What Visa should I get to go to Thailand?
If you are planning on visiting Thailand for a simple short-term holiday, a Tourist Visa will normally provide a long enough length of stay (up to six months) for most people. Also, it depends on what country your passport was issued in (scroll below for a full list), but most Passport holders can stay in Thailand for up to 90 days without even having to apply for a Thai Visa all thanks to the Visa Exemption Rule in Thailand.
Want to skip the boring details? Take a gander below at Entering Thailand Without A Visa.
How do I apply for a Thailand Visa?
If you are from one of the below listed countries, you do not need to apply for a Tourist Visa before departing for your holiday to Thailand under the Visa Exemption Rule. You do absolutely nothing, immigration will simply issue you with an arrival card and stamp on arrival at the airport in Thailand. The only catch is that you cannot stay in Thailand for longer than 30 days at a time. This means you need to cross the border, get your passport stamped and re-enter every 30 days, but this isn’t usually a problem for travellers planning on exploring the neighbouring countries such as Laos, Malaysia and Cambodia anyway.
Providing you leave Thailand every 30 days, you can stay for a maximum total of 90 days within a 6 month period without a Thai Visa. It may be worth noting though, that if you first enter Thailand at a border crossing rather than an International Airport, your Visa will only allow you a stay of 15 days, rather than 30 days.
What about a Thailand Tourist Visa?
The only time you will need to apply for a Tourist Visa in advance, is if you are only booking one-way flights and don’t have any other proof of onward travel out of Thailand. Some airlines may have a problem with this and refuse to allow you to fly. Another advantage of applying for a Tourist Visa in advance, is that you will be permitted to stay in Thailand for the first 60 days instead of 30 without leaving.
This means that if you apply for a triple entry Thailand Tourist Visa in advance for around £75, you can stay for a total of 6 months instead of 90 days – as long as you exit and re-enter Thailand every 60 days. Either way, in this case, you need to make sure to apply for your Thai Tourist Visa at your local Thai consulate at least a week or two in advance – Most Thai consulates generally take no more than a few days to process Thailand Visa applications. You can also apply in person if running low on time, this typically only takes up to an hour.
Entering Thailand without a Thai Visa
- Obtain an entry stamp and arrival card after landing at the airport in Thailand
- Leave the country or cross the border within 30 days of arrival in Thailand
- You can exit and re-enter Thailand up to 3 times for a maximum stay of 90 days
- Must provide proof of adequate finances, for example cash of at least 10,000 baht per person
- Must have at least 6 months passport validity
- Must have proof of onward travel within 30 days of arrival in Thailand. For example a return flight ticket or train ticket out of Thailand
- Passport must be issued by one the listed countries below
Countries under the Visa Exemption Rule in Thailand
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States
Alternatively, anybody planning on acquiring a Non-tourist Visa in Thailand must apply in advance. You can read more about staying in Thailand long-term and other Thailand Visas here.