Thai Visa for Tourists

Since October 2006, the enforcement of stricter Thai visa regulations for visitors means that they have to consider an alternative option to the common 'visa exemption stamp', given at the point of entry into Thailand, allowing a 30 day stay within the kingdom.

30 day – Tourist Visa Exemption

This stamp, issued on arrival, is provided to citizens of 45 eligible countries, giving permission to stay for 30 days. It is not strictly speaking a visa, but a stamp within a passport, and is categorized by the Thai Embassy as a 'tourist visa exemption'. Employment is forbidden under this 'stamp', nor is it transferable to another visa type.

The most significant change to the Thai visa regulations is that tourists on this stamp can no longer stay in the kingdom for more than 90 days in any six month period, from their first date of entry (3 x 30 day passport stamps). This has dramatically effected those who are working unofficially, or are married to Thai but do not meet the financial criteria which enables them to qualify for a non immigrant O - dependant visa.

This move is designed to clamp down on the 'long-stay' tourists who have taken up residency for many years, simply by re-entering Thailand every month on a new 30 day stamp. This move has also been met with a favorable response from Thailand's many legalized foreign expatriates, who live and work here legitimately and who every year have to go through the vigorous bureaucratic procedures for the renewal of their work permit and non-immigrant B visas.

The clamp downs on 'long-stay tourists' is also a bid by the authorities to prevent visitors operating 'unofficial businesses' under the radar, now forcing them to go through the proper legal channels.

Tourist Visa – 60 or 30 Days

The safest option for those intending to stay longer than 30 days is to apply for a 60 day tourist visa, from their own country. This Thai visa can be extended by an additional 30 days within Thailand, at the discretion on the Immigration Bureau.

The application for a 60 day tourist visa must be made at a Thai embassy or consulate outside of Thailand. According to the Royal Thai Embassy London. , London, the cost, of this visa is 28.00 GBP, and a 30-day extension of stay, once in Thailand, is 1,900 Baht.

60 day tourist visas are granted to citizens of 36 designated countries. For citizens of those countries not included this list, only a 30 day visa will be granted, although this is also extendable for a further 30 days from within Thailand.

Note than the new regulations also state that only 3 separate entries are permissible on this kind of Thai visa, not exceeding 60 days per entry. This totals a maximum of 180 days in one year period, in which the holder can now legally reside in Thailand on a proper tourist visa.

A clear outline of the latest Thai Visa regulations can be found on the website of the Royal Thai Embassy London.

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