Visas and Immigration
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Visas and Immigration
PASSPORTS All visitors entering Thailand, except residents from Hong Kong and Taiwan, must hold a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond their scheduled stay. We recommend that you photocopy the page of your passport that contains your photograph and identifying information. Your passport number is especially important. This precaution will greatly expedite replacement of a lost or stolen passport in Thailand.

VISAS There are three types of visa that are usually appropriate for foreign visitors to Thailand. Transit, Tourist, and Non-Immigrant visas that last up to 30, 60, and 90 days respectively. Costs for visas will vary depending on your home country. Please check with your local Thai embassy/consulate.

TRANSIT VISA For the majority of visitors the transit visa is adequate and permits up to 30 days of travel within Thailand. With proof of an onward ticket nationals from 56 different countries may obtain a transit visa upon arrival in Thailand. New Zealand and South Korean citizens holding valid passports may enter Thailand as temporary visitors for three months without obtaining a visa.

Malaysian nationals entering Thailand overland from Malaysia by bus, rented car or motorcycle are not required to have a return or onward ticket. Malaysians may also enter without a passport and can obtain a border pass instead.

The border pass which is valid for 6 months permits a Malaysian national to travel up to 50 km (31 miles) into Southern Thailand for a maximum period of 30 days. Similar regulations apply to Burmese, Laotians and Cambodians who may cross the borders into Thailand with border passes but are restricted to a one day stay within a limited area along the border.

Citizens of Hong Kong and Taiwan are exempt from requiring a valid passport. Taiwanese only need an entry permit issued from a Thai Airways office in Taipei or a Thai embassy in a third country. Hong Kong Chinese may travel to Thailand with their Certificates of Identity.

Holders of diplomatic or official passports from a lot of European countries namely: Holland, Belgium, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, the Philippines, Malaysia, Korea, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Germany may stay longer than 30 days without a visa.

TOURIST VISA Visitors wishing to stay in Thailand for more than 30 days must apply for a tourist visa from a Thai embassy or consulate in their home country, or a neighbouring country if none are located in their home country. A tourist visa must be used within a period of 90 days from the date of issue and unless an extension is obtained it will become void.

The tourist visa permits a stay of up to 60 days and it can also be extended once in Thailand for an additional 30 days. For those wishing to stay for a while in Thailand, a double entry tourist visa is the best option.

NON-IMMIGRANT VISA This visa permits a stay of up to 90 days but no extensions are allowed. It is typically obtained for business or employment purposes and certain supporting documents are required with your application. Please consult your local Thai embassy/consulate for details.

EXTENSION OF VISAS Tourist Visas may be extended by 30 days at all Thai immigration offices. The head immigration office is in Bangkok on Soi Suan Phlu off Sathorn Thai Rd. Extending a visa is straightforward and involves filling out a form, attaching a passport photo and paying a fee of 500 baht. These formalities usually take about 1 hour.

RE-ENTRY VISAS In a situation where a foreigner holding a Thai visa wishes to travel abroad before his/her visa expires, that person can apply for a re-entry permit. A re-entry permit allows one to re-enter Thailand and use the time remaining on the visa. If a re-entry permit is not obtained the visa will automatically be cancelled on departure from Thailand even though it has not expired.

To obtain a re-entry permit requires the following: 1. Passport or substitute travel document 2. One 4 x 6 cm photo 3. Application form T.M. 8 4. 500 baht fee per application. (Mulitiple re-entry permits are allowed) CUSTOMS (Entering Thailand) Firearms, narcotics, and pornographic material are forbidden. On entering Thailand one may bring in 227g of tobacco, 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars and one litre of spirits duty-free.

A camera with 5 rolls of unused film, a video-camera with 3 rolls of unused film, and personal belongings may also be brought in. If you bring in several new-looking electronic goods of the same type you could face a tax bill, but otherwise minor infractions are seldom enforced.

CUSTOMS (Leaving Thailand) While any amount of foreign currency can be brought in for personal use, the total amount taken out (maximum 50,000 baht or $10,000 in foreign currency) should not exceed the amount brought in. Permission to take out Buddha’s and other deity images (which includes reproduced ones, but does not include small figurines worn as part of a necklace) must be obtained from the Bangkok National Museum and the Ministry of Commerce.

You must be able to prove that you are a practicing Buddhist or are using the image for cultural exchanges or academic purposes. Finally, don't forget to have at least 500 baht spare for the airport tax which must be paid on departure.

Any foreigner who has overstayed their time allowance in Thailand will be fined Baht 500 per day of overstay. Don't overstay your time allowance !