is usually taken for granted that tourists arriving in Thailand have adequate financial means to cover their expenses in the country (10,000 Baht a person or 20,000 Baht per family, as officially required).
Employment is strictly prohibited, and work permits cannot be applied for. If you intend to work in Thailand legally and/or conduct a business you will need to obtain a non-immigrant visa "B".

Immigration Crackdown On "Border Runners": New Visa Rules!

UPDATE - From November 2013, tourists from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the United States, again receive 30-day (!) entry stamps when arriving in Thailand via a land border checkpoint, not only 15 days as previously.
Previous updates - Effective from late 2008, tourists from most countries who have not obtained a visa prior to their visit to Thailand and arrive via a land border checkpoint (Cambodia, Laos, Burma etc.) will be granted only a 15-days permission of stay. This means: No longer 30-day entry stamps when doing "visa runs" to the Cambodian border! (Russian citizens are exempt from this new rule and still get 30-day entry stamps at land border checkpoints! In November 2013, this rule has also been relaxed for nationals of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the United States.) Foreigners arriving via international airports are not affected by this regulation; they will still obtain a 30-day entry stamp.
Effective from June 1, 2009, foreigners who have entered the Kingdom four consecutive times on 15-day entry stamps (via land border checkpoints) will not be allowed to leave the country and re-enter Thailand by land. The only option is to exit Thailand and re-enter via an international airport, in which case a further 30-day extension of stay in the country will be granted.
If you wish to further extend your holidays in Thailand by traveling on 60-day tourist visas, please note that in late 2009, Thai embassies have announced a new crackdown on back-to-back tourist visa applications. Stricter requirements for applicants are reportedly also being enforced since August 2011.

Passport Holders Who Can Enter Thailand Without Visa

Tourists from the countries listed below may enter Thailand without a visa ("visa exemption") for a maximum stay of 30 days usually (for tourism purposes only) or may apply for a "visa on arrival" upon arrival at a Thai border checkpoint (15 days permission of stay). Tourists who wish to stay longer than 30 days will need to apply for a tourist or other visa.

Argentina (90), Australia, Austria
Bahrain (90), Belgium, Brazil (90), Brunei
Cambodia, Canada, Chile (90), China, Cyprus (15), Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia (15)
Finland, France
Germany, Greece
Hong Kong SAR, Hungary
Iceland, India (15), Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy
Japan
Kazakhstan (15), Korea/South, Kuwait (90)
Latvia (15), Laos, Liechtenstein, Lithuania (15), Luxembourg
Macao SAR, Malaysia, Maldives (15), Mauritius (15), Mongolia, Myanmar
Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway
Oman (90)
Peru (90), Phillippines, Poland, Portugal
Quatar (90)
Russian Federation (Russian citizens also get 30-day entry stamps at land border checkpoints!)
Saudi Arabia (90), Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland
Taiwan (15), Turkey
Ukraine (15), United Arab Emirates (90), United Kingdom, USA
Vietnam

For updated conditions and specifications of "visa exemption", "visa on arrival" and the permitted duration of stay, please visit the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Stay In Thailand Longer Than 30 Days? Visa Extension, Visa Runs

Effective from December 2008, tourists from most countries who have not obtained a visa prior to their visit to Thailand and arrive via a land border checkpoint (e.g. from Burma, Cambodia or Laos) will be granted only a 15-days permission of stay. This means: No longer 30-day entry stamps when doing "visa runs" to the Cambodian border! Foreigners arriving via international airports are not affected by this regulation; they will still obtain a 30-days entry stamp.
Important note: Russian citizens are exempt from this new regulation and still get 30-day entry stamps at land border checkpoints! In November 2013, this rule has also been relaxed for nationals of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the United States, who now receive 30-day entry stamps again when entering Thailand via a land border checkpoint!
In addition: Effective from June 2009, foreign visitors, who have entered Thailand four consecutive times on 15-day entry stamps (via land border checkpoints) shall not be allowed to leave and re-enter Thailand by land again. The only option is to exit Thailand and re-enter via an international airport, in which case a further 30-day extension of stay in the Kingdom will be granted.
If you plan to further extend your holidays in Thailand by traveling on 60-day tourist visas, please note that in September 2009, Thai immigration has announced a new crackdown on back-to-back tourist visa applications. Tourist visa applicants will face stricter "screening measures" to make sure that they are genuine tourists and use their visas not as a way to work illegally in Thailand. Applicants with "too many" back-to-back tourist visa stamps may have a new application refused: Thailand Visa News.
In August 2011, Thai embassies and consulates abroad have also been instructed to be "stricter with requirements when applicants are applying for 60-day tourist visas for Thailand."
From now on, Thai embassies will reportedly also require a "confirmed airline ticket with flight numbers and date of entry/exit" when applying for a 60-day tourist visa, "plus confirmed hotel reservations with name and dates of checking in/out"; otherwise an explanation letter must be provided. These new official requirements were reportedly in effect immediately, i.e. since August 2011; however, it seems that the nearby consulates in the SEA region (e.g. Laos, Cambodia or Malaysia) do not require an outbound flight ticket or hotel reservations. Source: ThaiVisa.com

Visa Extension

If you should decide to stay longer in Thailand than 30 days and have not applied for a regular visa in advance, you can apply for a 7-day extension at a fee of 1,900 Baht at your local immigration office. (If you travel with a 60-day tourist visa, you may extend your stay for 30 days.)
Required documents include the fully-filled extension form (TM. 7), a copy of your passport and a passport picture (4x6cm). In Pattaya, the local immigration office is located on Soi 5 in Jomtien.

"Visa Runs"

Another popular option is a so-called visa run, either to the nearby Cambodian border where you may get another 15-day/30-day entry stamp (depending on your nationality) or a trip to one of the neighbouring countries, where you may apply for a regular tourist visa a Non-Immigrant visa of either type.
Otherwise, if you simply exit and re-enter Thailand via an international airport (i.e. without applying for a visa at a Thai embassy) you will still obtain a 30-day entry stamp upon arrival in Thailand.
Thailand Tourist Visa   Visa Run To Vientiane, Laos

One-day "visa runs" to the Cambodian border (usually Chantaburi) have been popular with tourists and foreign residents of Pattaya for many years. Border runs can be booked at dozens of tour agencies in Pattaya at rates between roughly 1,700 and 2,500 Baht.
These prices include visa fees for Cambodia, visa assistance at the border, and transportation by minibus from Pattaya or Jomtien to the Cambodian border and back. Depending on the package you choose, breakfast and/or lunch may be included, too.
The total duration of these organized "visa runs" to the border is roughly between 8 and 10 hours, depending on traffic, weather and how busy it is at the border.
Most tour operators leave from Pattaya at around 6.00 or 7.00h and will be back in Pattaya early in the afternoon. Some may pick you up at your hotel or condominium, while others have central meeting points from where they depart.
There is one drawback though: The enforcement of the new 15-days rule when arriving in Thailand via land border checkpoints, which applies to many Western tourists, and the restriction to a maximum of four consecutive border runs since 2009, make these formerly popular "visa runs" often little less than an inefficient drudgery.
If you travel with a multiple-entry tourist or Non-Immigrant visa, these new regulations won't affect you, of course, and you will be granted an extra 60-day respectively 90-day permission of stay at the border, provided your visa is still valid and has not been fully used.

To sum it up, you could travel (fly) to Thailand without a visa and stay for initially 30 days. After that you can either:
- get a seven-day visa extension at your local immigration office (fee 1,900 Baht);
- make a maximum of four consecutive visa runs to the Cambodian or any other land border, and stay in Thailand for an additional 15 or 30 days each time (depending on your nationality);
- exit and re-enter Thailand via an international airport (30-day permission of stay); or
- visit a neighbouring country, e.g. Cambodia, Laos or Malaysia, and apply for a Tourist/Non-Immigrant visa at a Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate.

So, what's the best, most convenient and inexpensive solution?
If you wish to stay in Pattaya for an "extended" period of time, and want to avoid half a dozen or so visa runs every 15 or 30 days, you'll need to obtain an appropriate visa issued at a Thai embassy preferably in your home country, where double, triple or multiple-entry visas can be obtained most easily. If you're in Thailand already and don't want to leave the region, a "visa run" to a nearby Southeast Asian country like Cambodia, Laos or Malaysia will most likely also do the job.
If you choose to visit a nearby Southeast Asian country, please note that the embassy in Phnom Phen (Cambodia) has a rather bad reputation - at least for tourist visas - and the consulate on the Malaysian island of Penang reportedly only issues single-entry visas (restricted to three consecutive applications. If the consulate decides to restrict your visits, they'll place a red stamp on your last visa stating that future applications will get refused.)
While the Thai embassies in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore have a rather good reputation, the one in Manila (Philippines) should be totally avoided.
At the moment, the least problems with obtaining (consecutive) tourist visas have been reported at the Thai Consulate in Vientiane where double-entry tourist visas are also available on request.
However, since the crackdown on back-to-back tourist visa applications is also being enforced in Laos, applicants with "too many" consecutive tourist visa stickers in their passport may have red warning stamps put on their visas, indicating that future applications "may not be accepted," or simply have their visa application rejected. Foreigners have been advised to apply for Non- Immigrant visas instead:
Thailand Visa News: Crackdown On Back-To-Back Tourist Visa Applications
In August 2011, Thai embassies and consulates abroad have also been instructed to be "stricter with requirements when applicants are applying for 60-day tourist visas for Thailand."
As of 2011, Thai embassies will reportedly also require a "confirmed airline ticket with flight numbers and date of entry/exit" when applying for a 60-day tourist visa, "plus confirmed hotel reservations with name and dates of checking in/out"; otherwise an "explanation letter" must be provided. While these new requirements were officially in effect immediately, i.e. since the end of August 2011 (see this thread at ThaiVisa) it seems that the nearby consulates in the SEA region (e.g. Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia) do not require an outbound flight ticket or hotel reservations.
Visa Run to Vientiane, Laos
Another increasingly popular option is a so-called ED visa (Education visa aka "student visa") which is granted to foreign students who enroll, for example, in a Thai language course at a local language school certified by the Ministry of Education. More details on our dedicated Education Visa page.

To read more on different visa categories available for Thailand and find out which type suits you best, please check the following links in the visa section on our website:
Tourist Visa
Business - Non-Immigrant Visa "B"
Retirement - Non-Immigrant Visa "O-A"
Education - Non-Immigrant Visa "ED"
Marriage - Non-Immigrant Visa "O"

The following links may also be of interest for you:
Thai Visa Expat Forum
Thailand Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Directory of Thai Embassies and Consulates (official website)