So you want to know if you really need a Thailand Travel Visa.
Well this all depends on exactly how long you are going to spend in Thailand, and what the purpose of your visit is.
First of all, any visitor to Thailand must hold a current passport that has a minimum validity of 6 months remaining from the intended date of entry. In addition to this you must also be in possession of an onward or return travel ticket, this will then prove that you intend to leave the country at the end of your visit.
So long as these two basic conditions are met, most visitors to Thailand, who wish to stay in the country for 30 days or less, will be granted a VOA (visa on arrival). Providing you arrive in Thailand through an airport, you will receive a full 30 days visa on arrival, and as such you do not need to obtain any additional Thailand travel visa prior to your visit. However you should note that if you do arrive in Thailand by land, through a border crossing, then you will be granted a stay of only 15 days. This latest update to the Immigration rules is intended to discourage visitors from remaining in the Kingdom without the correct Thailand travel visa.
As the majority of visitors to Thailand are here for a holiday, and as such they do arrive by plane, then the standard 30 day visa on arrival is usually more than sufficient. Therefore most visitors do not need any additional Thailand travel visa prior to arrival.
If you do wish to stay in Thailand for more than 30 days then the best advice is to obtain a Thailand tourist visa. This type of visa can easily be obtained through a Thai embassy or consulate in your home country. Most embassies require you to visit in person, however many of the consulates do allow postal applications, making obtaining a tourist visa a very simple process.
Should you require a stay of more than 90 days, then you must first obtain a non-immigrant visa again from a Thailand consulate or embassy in your home country.
If you are unsure of the rules and regulations you can always contact the Pattaya Immigration Office for more information.
A non-immigrant “O” visa is required if the purpose of your visit is to stay with family or friends for a longer period than a holiday. If you are visiting Thailand for business or work reasons then a non-immigrant “B” visa is the one you should apply for. You should also note that in addition to this visa, you will require a work permit before you can commence any type of work in Thailand. Work permits are only available from the works and labour department here in Thailand, and they are only issued providing you satisfy the criteria that is set, this includes already having a valid non-immigrant visa.
Both of the above non-immigrant visas are valid for 1 year, however upon arrival in Thailand you will only be granted an initial stay of 90 days. Before the 90th day has expired you will then be required to visit a border crossing and leave Thailand (only for a short time) upon re-entry into Thailand you will be granted a further 90 days. This process you will need to do every 90 days while ever the non-immigrant visa in your passport is still valid, if done correctly this can give you a total stay in Thailand of 15 months. You will however once the final 90 days has been issued and before the 90th day has expired, be required to leave Thailand for good. Should you still wish to stay in Thailand after this, then you will have to return to your home country and repeat the whole process again, starting by obtaining the correct Thailand travel visa.
This is very important, which ever type of Thailand travel visa you obtain or even if you get a visa on arrival, Thai Immigration will stamp your passport with an entry stamp. This stamp will tell you the date by which you are legally allowed to remain in Thailand until.
DO NOT stay in Thailand beyond this date!
Overstays in Thailand are a very serious matter, at best when you try to leave the country you will be fined 500 baht per day for each day you have overstayed, up to a maximum of 20,000 baht, pay the fine and that should be the end of it. Worse than that however is before you even attempt to leave the country, if you are stopped by the police for any reason, or maybe even the immigration police randomly check out your hotel, if you are found to be on a overstay you WILL be arrested. Then after spending a period of time in a Thai jail, you will be fined and deported all at your own expense. You may also find in years to come that if you ever apply for a Thailand travel visa, or even try and visit Thailand again, you will be refused.
Make sure you check which Thailand travel visa is the appropriate one for you!
You can obtain more information about any visas you may require from your embassy. The US Embassy in Bangkok and the British Embassy in Bangkok are two embassies in Thailand that can help you with any visa requirements or questions you may have.
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