It seemed like every time I turned around I was having a Thai visa issue. I would get a one month extension and then my month would be over in what felt like the next day.
This post will be on visas in Thailand and some surrounding areas. So, if you’re having some trouble with yours then this may help you.
First of all, lets set the facts straight. A lot has changed over the past few years.
VOA – Visas on Arrival
You can get a VOA for Thailand on foot (bus, train, taxi, bike, whatever) or by plane (at an airport). If you’re on foot you get 15 days and if you come in at the airport you get 30 days.
Extending a VOA
You can only extend a VOA for 7 days whether or not you crossed by foot or by plane. The extension will cost you 1900 baht.
If you obtain a tourist visa beforehand, you are granted 60 days. After that 60 days you can go to the thai embassy and ask for an extension. You will get a 30 day extension. After that you can receive another extension of 7 days. Both of these extensions, 30 or 7 days, cost 1900 baht or about 60 US dollars.
NOTE: It is best to get an extension the day of or the day before your visa expires because they extend it from the day you go to immigration NOT the day your current visa expires. Also, they stamp your passport for the extension THAT DAY. So, don’t worry about the time it takes for forms and blah blah. It’s not like getting a whole new visa. You don’t need to leave your passport with them or anything like that. The process is very simple… time consuming… but simple. Also, the chances of you not getting the visa are very slim, but just so you know they will keep the 1900 baht fee even if you don’t get the extension.
Also, if you need to get this done then you will need to go to the Thai Immigration Division 1, Building B. Trust me on this one. This is the only place that does it. Don’t waste your time at other offices.
Extended Stay Tourist Visas
If you get an extended stay visa you will have two 60 day visas. After the first 60 days you can get an extension of 30 days. Then you can either get another 7 day extension or leave the country and then go back into Thailand to begin your second 60 days. After those 60 days you can extend another 30 and then 7 if you wish. If you can get the extended stay visa I would totally do it. It will save you so much time!
Now, lets say you’ve completely exasperated all your visas haha but you still want to stay in Thailand! Well, you have a few options here. Unfortunately, many foreigners do this and it’s sort of illegal, but I’m not really sure to what extent it is really illegal because quite frankly everyone does it and…. Thailand is freaking beautiful and amazing and awesome so I’m not sure what the government was really expecting to happen when they let us farangs (foreigners in thai) in the country in the first place. Obviously, we were going to fall in love with it and never ever want to leave.
Option 1: Border run to Cambodia, Laos, Burma, etc. You can look up how much this is going to cost you pretty easily, but it’s about 500 baht for the mini-bus round trip, about 1400 baht for the Cambodian visa (It’s supposed to be about 1000 baht but they will overcharge you, trust me.) and about 1000 baht for the thai visa and you only get 15 days which you can extend (once you’re already in the country) for an extra 7 days for 1900 baht if you need to. (Whether you come in on foot (15 days) or at the airport (30 days) it will cost you the same (1000 baht for the visa) so keep that in mind.)
Option 2: Fly out and fly back in… or bus it out and fly back in. If you plan ahead you can probably find a cheap flight in and out of Thailand in which case you can get that 30 day VOA for 1000 baht. Pretty nice!
Option 3: If you have the time, just make a trip out of it. Go to Siem Reap, Cambodia for a week, see Ankor Wat, then go to the thai embassy in Cambodia and apply for a new tourist visa. The next day you will (hopefully) get a new 60 day visa, will have saved yourself a lot of time and heartache and money from doing visa runs constantly AND you can extend that tourist visa for another 30 days if you need to.
If you overstay your visa it is 500 baht a day. Honestly, that is the price to go to cambodia and back in a minibus so don’t waste your money. If in the event you accidently overstay for a day or two you can go to Thai Immigration Division 1, Building B and get the 30 (if your extending a tourist visa for the first time) or 7 day (if you are extending your tourist visa for the second time or extending your VOA for the first time) extension and they will most likely not charge you for your overstay as long as you pay the fee of 1900 baht for your visa extension.
So, those are your options. I wish I would have had this knowledge months ago when I was first figuring out this visa stuff. I hope it comes to you in just the time you need to save you some visa issues! If there is one thing I will say rings true in most cases… they are really cool about extensions and issues and whatever. It happens ALL THE TIME haha So, don’t worry. It’s not going to cost you an arm and a leg and you aren’t going to get deported haha
Safe travels ❤