Home Thailand Travel GuideHow to Apply for a Thai Visa

How to Apply for a Thai Visa

Nationals of most countries are exempt from needing a tourist visa to enter the Kingdom of Thailand.

For others, there remain two ways of obtaining a Thai visa: Applying for a Visa on Arrival (VOA), which is limited to citizens of certain countries, or applying for a Thai visa in your country of residence.

Quick Facts

  • Passport holders from 57 countries are exempt from obtaining a visa to visit Thailand.
  • People from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Germany, France, and Russia, among several others, can visit Thailand without needing to acquire a visa beforehand, for a period of up to 30 days in the country.
  • People from China, India, Bulgaria, Bhutan, and Romania, among several others, can visit Thailand by acquiring a Visa on Arrival (VOA) for a period of up to 15 days in the country.
  • For those travelers not eligible for the visa-exemption or the Visa on Arrival program, a Thai visa will need to be obtained from their country of residence before visiting.

Tourist visa exemption scheme (aka visa waiver stamp)

Passport holders from 57 countries, including the citizens of most European countries, Australia, and the U.S., can enter Thailand for up to 30 days without acquiring a visa beforehand. 

Passport holders of the following countries/administrative regions may enter Thailand without a visa:

Key Features and Procedure:

  • Bring your passport, and do make sure it's valid for at least 6 months.
  • If you arrive at an airport, you will be allowed to stay for up to 30 days in Thailand.
  • At land borders, citizens of G7 countries (the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan) and Malaysia are allowed to stay for a period of up to 30 days, while all other nationalities are allowed to stay for a period of up to 15 days in Thailand.
  • The only document/form you need to fill in is the Thailand Arrival/Departure Card that will be provided to you on the plane or at the border.
  • You may also be required to present Proof of Onward Travel either at the time of checking in for your flight to Thailand, or at immigration in Thailand. This is a confirmed air ticket out of Thailand or a return flight home within 30 days of arrival (train or bus tickets out of Thailand do NOT count; it must be a flight out of the country).

Those eligible receive an exemption each time they enter Thailand. If you make a trip outside the country within your 30-day period, your initial exemption is canceled and you receive a new 15 or 30-day exemption when you return.

 This means you will receive a new visa-exemption each time you enter Thailand. The exemption is granted at most twice in a calendar year when entering overland or via a sea border, but there is no limit when entering by air.

Two Ways of Obtaining a Visa for Thailand

Passport holders from countries that are not eligible for the visa-exemption scheme may apply for a Thai visa by either obtaining a Visa on Arrival (VOA), or by applying for a Thai visa from their country of residence.

Visa on Arrival (VOA)

Some nationalities (more information provided in the tables that follow) are eligible for a Thai Visa on Arrival, which allows a stay of up to 15 days in the country.

VOA is available at the main international airports or at land border crossings and ports. Here is a brief list of airport entry points where a VOA can be issued and processed, as most visitors choose to fly into Thailand:

International Airports:

Chiang Mai International Airport Chiang Rai International Airport
Don Meung International Airport Hat Yai International Airport
Hua Hin Airport Phuket International Airport
Samui Airport Sukhothai Airport
Surat Thani Airport Suvarnabhumi Airport
Trang Airport U-Tapao International Airport

Key Features and Procedure:

  • Bring your passport, and do make sure it's valid for at least 6 months.
  • Provide 2 passport photos and fill in a Visa on Arrival application form before reaching immigration.
  • Pay a fee of 2,000 Thai Baht.
  • You will also be required to present Proof of Onward Travel either at the time of checking in for your flight to Thailand, or at immigration in Thailand. This is a confirmed air ticket out of Thailand or a return flight home within 15 days of arrival (train or bus tickets out of Thailand do NOT count; it must be a flight out of the country).
  • You may also be required to show immigration officers that you have travel funds of at least 10,000 Thai Baht if traveling alone (or 20,000 Thai Baht for a family) in cash.

There are clear signs at the airport (and land and sea crossings) showing travelers where they are required to go to apply for a Visa on Arrival.

Thai Embassy or Consulate

For passport holders from countries not eligible for the visa-exemption scheme or the Visa on Arrival program, or for those wishing to stay in Thailand for more than 30 days, a tourist visa application has to be filed at the Thai Embassy or Consulate in their country of residence.

One can apply for a Single Entry Tourist Visa, which is valid for a period of up to 60 days.

A Multiple Entry Tourist Visa (METV) can also be obtained from the Thai Embassy or Consulate. This allows an unrestricted number of entries within 6 months of the first entry, with a maximum of 60 days per entry.

Each applicant must complete the visa application by applying at their nearest Thai Embassy or Consulate. The following documents are required:

  • Passport or travel document with a validity of not less than 6 months
  • Filled in visa application form
  • One recent 4x6 cm photograph of the applicant, taken within the last 6 months
  • Round-trip air ticket or e-ticket (paid in full)
  • Proof of financial means (20,000 Thai Baht per person/40,000 Thai Baht per family)

In addition, applicants are reminded that consular officers reserve the right to request any other documents they deem necessary. A visa fee of US $30 per entry is levied on each application.

Application forms are available on the Royal Thai Embassy website in each visitor's country.

Visa extensions and overstay penalties

Tourist visas, both single and multiple entry, can be extended once for each entry, for a period not exceeding 30 days. Tourists from visa-excempt countries also can get an extension. This requires a filled-in application form and a payment of the extension fee, currently 1900 Thai Baht, to be made at any Immigration Office. This can be done on or before the day the current period of stay expires.

If you exceed the number of days you’re allowed to be in Thailand and overstay, you will be fined 500 Thai Baht per day, with the maximum being 20,000 Thai Baht if you have overstayed for 40 or more days.

In addition, Thailand has introduced a ban on entering its Kingdom for foreigners that give themselves up at immigration, as follows:

  • Overstay more than 90 days – Fine and 1 year ban from entering Thailand
  • Overstay more than 1 year – Fine and 3 year ban from entering Thailand
  • Overstay more than 3 years – Fine and 5 year ban from entering Thailand
  • Overstay more than 5 years – 10 year ban from Thailand

Visit Thailand with Asia Highlights

Thailand is a beautiful tropical getaway all year round and you’re bound to have a good time whenever you visit. Asia Highlights takes everything, including the weather, into consideration when designing the best possible itinerary for guests.

Tours typically start and end in Bangkok, and last approximately 13 days; visiting Bangkok, Khao Yai National Park, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, and Phuket.

You might like:

13-Day Essence of Thailand Tour: Far More beyond Temples

14-Day Myanmar and Thailand Essence Tour: Travel in Smiles

15-Day Myanmar, Thailand and Bali Honeymoon: Creating Memories Together

You might like to read

How to Plan Your Trip to Thailand

How to Avoid Tourist Traps in Thailand

How to Choose Hotels in Thailand

Best Time to Visit Thailand