Your Phuket Visa
Phuket is the largest island in Thailand, located in the Adaman Sea along the west coast of Southern Island. You can enter the island through Phuket International Airport or by traveling through Bangkok. If you are planning on a stay of 60 days or more you have to apply for the visa through the Thai embassy before your arrival. Tourists from visa exemption countries only require a passport for travel. There are about 40 to 50 countries in this list, but the stay cannot exceed 30 days. Thailand also has bilateral agreements with many countries. Tourists from these countries may be exempt from visa for a period of up to 90 days.
It is better to call up any travel agency or consulate office or embassy to get exact, detailed information as to whether or not your country is on that list. The lists on the internet may not be updated. There are also limits on these visa exemptions, for example, in some cases your stay cannot extend 90 days in a 180 day period. If you have arrived on the first of January you can stay for 90 days, then you cannot come back for another 90 days. Visa laws in Phuket used to be a little more liberal, but tourists started taking advantage of the country’s leniency. So Thailand updated their Phuket visa laws in order to bring more stability, and control to the tourist industry, and immigration issues.
You can also get visas on arrival from international check points in Phuket. These are issued for only 15 days. They can cost you about 1000 Baht. It’s a good deal if you just plan on stopping by on your way to another vacation destination. In order to receive an ‘on-arrival visa’ of 15 days you need to prove a minimum balance of 10000 baht if you are alone and about 20000 baht if you are with family. They will also check your passports to see your travel plans and check your travel tickets. Resident visas can also be obtained for setting up residence in Phuket. Like in any other country, if you are caught without a visa you can get in serious trouble. You have to go through a lot of hassle to manage and pay a bunch of fines. So if you know that you are going to Phuket it is better to arrange for the visa before arrival. If you are from the exempted countries then don’t worry, go ahead and have fun!