Visa Options for Thailand
This section has been included as there is no
doubt that with a Thai girlfriend you will be spending some time in Thailand. There are a number of different visa
options for entry into Thailand. The option you use will depend on how long and/or how often you want to travel to
For the nationals of many countries it is
possible to enter Thailand without applying for a visa before entering. It is essentially a visa waiver scheme. For
this type of entry all you need is a valid passport and proof that you have transportation organised to leave the
country. On this scheme you will be allowed to remain in Thailand for 30 days if you arrive at an
international airport or 15 days at a land crossing. It is possible to extend your stay in Thailand but only for up
to 30 days and this can not be guaranteed. If you think you will be staying longer get a tourist visa before you
The list of countries covered by this scheme:
Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Cameroon, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece,
Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand,
Norway, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland,
Turkey, United Kingdom of Great Britain and N. Ireland, United States of America, Vietnam.
The criteria used by the immigration officers
to evaluate people entering is continually changing. As of June 2016 there have been reports of people having
issues arriving after multiple entries on the visa waiver scheme. Like with anything in Thailand it is difficult to
actually pin down exactly how they are enforcing this. It appears that issues start once people are arriving after
3 visa waiver entries within a year or so. If you are in this situation consider your options
You can apply for a tourist visa before you
arrive in Thailand. These are issued for stays of up to 60 days. They can be extended for up to an extra 30 days.
Like with the non-visa entry extension you are not guaranteed to be given an extension. It is possible to get a
tourist visa that allows for more than one entry as detailed below.
If you would like to stay for longer you have a
number of options. It is possible to get a multiple entry tourist visa. Your visa will have a maximum number
of times that you can enter the country. Each stay is up to 60 days and at the end of each period you will need to
leave Thailand before returning. There is no minimum length of time that you stay out of the country before you can
re-enter. These visas come as either a double entry or triple entry variations.
Once your visa and/or number of entries have
expired you can use the non-visa entry scheme to stay longer. The problem is that they rules are continual
changing. At present if you enter Thailand at a land crossing you will only be given 15 days to stay in Thailand.
If you arrive at an international airport they will give you 30 days. There is some talk that a person can only
have so many consecutive non-visa entries
There is another class of visas available for
those wanting to spend an extended length of time in the country. These are the non-immigrant (type-O) visas which
come as either single or multiple entry visas. Each stay is up to 90 days before a border run is necessary. The
multiple entry visas are valid for 12 months. If your timing is correct, and you do a boarder run on the last
day that a multiple entry visa is valid, you can stay for 90 days after the expiration of the visa. The
availability of these visas is variable. These visas have been easier to obtain in the past. At present they are
being restricted to people who are married to Thais, but things can change quickly.
If you are over
50 a retirement visa is available. These are a non-immigrant visa (type O-A) and no border runs are neccessary.
Once in Thailand extensions of stay can be granted with the only major criteria being either income or cash in a
Thai bank. This allows residence in Thailand.
Another option is a student visa. There are
language schools in Thailand offering cheap Thai language courses that are eligible for a student visa. Some of
them are less that 30 000 Baht (approximately AU$1000) for a one year course which is eligible for a visa for
the same length of time.
Many people over-stay their visas for various
reasons. Most people seem to have no problem with this as long as you voluntarily leave the country ie you go to
the airport or border crossing to leave the country. However, if you are caught in Thailand over-staying your visa
you are in for an unpleasant experience. You will find yourself in jail until preparations are made for you to be
deported at your own expense. Do not over-stay your visa!
If you do over-stay your visa and you leave on
your own accord you may be required to pay a fine. There is no fine for an over-stay of one day. For two days the
fine is 1000 Baht and every day after is 500 Baht.
Beware that both the day you arrive and the day
you leave is one day each. Also if you go through immigration at 11pm but you flight is at 1am the following day it
is the day that your flight leaves that is important.