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30 August 2014
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Passport and Visa

Generally speaking, foreigners visiting Thailand for business, investment, study, medical treatment, or employment are required to apply for a Thai visa from a Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate-General. Foreigners must possess valid passports or similar documents and comply with the regulations contained in the Immigration Act B.E.2522 (1979) and its related provisions.  Be aware that Thai visa requirements change from time to time and a Thai embassy can provide you with the most up to date Thailand visa information.

If you are planning a short holiday in Thailand you may not require a Thailand visa if you are citizen of one of the approximately 40 nations that qualify for a Thai visa waiver or Thai visa exemption.  With evidence of onward/return travel, citizens of New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the USA, and most European nations may enter Thailand for up to 30 days without a Thai visa.  These Thailand visa waivers are issued upon arrival in Thailand.  Those entering Thailand by land may not receive a 30 day exemption however; the Thai visa waiver was reduced to 15 days for those entering by land after January 1, 2009. 

If your citizenship does not qualify you for a Thailand visa waiver or if you are planning to stay in Thailand for longer than 15/30 days, you must apply for a Thai visa at an embassy or consulate outside of the Kingdom.  Thai tourist visas are valid for 30 or 60 days, though visitors who plan to travel from Thailand to a neighboring country and then back to Thailand can apply for several consecutive 30 or 60 day Thai visas.  At most, three Thai visas can be issued at one time, granting visitors either 30 or 60 days for each entry into Thailand (maximum 3x60 days, requiring visitors to leave within 60 days before beginning the next 60 day visa).

The penalty for overstaying your visa is typically 500B per day, with a 20,000B limit. Fines can be paid upon departure at the airport. If you've only overstayed one day, you may not have to pay any fine or you may have to pay 1,000 baht, depending on the current regulations. Children less than 14 years old who are traveling with a parent or guardian are not required to pay any fines for overstays.

You can avoid paying any overstay fines by visiting a Thai immigration office and requesting a Thai visa extension. The Bangkok immigration office near Sathorn Rd is the most popular (02-287-3101; Soi Suan Phlu, 9am-12pm/13:00-16.30 Mon-Fri, 9am-12pm Sat) and the Chiang Mai immigration office will also provide Thai visa extensions (05-320-1755-6; Th Mahidon; 8.30am-16.30pm Mon-Fri). The usual fee for a Thai visa extension is around 2000 Baht.  Because the immigration offices can be very busy, getting a Thai visa extension may not be practical unless you believe you will overstay your Thai visa by more than 3 or 4 days.  The length of the visa extension depends on the length of your prior Thai visa; typically 7 days extension for a 30 day visa waiver and up to 30 days extension for a 60 day visa.

Other Thai visas, such as non-immigrant, retirement, and student visas should be inquired about at your nearest embassy or consulate, or the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs at www.mfa.go.th.

Information on locations and contact numbers of Thailand Embassies and Consulate-Generals abroad may be obtained from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Department of Consular Affairs, Visas and Travel Documents Division, 123 Chaengwattana Road, Bangkok 10210, Tel. (662) 981-7171 ext. 3201-2, 3204-5 or direct line 575-1062-4, Fax. (662) 575-1066 , E-mail : div1303@mfa.go.th

It should also be noted that foreigners who fall into any of the following categories are prohibited from entering the Kingdom:

    * Those having no genuine or valid passport or document used in lieu of passport; or having a genuine and valid passport or document used in lieu of passport without obtaining a visa from a Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate in a foreign country or from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, except if a visa is not required for certain types of aliens in special instances.
      
    * Having no appropriate means of living following entrance into the Kingdom.
      
    * Having entered into the Kingdom to take occupation as a laborer, or to take employment by using physical energy without skills or training , or to work in violation of the Alien Work Permit Law.
      
    * Being mentally unstable or having any of the diseases as prescribed in the Ministerial Regulations.
      
    * Having not yet been vaccinated against smallpox or inoculated or undergone any other medical treatment for protection against disease and having refused to have such vaccinations administered by the Immigration Doctor.
      
    * Having been imprisoned by the judgment of the Thai Court; or by a lawful injunction; or by the judgment of the Court of foreign country, except when the penalty is for petty offense or negligence or is provided for as an exception in the Ministerial Regulations.
      
    * Having behavior which would indicate possible danger to the Public or likelihood of being nuisance or constituting any violence to the peace or safety of the public or to the security of the public or to the security of the nation, or being under warrant of arrest by competent officials of foreign governments.
      
    * Reason to believe that entrance into the Kingdom was for the purpose of being involved in prostitution, the trading of women of children, drug smuggling, or other types of smuggling which are contrary to the public morality.
      
    * Having no money or bond as prescribed by the Minister under Section 14 of the Immigration Act B.E. 2522 .
      
    * Being a person prohibited by the Minister under Section 16 of the Immigration Act B.E. 2522.
      
    * Being deported by either the Government of Thailand that of or other foreign countries; or the right of stay in the Kingdom or in foreign countries having been revoked; or having been sent out of the Kingdom by competent officials at the expense of the Government of Thailand unless the Minister shall consider exemption on an individual special case basis.

The examination and diagnosis of disease of a physical or mental nature, including protective operations as against disease, shall be conducted by the Immigration Doctor.