Citizens of most countries don’t need a visa to enter Thailand. Thus, residents of most EU countries, Australia, Canada, Iceland, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Monaco, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Turkey, the UAE, the UK and the USA are allowed staying in the Kingdom as tourists for up to 30 days. If the citizens of these countries enter Thailand from neighboring countries, the limit of their stay is reduced to 15 days.
Entering the Kingdom, travelers from the mentioned countries must prove their solvency (to show 10 000 THB per person or 20 000 THB per family in traveler’s checks or in cash) and to show a return ticket that proves the intention to leave Thailand within 30 days from the moment of entry.
Russian citizens who come to Thailand as tourists have a right to stay in the country without a visa for 30 days. It is enough to fill in an immigration card, to show a passport that is valid for at least six month from trip’s last day and a paid return ticket.
Ukrainian citizens, as well as citizens of some other CIS countries (such as Uzbekistan and Kazachistan) must get the so called visa on arrival, when entering Thailand. It allows staying in the Kingdom as a tourist for up to 15 days. To receive the visa you must show a passport that is valid for at least six month from trip’s last day, a paid return ticket that proves the intention to leave Thailand within 15 days from the moment of entry, and sufficient funds of 10 000 THB per person or 20 000 THB per family. Customs officers often additionally ask to show confirmation of hotel booking for the whole period of stay. Such visa rules are also valid for citizens of China, Cyprus, Estonia, India, Latvia, Lithuania, Saudi Arabia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Malta.
In addition, Thailand has special agreements with some states, whose residents are allowed entering the country for a period from 14 to 90 days. Citizens of Hong Kong, Laos, Mongolia, Vietnam and Cambodia can stay in Thailand for 14/30 days, the citizens of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Korea and Peru can stay for 90 days.
Citizens of other countries and citizens of mentioned states who plan to stay in Thailand longer than indicated above have to obtain a visa.
There are four basic types of visas to Thailand.
Tourist Visa is for those who intend to visit the Kingdom as a tourist or for medical examination/treatment in the country. It is issued for 60 days with an opportunity of extension for 30 days. Cost: 1 000 THB.
Transit Visa is for foreign citizens who transit through Thailand to the third country, and for those who enter the Kingdom to participate in sports events. Transit visa allows staying in Thailand for up to 30 days. Cost: 1 000 THB.
Non-Immigrant Visa is for those who come to Thailand to perform official duties, to conduct business, to study, to work on a contract and for other purposes. Such visa is issued for no more than 90 days. Cost: 2 500 THB.
Diplomatic Visa is granted to diplomatic or official passport-holders who wish to assume duties at a foreign Diplomatic Mission or Consulate or International Organization in Thailand.
All visa categories are issued by Thai Embassies and Consulate-Generals abroad. To apply for a visa, you should prepare the following documents:
- passport with validity of not less than 6 months from the end of intended trip;
- filled out visa application form (can be downloaded from the Thai Embassy’s website);
- two recent photographs (4 x 6 cm);
- copies of return tickets booking;
- certificate of employment stating position and salary for the last 6 months;
- evidence of adequate finance: bank statements showing the amount available in USD equivalent, or photocopies of traveler's checks (are accepted only upon presentation of the originals) of at least 20 000 THB per person or 40 000 per family;
- confirmation of trip’s purpose: letter from medical facility (if you visit the country for medical examination or treatment), visa of a third country or letter of invitation stating applicant’s participation in sports activities (if you apply for a transit visa), letter of invitation from a company that can hire foreign citizens (for non-immigrant visa);
- insurance policy that is valid for the entire period of stay in Thailand.
Consider that embassy and consular officers reserve the right to request additional documents they deem necessary.
The decision to issue a visa is usually made within five work days.
The extension of foreign residents’ term of stay in Thailand and the change of visa type is under jurisdiction of the Offices of Immigration Bureau. Bangkok’s office is situated in Soi Suan Plu, South Sathorn Road.
In order to extend a visa or a period of visa-free stay in the country, you have to address your request to one of the offices personally. You need to have an original and a copy of international passport, a metric picture (4x6 cm) and an application filled out in English (you can do this directly in the Office of Immigration Bureau or in advance by downloading the application form from its official site http://immigration.go.th).
Visa-free stay can be extended for no more than 7 days and you need to have a very good reason (for example illness) for that. As a rule, tourist visa is extended for 30 days. The cost of visa extension is 1 900 THB.
You should take care of extension of your visa-free stay or your visa in advance – ideally 5 - 10 days before the expiration of your stay in the country. Don’t leave this issue for the last day. Keep in mind that if you exceed the period of visa-free stay or of visa validity, you will have to pay a fine of 500 THB per each day of delay (but not more than 20 000 THB) upon departure from Thailand. The penalty is usually not charged if your visa expired just one day before.
Currency. Thailand’s custom regulations allow importing any amount of Thai currency into the country, as well as up to 20 000 USD equivalent of any foreign currency. If you import a greater amount, you must declare it.
Alcohol and tobacco goods. It is allowed to import 1 liter of any alcohol, 200 cigarettes or 250 gram tobacco to Thailand tax free. The penalty for exceeding the allowed amount of imported tobacco and alcohol products can be up to 1 000 USD.
Goods. Goods intended for personal use, including clothes, perfumery, cosmetics, photo and video equipment (one item per person) can be imported duty-free. The number of imported goods must be reasonable at that. The quantity must not indicate their commercial purpose and the total cost should be less than 10 000 THB. If imported goods cost more, you have to pay customs duties and taxes. If the total value of imported items is more than 80 000 THB, they are confiscated and placed in the warehouse for customs clearance procedure.
Medicines. All imported medicines must have original packing, original label and prescription from a doctor or medical reference.
It is prohibited to import to Thailand:
- any narcotic and psychotropic substances (punishment is the death penalty);
- weapon and ammunition without permission of the Police Department;
- explosive substances (including firecrackers and fireworks);
- pornographic materials;
- counterfeit products (that is items that violate intellectual property rights);
- pets without a veterinary certificate of international standard and a certificate of vaccination against rabies. Fighting breeds of dogs are banned, in particular American Staffordshire Terrier;
- rare flora and fauna species.
Currency. It is allowed to export no more than 50 000 THB (except for Cambodia, Myanmar (Burma), Laos and Vietnam – to this countries you can export up to 500 000 THB) and an equivalent of 20 000 USD in foreign currency in cash or as traveler’s checks from Thailand. If you need to export national or foreign currency for the sum that exceeds this limit, you have to declare it. You are also allowed exporting foreign currency, which you have previously imported to Thailand.
It is prohibited to export:
- any narcotic or psychotropic substances (punishment is the death penalty);
- poisonous or explosive substances;
- pornographic products (including printed materials and videos);
- jewelry bought in Thailand, including worked up jewels, without the receipt and the certificate that you must get at the shop, where the purchase is made;
- antiques and works of art (regardless whether original or reproduction) without special license, issued by the Thailand Department of Fine Arts.
- depictions of Buddha and Bodhisattvas, or their fragments, which are larger than 13 cm, as well as monastic alms bowls. This prohibition doesn’t imply small medallions with Buddha’s image worn on the neck;
- raw corals. Treated corals in form of a souvenir or as a decoration piece can be freely taken with;
- raw elephant tusks and products of them, as well as leather and bones of protected animals.