You want to go on reconnaissance
If you want to check out Thailand and get a taste of what life is like in a tropical metropolis before deciding on taking the job, then there are ample opportunities to do so. Thailand, being one of the world’s most popular holiday and travel destinations, has made it easy to visit as a tourist or traveller. In fact, most nationalities don’t need a visa at all. Others only need to show up in the airport and will automatically be granted 30-day stay in the country. Both are perfect for vacation or travel – but as will be explained below, not very good if you plan on getting a job, studying or starting a business.
Visa on Arrival, as explained in detail below, is not a Visa and so it can’t be converted into another type of Visa at a later date. As you need to apply for a Visa outside Thailand, which means that you will have to leave the country to get a proper Visa. This is easy enough to do with a quick weekend trip to Laos, Malaysia or even Hong Kong, but it’s really better for all purposes to get a proper Tourist Visa in your home country. A Tourist Visa can then be converted to another type of Visa at the Chaeng Watthana Immigration Office (see below*) in Bangkok.
If you want to visit Thailand and are from an eligible country** that does not require a visa, you simple need to plan your trip and arrive. For other countries***, a passport stamp valid for 30 days will be issued when you land at the airport. You can extend your stay by 7 days at the Immigration Office* in Chaeng Wattana, Bangkok, or extend your stay by leaving the country and re-entering.You are prohibited from doing any work, studying or business activities whatsoever. Note that the current laws only grant 15 days stay for entry by land, while 30 days are still granted if you arrive by air. Your passport will be stamped with the date of your arrival and expiration of Visa. As of now, there are no restrictions on how many times you can enter and re-enter the country, so you could theoretically continue to stay in Thailand on a Visa exempt basis, but laws are changed frequently. You are also required officially to be able to show proof of funds to support your stay (10,000 THB pr. person or 20,000 THB pr. family), but that rule is rarely, if ever, enforced.
If you overstay your Visa you will be required to pay a fine of 500 Baht per day up to a maximum of 20,000 Baht. New rules recently introduced now mean that over-stayers risk being jailed before deportation if the overstay is more than 6 weeks (42 days). Over-stay up to 21 days is still not a problem as long as you can pay the fine in the airport, while it’s still unclear what happens if you over-stay between 21 and 42 days. While ove-rstay of a few days is rarely a problem, you should know that over-staying is still illegal and you risk being deported and blacklisted. While this is a rare occurrence and only in those cases were the overstay is substantial such as weeks, months or even years, it’s best to stay on the safe side.
If you wish to remain longer in the country for travel and tourism purposes, you can apply for a Tourist Visa valid for 60 days with an option to extend for another 30 days. Most nationals can apply for Tourist Visa at any Thai Embassy or Consulate in their home country. A Tourist Visa is strictly for tourist purposes and you are not allowed to work, do business or study on it. Multiple entry Visa’s are available but not usually given, but you may have luck to get one at certain embassies. Some embassies are known to be more lenient than others – for example the Thai Embassy in Vientienne, Laos. You can never count on things to stay the same.
You are not allowed to work, do business or study on a Tourist Visa.
The fee for the Visa varies depending on the country and whether the visa is single or multiple entry.
- Passport valid for at least 6 months forward.
- Visa application form filled out.
- One recent photo of applicant (4×6 cm)
- Proof of Onward Travel (Return Air Ticket or proof of transportation out of the country)
- Proof of Financial Means (20,000 Baht pr. person or 40,000 Baht pr. family/monthly)
Note: Proof of Onward Travel and Proof of Financial Means is rarely enforced (if ever). Some airlines however may refuse to sell you a one-way ticket to Thailand.
Note: Passport holders of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Sudan, Algeria, Libya, Yemen, Egypt and Palestinian States must file for a Visa at their Thai Embassy/Consulate-General of permanent residence (home country).
*Bangkok Chaeng Watthana Immigration Office
Government Center B
No. 120 Mu 3
Chaeng Watthana Soi 7
Thung Song Hong, Laksi
Phone: 0-2141-9889, Fax: 0-2143-8228
Visa Exempt Countries**
- Brunei Darussalam
- Czech Republic
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States of America
Visa on Arrival Countries***
- Russian Federation
- San Marino
- Saudi Arabia