Getting a tourist visa for Thailand

February 10, 2013

To enter Thailand you need a visa, even if you want to stay in the country for a very short time. The procedure to acquire a visa for less than 30 days is rather simple: all you have to do is to fill in the “arrival / departure card” you can get before you pass customs and present this to the immigration officer. On most flights the aircrew already distributes this “arrival / departure card” about an hour before landing so you have plenty of time to figure out how to fill in the card before you land. The square stamp you get in your passport is the visa which will show your date of arrival and the latest date you are allowed to leave the country.

On the left the entrance visa which is valid for 30 days. My arrival date was April 2nd, so my latest departure date was May 2nd. On the left the departure stamp showing I left April 23rd.

On the left the entrance visa which is valid for 30 days. My arrival date was April 2nd, so my latest departure date was May 2nd. On the left the departure stamp showing I left April 23rd.

Make sure not to overstay your visa. You will be fined 500 baht for each day you overstay your visa, with a maximum of 20.000 baht. And even worse, you might be refused entry to the country on following trips if you overstay too long. A few trips back I was caught at the airport while overstaying my visa. I arrived on the airport in the late evening of day 30 but my flight would leave the following day around 1AM. Since I passed customs before midnight I was hoping for the best, but the immigration officer winked to the guy just behind the desk and told me to go there to pay my fine since I would leave on the 31st day. Luckily it was no big fuss, and after paying the fine they put an extra stamp in my passport and marked a “1″ to indicate it was the first time this happened.

Leaving one day too late (30th of August instead of the 29th) resulted in a fine and an extra stamp in my passport (bottom left)

Leaving one day too late (30th of August instead of the 29th) resulted in a fine and an extra stamp in my passport (bottom left)

For coming trip I requested a tourist visa at the Royal Thai embassy in The Hague. With a tourist visa I will be allowed to stay 60 days in Thailand, and because I requested a double entry tourist visa I can leave the country once, return, and be allowed to stay another 60 days. Requesting a tourist visa is relatively easy; all you need is your passport, 30 euros (or 60 euros for a double entry visa), a passport picture, and a filled in request form. You hand this all over at the embassy and a week later you can come back to retrieve your passport including the visa.

The Royal Thai embassy in The Hague

The Royal Thai embassy in The Hague

Some scary moments for me at the embassy last week when I came by to retrieve my passport. The lady looked at my receipt and started checking the pile of passports. Then she looked at my receipt number again, and started over. This happened a third time, and now she also starts looking around the office if there were more piles of passports. Yet another try, and again no luck. I already started to feel uncomfortable because what would happen if they had lost my passport? I would not be able to travel in January, and I would have to go through all the procedures again. Luckily she did find my passport eventually after another 2 tries. So now I am all set to leave The Netherlands next week.

My double entry tourist visa. This visa will allow me to stay 2x60 days in Thailand. In the first two months I will need to leave the country to be allowed an additional 60 days in the country.

My double entry tourist visa. This visa will allow me to stay 2×60 days in Thailand. In the first two months I will need to leave the country to be allowed an additional 60 days in the country.

For questions/remarks you can contact me at: eric@stuckinthailand.com

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