Entering Thailand

The type of entry will determine the period Thai Immigration will allow you to stay in Thailand – Visa Exempt, Visa on Arrival, Tourist Visa, or Non-Immigrant Visa.


Thailand has several ports of entry at both international airports and border crossing points. As with any country, the Kingdom has specific requirements for foreigners entering the country. 

What do I need to do to enter Thailand?

The chart below shows the type of entry and permitted stay for entry into Thailand. To obtain a Visa, you need to apply at a Thai Embassy or Consulate. Depending on the type of Visa, certain documents will be required which may differ depending on where you apply. Information regarding the applicable fee and any supporting documents required can be obtained from the Embassy/Consulate where the application will be made.

As of April 2020, foreigners were not permitted to enter Thailand.  Since July 2020, this has been relaxed for certain categories but continues to exclude Visa Exempt, Tourist Visa, and Non-Immigrant O-A and O-X (retiree) Visa.  Therefore those types of entry included in this section are not available at this time.

Under Phase V of relaxing COVID-19 restrictions, the Government will permit the following Non-Thai nationals who:

  • Are a spouse, parents, or children of a Thai national.
  • Hold a valid certificate of permanent residency in the Kingdom, or permission to take up residence in the Kingdom.
  • Have work permit or have been granted permission from government agencies to work in the Kingdom, including their spouse or children.
  • Are students of educational institutions approved by Thai authorities, including the parents or guardians of the students, except for students of non-formal educational institutions under the law on Private schools and of other similar private educational institutions.
  • Are in need of medical treatment in Thailand, and their attendants - does not include medical treatment for COVID19.

Under Phase VI are the following categories:

  • Thai Elite Visa holders,
  • Medical tourists,
  • Film production crews,
  • Foreign exhibitors in the convention center industry, and
  • Select business people.

To enter they must apply for the appropriate Visa from a Thai Embassy or Consulate.

In addition to the normal requirements mentioned in this section, applicants will also need a Certificate of Entry (the Embassy/Consulate will note what is required to obtain the Certificate).  Upon arrival in Thailand, most entrants will be required to go into quarantine at a Government designated hotel for 14 days.


What do I do when I arrive?

Upon arrival, you will present your passport and a completed TM.6 Arrival/Departure Card to a Thai Immigration official. Your passport will need to be valid for the intended length of stay.  Please note that if obtaining a Visa from a Thai Embassy/Consulate, they will usually require your passport have 6 months remaining validity.


What will the Immigration Officer do?

The Thai Immigration Officer will place a stamp in your passport giving you an “Admitted Until” date. The type of entry, Visa Exempt, Visa on Arrival, Tourist Visa, or Non-Immigrant Visa, will determine the length of permitted stay.  The Departure portion of the TM.6 will be placed in your passport - do not lose it as it will be needed when you next exit Thailand.

[Please be sure to check the "Admitted Until Date" before you leave the Immigration counter - if not correct, which does happen, courteously point out the error to the Immigration Officer so it can be corrected - see below for the appropriate period of stay based on the type of entry]


What is the difference between a "Visa" and a "Permission to Stay"?

Please be aware that a "Visa" and a "Permission to Stay" are not the same.  A Visa, usually issued by a Thai Embassy or Consulate represents a document that allows entry.  Whereas a Permission to Stay is the amount of time you are permitted to stay in Thailand once you have been admitted.   Click here to read the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs' explanation of the difference (see items 7 & 8).


What happens if I overstay my permitted time in Thailand?

It is strongly recommended that you do not OVERSTAY the admitted until date. You may hear that it is a simple matter and that you can pay a fine upon leaving Thailand (presently 500 Baht per day to a maximum of 20,000 Baht). However, it is illegal to overstay and if your documents are examined by the police before you arrive at your Thai immigration departure point, you will be arrested, jailed, fined, and deported at your expense.


Depending on the number of days you overstay, Thai Immigration, in addition to a monetary fine, will ban you from returning to Thailand for a period of time. Click Here for Thai Immigration Notice on penalties for overstay.

If you should inadvertently overstay, you may wish to visit an Immigration Office - it is our understanding, they will levy the fine, but also extend the date for a short period to allow you time to leave the country (of course, if the overstay is lengthy (months/years), the Immigration Office may not be so lenient).


What do the entries  on my Visa and Permission to Stay stamp mean?

The following chart explains what the entries on a Thai Visa and the Permission to Stay stamp represent :  

TYPES OF ENTRY


Type

Permitted Stay

Extension of  Stay

Remarks


Visa Exempt

(No Visa)

30 Days

Yes - Once for 30 days

Available to passport holders from 48 countries. Click here for a list of countries.

Click the button below for more information on requirements for Entry:

Visa Exempt Entry


Visa on Arrival

15 Days

No

Available to passport holders from 18 countries. Click here for a list of countries.

Click the button below for more information on requirements for Entry:

Visa on Arrival

Tourist Visa

60 Days

Yes - Once for 30 days



Click the button below for more information on requirements for this Visa:

Tourist Visa


Non-Immigrant Visa

(Most  Common Categories "O", "B", & "ED")

90 Days

Yes - Up to One Year


Click the button below for more information on requirements for this Visa:

Non-Immigrant Visa


Non-Immigrant

Category O-A

One Year

Yes - for One Year

Often referred to as a "Retirement Visa" - must be obtained in your country of residence.

Click the button below for more information on requirements for this Visa:

Non-Immigrant O-A


Non-Immigrant

Category O-X

Five Years

Yes - once for Five Years

Often referred to as a "10 Year Retirement Visa" - must be obtained in your country of residence.

Click the button below for more information on requirements for this Visa:

Non-Immigrant O-X

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