Visa rules for travel to Phuket and Thailand

Thailand’s visa rules have changed a lot over the past few years. It used to be that you could get a 30 permit-to-stay on arrival and keep extending that by doing visa runs every 30 days. People would stay in Thailand for years without ever having more than a 30-day permit-to-stay. Those days are long gone – some say for the better, some say for the worse.

Note: If you are traveling to Thailand as a tourist, you are only permitted to stay for a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period. This means that if you stay for three months non stop, you will have to go somewhere else for three months.

Visa on arrival

The current rules state that citizens of most countries can get a 30-day visa on arrival if you enter Thailand through on of the country’s airports. However, if you enter Thailand through a land border, you will only get 15 days. A person is able to apply at an Immigration office for an extension of 10 days. However, it is not possible to change a visa on arrival to a non-immigrant visa. Technically you also need an outward ticket to get a visa on arrival.

Tourist visa

In most cases, the best way to enter Thailand is on a tourist visa. These can be applied for outside of the country at any Thai consular office. It is possible to apply for 30- or 60-day tourist visas, which can then be extended for an additional 30 days at an Immigration office in Thailand for a fee of 1,900 baht. The immigration office in Bangkok is located at Soi Suan Plu, off South Sathorn Road. Tel: +66(0)2-8731-0110.

It is forbidden to work on a tourist visa. As the name suggests, it is issued solely for the purposes of tourism. Once issued, you will have either three or six months to enter Thailand and use the visa.

Documents you will need to take to a consular office are:

  • Application form;
  • A passport with validity of at least six months;
  • Travel documents;
  • A 4x6cm photo;
  • Proof of financial means of 20,000 baht per person or 40,000 baht per family.

Work

If you intend to work in Thailand you will have to get yourself a non-immigrant visa. If you arrive as a tourist, you cannot simply change your visa status. You will have to leave the country with the required documents and apply for a new visa at a Thai consular office somewhere.