Many people have been asking about the modified tourist VISA in Thailand and the advantages the new stipulations provide foreigners. In addition, we’ll be covering the border issues for those that have entered Thailand on a VISA exemption stamp.
The topic of VISAs and Thailand come up quite often, and of course there are always some grey areas when it comes to staying in Thailand for an extended period of time. Mainly this is because some border check points seem to have different rules.
Before you read on, we would like to stress that if you plan to leave and re-enter Thailand multiple times, the airports are the best place to leave and the country and local immigration offices are the best place to get more information. It seems that officials in the airport and at immigration are on the same page when it comes to long term travellers in Thailand.
Here we have pretty much covered the general rules of short term holiday makers as well as the regulations that long term holiday makers and those backpacking to Thailand can run into when staying for an extended period. As long as you plan ahead or follow the rules, you will not get any problems at all as the rules are foreigner friendly.
NOTE: VISA rules can be subject to change, so please always check with the immigration rules with your local Thai embassy before you plan to visit.
Here are few links to Thai embassies around the world:
UK Thai Embassy -
US Thai Embassy -
French Thai Embassy -
Australian Thai Embassy –
Russian Thai Embassy -
VISA Exemption Stamp
For those visiting the Kingdom on a short trip, the VISA policy is simple. There is no need to apply for a Tourist VISA because you will get a 30 day VISA exemption stamp at the airport.
Extending your 30 Day VISA Exemption
Should you decide to stay longer than 30 days, then you would be advised to look into alternative options such as the 60 day or 6 month tourist VISA.
However, for some, the decision to stay past the 30 day extension is a last minute one. If you are someone that is already in Thailand, and you came in on a VISA exemption stamp but you have decided to stay longer, then you can get a 7 day extension on you VISA exemption stamp at the local immigration office for 1,900 baht.
Once the additional 7 days are up, you need to leave the country, which can be done via any immigration check point. However, one thing to be aware of is that when you come back into the country in order to obtain another 30 days without any issues, you should plan to return via an airport check point only.
Obtaining VISA Exemption Stamps at the Border Check Points
Generally you cannot cross a land border into Cambodia, Burma, Malaysia or Laos with the intention of returning via a land border in order to obtain an additional 30 day VISA exemption stamp.
There are some exceptions – usually only if it is your first occasion leaving the country and coming back in. Usually immigration officials will stamp your through. The disadvantage is that you will receive only a 14 day VISA exemption, which is as opposed to the airport arrivals where you would be given an additional 30 day VISA Exemption.
In short, the safest option here is to return by air.
Obtaining VISA Exemption Stamps at the Airport
Thailand has several international airports. In Bangkok the old airport Don Muang is the best place for quick exits and returns just because it is smaller and less people per day so you can avoid long immigration queues upon your return.
When you come back in, you will receive another 30 day VISA exemption stamp. Be warned though – if you leave and enter the country multiple times for multiple VISA extensions, you will be refused re-entry on the third or fourth occasion and be directed to apply for a VISA.
60 Day and 6 Month Tourist VISAs
For those that plan to stay in the Land of Smiles for 60 days to 6 months (really translated into 6 sets of 30 day stays), which is the maximum allowed at this present time, then a tourist VISA is your best course of action and they can be issued fairly easily.
The choice is either a Single Entry (30 day) tourist VISA or a Multiple Entry VISA (6 Months or 180 days).
With the multiple entry VISA, you are permitted to stay for a maximum of 30 days at which point you have 2 choices.
You could obtain a 30 day extension at a local immigration office for 1,900 baht
You can leave the country via a land border or an airport check point and come back into the Kingdom obtaining an additional 30 days stay on your way back in.
What has changed with the Tourist VISA rules?
In the past you could only leave the country on the Multiple Entry VISA and re-enter up to a maximum of 3 times. Each time you leave, the VISA resets to a 60 days permitted stay. However, now you can leave as many times as you like and get an additional 60 days.
In essence, to make this as uncomplicated as possible, you can leave and renter as many times as you please before the 6 month VISA expires. So, you have 6 months to see as many bordering or close by countries as you like. Each time you re-enter before the VISA expires, you will be given a new 60 day stay.
It is important to remember that you can actually only stay in the country for up to a maximum of 60 days at a time during the valid time period of your 6 month VISA. After every 60 days you must either apply for a 30 day extension at the local immigration office or leave the country and re-enter to obtain the stipulate additional 60 days.
What happens if the date of my new stamp overruns the expiration date of my tourist VISA?
This is arguably the most confusing point with the 6 months tourist VISA. If you VISA expires on the 25th December and you leave re-enter Thailand on the 26th December, then you will only get a 30 day VISA exemption stamp; after which, you will have to make plans to either apply for an additional tourist VISA or return to your home country.
On the contrary, if you leave and re-enter on the 25th December (The same day your 6 month VISA expires), then you will still be stamped back into Thailand with a 60 day stamp. Your Tourist VISA may expire, but you still have another 2 months. As a result, this means you can potentially stay in the Kingdom for 6 months + 60 days if you plan your exit and re-entry trips well.
Other VISA Options to Stay in Thailand
Although presently it is not illegal to hold a business meeting on a tourist VISA or conduct personal work that pertains to work in your own country, it is illegal to actively work and be paid in Thai baht on a tourist VISA. Your Tourist VISA will clearly display this with a stamp that specifically states ‘EMPLOYMENT PROHIBITED’.
Other VISAs for employment or extended stays for family reasons include the Immigrant B VISA and the Immigrant O VISA. These VISAs come with different categories depending on your reasons for staying in Thailand for reasons other than tourism.
Any questions about VISA?
We hope that you found the information here useful, and if you have any questions about your VISA or your stay in Thailand and you plan to stay with us, please do not hesitate to contact us and we would be happy to assist you.