Thailand is the perfect getaway for people who want to experience South East Asia. Long considered the hub of Asia’s Tourism Industry, it offers foreigners a taste of the exotic. Friendly locals, delicious food, warm beaches, and beautiful mountain regions provide unique experiences that many will not find in the west.
The pandemic changed the way people looked at travel, and Thailand invested a lot of time and effort into its E-Visa system during this time when social distancing was paramount. Their system allows visitors to apply for single and multiple-entry tourist visas online, so there is no need for many nationalities to visit Embassies and Consulates.
There are many ways for foreigners to enter Thailand. A visa may not be required if you intend to stay for less than 30 days and are from a Visa Exempt country. The Visa Exemption scheme is open to 64 nationalities from around the world. If you do not come from a visa-exempt country, you can apply for a Visa on Arrival when you arrive in Thailand. This visa will allow you to stay for 15-30 days depending on your nationality.
But 30 days is often not enough. Covid reminded people that travel is a luxury and can be taken away. Knowing this, if people have the time, they do not want to escape for a weekend, but look to longer-term options. A Single Entry Tourist Visa allows people to visit Thailand for 60 – 90 days, while a Multiple Entry Tourist Visa gives people unlimited entries of 60 – 90 days over a 6-month period.
Below you will learn a little about these two visas, and how using the Thailand E-Visa system can streamline your process and approval.
What is a Single Entry Tourist Visa?
A Single Entry Tourist Visa allows foreign nationals one entry into Thailand for tourism, leisure, or medical reasons. It gives someone permission to stay in the county for 60 days. The stay can be extended another 30 days by visiting a local Thai Immigration Office.
The visa has a 3-month validity from the time of approval. This means that people have 3 months to enter Thailand from the date their visa is approved. Once they arrive, they are granted permission to stay for 60 days. This allows people to plan ahead.
What is a Multiple Entry Tourist Visa?
A Multi-Entry Tourist Visa allows foreign nationals unlimited entry to Thailand over a 6-month period. It is issued to people who visit the country for tourism, leisure, or medical purposes.
People with a multi-entry visa can stay in Thailand for up to 60 days per visit. They can leave the country and return without having to worry about another visa. This is perfect for those who want to use Thailand as a hub for visiting the diverse countries of South East Asia. This period of stay can also be extended by 30 days by visiting a local Immigration Office.
Both Visas allow a person to enter Thailand either by air, land, or sea.
What is a Thailand E-Visa?
The E-Visa gives people access to the two visas above. It is an online platform that allows people to apply, monitor, and pay for their visas so they do not need to visit a Thai Embassy or Consulate. It is currently the simplest way to obtain a visa and organize your Thai holiday.
Foreigners can apply for their e-visa at https://thaievisa.go.th/
What is the cost of an E-Visa?
A Thailand E-Visa will cost USD$82 (or equivalent) no matter your nationality. This payment is made through E-Visa secure web portal when you submit the application. The fee is non-refundable.
How to Apply for a Thailand E-Visa?
The first step is to visit https://thaievisa.go.th/ When applying for a visa online, applicants need to create an account and apply as individuals. Once the account is created, individuals will need the following documents:
- (Single Entry) A current passport with no less than 6 months validity and at least 2 blank pages. (single entry). Applicants must complete online visa applications with their given name(s) and surname matching their passports.
- (Multiple Entry) A current passport with no less than 6 months validity beyond the date of departure from Thailand and at least 2 blank pages. Applicants must complete online visa applications with their given name(s) and surname matching their passports.
- A passport-style photo that can be uploaded
- Intended date of travel
- Proof of accommodation in Thailand, e.g. hotel booking, invitation letter from family or friend in Thailand
- (Single Entry) Financial evidence – Bank statement or proof of earnings (equivalent to 10,000 Thai Baht for individuals or 20,000 Thai Baht for families.)
- (Multiple Entry) Financial evidence showing a balance of 200,000 Thai Baht (approx. £5000, USD$5,5000, Aud$8000). This is to prove financial stability over a 6-month period. e.g. bank statements, proof of earnings, sponsorship letter from employer
After creating an account, people will enter the following information:
- Apply as an individual
- Apply for a new visa
- Check Eligibility
- Choose the type of Tourist Visa
- Upload a scan of your passport for biodata
- Enter personal information, including home address, phone, nationality, date of birth, and marital status
- Enter Employment details
- Complete travel information, including accommodation and flights (if booked)
- Upload supporting documents – Noted above
- Proceed to the secure payment portal
E-Visa applicants do not need to submit their passport and original supporting documents in person at a Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate. People will receive a reference number by email to monitor their application.
After the e-Visa application has been approved, a confirmation email is sent to applicants. It is best to print a copy of the confirmation email when you are ready to travel. This will be presented to airlines and Thai Immigration officials when traveling to Thailand.
Certain countries are not eligible to apply for an E-Visa because additional documents are needed for approval. The following countries need to contact their local Thai Embassy or Consulate to apply for a Tourist Visa:
Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the People’s Republic of China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Guinea, India, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Sao Tome, and Principe, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen
If you are unsure if eligible for an online visa or do not have access to the online application process, you can contact your local Thai Embassy and organize an appointment. Immigration requirements can change without notice, and many embassies will not allow walk-ins, so it is best to contact the embassy when you are ready to apply. They will confirm the costs and paperwork required.
As noted above, Tourist Visas are for tourism, leisure, or medical purposes only. Foreigners cannot earn income, study long-term, or conduct volunteer activities in Thailand if they have entered with a tourist visa.
If you wish to take part in any of the above activities, you will need to look at long-term visa options. You can contact your local Thai embassy to discuss options, or seek assistance from a Visa Agent to apply for a long-term visa.
Assistance with Visa Applications
The process for applying is straightforward and can be done yourself. If you would like help confirming documents and lodging the application, you can enlist the services of a Visa Assistance Agent.
Using an agent when applying for an e-visa is possible. The agent can confirm your details before applying and often lodge the application on your behalf. When using an agent’s service, you may still be required to log into your account and process the payment yourself through the e-visa payment portal.
These agents are aware of current immigration requirements and will confirm documents are correct to avoid delays. They will liaise with embassies and consulates on your behalf.
Agents will charge a fee for their service but often save you time and money in the long run. They streamline your application process and speed up your approval.
Arriving in Thailand
When you arrive in Thailand, it is best to have a hard copy of your documents. You will need to provide the following documents at Passport Control:
- Confirmation letter of visa approval
- Confirmed exit flight from the country no later than 60 days
- Confirmed accommodation (at least for the first night in the country)
- Current financial or bank statement showing funds available. The amount depends on your type of visa
Entry approval is at the discretion of immigration officers and presenting hard copies of these documents will speed your processing through Passport Control and help ease congestion at the airport.
Extending your Tourist Visa
If you decide you would like to stay for longer than 60 days, it is possible to extend your stay in Thailand. Visitors with a Multi-Entry Tourist visa can extend their time in the country by 30 days by visiting a local Thai Immigration Office. An extension of stay will cost 1900 Thai Baht and must be paid in cash (Thai Baht) when applying for the extension.
When you extend your stay, a new stamp will be placed in your passport for 30 days from the date you are at immigration, so it is best to do this towards the end of your 60-day visit.
You need to visit the office before your current stay period expires. Staying in the country past your exit date will cause an “overstay” and you will be fined 500 baht per day after your official exit date. An overstay is noted in your passport and can affect future visa applications. This extension of stay is only available in the country.
It is important to note that Thai Immigration offices are not open on weekends.
If you would like to speak with our Thai Immigration Specialist at Siam Legal, you can contact us through LINE and WhatsApp. We can arrange a phone, video, or in-person consultation with you.