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How to get a visa for travel to Thailand

Few places hold the allure that Thailand seems to have on visitors and despite traveling over all the world Thailand is still one my favourite destinations to visit. Thailand has grown in popularity over the past 20 years as their economy and attractions have continually attracted visitors from every part of the globe. Thailand maintains a thriving capital city of Bangkok along with an open market economy and immense hospitality toward its many visitors. Those who have had the pleasure of visiting Thailand often cannot get enough and choose to reside in the country through a visa. If Thailand sounds like your type of place, you will want to go through the proper channels to obtain the necessary visa.

Restrictions of a visa to Thailand

Thailand temple

Unlike other countries that have an avenue for citizenship, Thailand offers only a visa to travelers. Even in the case of marriage, an outsider can never retain actual citizenship. They also cannot own land, so if you do obtain your visa, keep in mind, you will have to lease your home or business from an actual Thai citizen.

Types of visas that allow you to enter Thailand

Tourist Visa – Valid up to 180 days with a max of 60 days per stay.

Student Visa – Renewal required every 2 months.

Retirement Visa – Must be over the age of 50 and is only good for 1 year.

Work Visa – The only visa that allows for legal work in Thailand

Permanent Resident Visa – Must reside in Thailand for 3 consecutive years through an annual visa and maintain a salary of 30,000 THB.

What documents are required to obtain a visa for Thailand?

phuket

Documents necessary for all Thailand Visas include your passport, a photocopy of your passport, two passport photos, a confirmed hotel reservation, and your flight itinerary. This shows how long you intend on staying in the country and will help the visa office determine which visa is ideal for your needs. From there, some visa’s have individual document requirements.

Student Visa – A letter from your chosen school proven enrollment and your school schedule are required.

Work Visa – Documents from your employer showing where you work, the length of time your contract is for, and your annual salary.

Retirement Visa – For the retirement visa, applicants must present a certificate of health from their doctor along with a criminal background check proving the applicant has not previously been accused of any crimes.

What is the process for obtaining a visa for Thailand?

Koh Tao island Thailand

A Thailand visa must be obtained before traveling to the country. Thailand’s immigration laws have drastically changed since 2014 when military control took over the department, so to not obtain the proper visa or to allow a visa to expire without renewing requirements can result in criminal charges, or at the very least, being denied entry upon arrival.

Essentially, the process of obtaining a visa for Thailand is fairly straightforward. The first step is to seek out a Thai Embassy then you’ll need to provide documentation for your individual visa type. Also, expect fees for processing your visa as each visa carries a different charge. There will also be around a two to six day waiting period for approval. Personally, though I like to do everything very quickly online to save time and the hassle of dealing directly with an embassy (which to be honest can be very frustrating). For example, I’ve used Byevisa before to get an evisa to Thailand online quickly and easily.

Related airports

Airport with a plane going over

  • Don Nueang International (DMK)
  • Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)
  • Phuket International (HKT)
  • Hat Yai International (HDY)
  • Samui Airport (USM)
  • Chiang Rai International (CEI)
  • Krabi Airport (KBV)
  • U-Tapao International (UTP)
  • Surat Thani International (URT)
  • Sukothai Airport (THS)
  • Udon Thani International (UTH)
  • Nakhon Sawan Airport (TKH)
  • Pattaya Airport (PYX)

What do you need to have with you when you arrive?

When applying for a visa for travel or residency in Thailand, proper documentation is necessary. Ideally, you want to apply for your Thai visa well in advance of your trip to the country. However, airports have officers there that can give travelers 30 travel visas upon arrival in the country. If you do not have your visa in order, you will want to have all identification documentation and a photocopy of each document, just to be sure. Traveling in this manner is a gamble, as they can simply not allow you access to the country, but sometimes, it pays off and you can receive a limited travel visa.

For those that have their visa already approved before arrival, there merely need to bring their visa, of course, and additional identification, such as a passport or state-issued ID card. Thailand also requires all visitors, no matter if they have applied for a visa in their country before arriving or applying at the airport, to prove they have enough money for their proposed stay.

For a retirement visa, the visa holder must be able to prove they have at least 25,000 USD available before they are allowed into Thailand. This is essential as retirement visas do not allow you to legally work in the country. As for short term visas, the document holder must possess at least 700 USD for every 60 days of travel within the country.

Thailand is a growing country and becoming more popular with expats, retirees, students, and travelers from around the world. Exploring the country is a joy and you will see a lot of amazing sites, but be sure to have your travel visa in order when traveling throughout the country.

Michael Anderson

Ever since he was knee-high to a grasshopper Michael has always been a sucker for an adventure. As a kid he was lucky enough to live for many years in some exotic far-flung locations and since then he’s developed a taste for new cultures. So much in fact he now travels the world as a trading digital nomad, exploring the sizzling street markets of Bangkok to yoga retreat dotted Sri Lanka and everything in between! He also has a special fondness for exotic cuisine and fine wine and definitely knows his clarets from his chiantis. He counts Cuba, Tanzania, Amsterdam, Laos and Cambodia as his favourite destinations.

One Comment

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    Mike

    29 August, 2020 at 3:51 pm

    Thanks so much for writing this article Michael! My family and I have been discussing travelling to Thailand ASAP and doing our work online but have had difficulty finding detailed info on how to go about it. Your post has helped us immensely so thank you!

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