Thailand Country Guide

Getting In



Thai immigration requires visitors have a passport that is valid for at least six months and one completely blank visa page remaining. Visitors with passports from countries not widely known or have problems with document forgery, should obtain a visa before entering Thailand from the nearest Thai embassy. This is true even if visa-on-arrival is permitted at the entry point since there have been reports of tourists being detained using valid passports not commonly presented in Thailand. By law, you must carry your passport with you at all times when travelling in the country.

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Visa Free Entry
Nationals from many Western and Asian countries
including most member countries of ASEAN and the European Union do not need a visa if the purpose of their visit is tourism. Others include citizens of Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United States, Brazil, Chile and Peru. Visitors arriving by air get a 30-day permit while citizens from Korea, Brazil, Chile and Peru get 90 days. However, visitors arriving by land are only given 15 days but those from nearby countries get 30 days at the land border.

Visa-on-arrival is available at certain entry points (airport in Bangkok is one of them) for passport holders of 28 other countries. These countries include Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Czech, Estonia, Hungary, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Maldives, Mauritius, Oman, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Ethiopia, Taiwan, Bulgaria, Andorra, Malta, Romania and San Marino.

Suvarnabhumi Airport near Bangkok by Mattes

At the Checkpoint
Proof of onward travel, previously ignored by Thai immigration, has been known to be strictly applied in some instances. A hard-copy print of an e-ticket on a budget airline is sufficient to convince Thai immigration. Visitors planning to arrive by air and leave by land or sea may need to be a little creative. Buying a fully refundable ticket and getting it refunded once in Thailand may be an option. Land crossing, on the other hand, is very straightforward and no proof of onward travel is required unless the border official decides otherwise.

If you make it to immigration at the checkpoint and have overstayed less than 10 days, you'll probably be allowed out with a fine of 500 baht per day. However, if caught overstaying by the police (such as a drug raid), you'll be carted off to an unpleasant illegal immigrant holding pens and may be blacklisted from Thailand in the future. It's better to get a legal extension or do a "visa run" by leaving Thailand to the nearest country and then return back.

Thailand-Malaysia border crossing at Sadao by  Slleong

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