What you need to know for getting a Tourist Visa on Arrival in Thailand
They say travel is the biggest teacher, so there were a few lessons I learned on my recent trip to Thailand. On my last trip I had procured the Visa from the Royal Thai Embassy in India, but this time, I thought of taking a visa on arrival in Thailand. The Kingdom of Thailand is one of those wonderful tourist-friendly countries that allow Visa on arrival for Indians and many other nationalities.
The process is fairly simple but here are some of the observations that I made at the Suvarnabhumi International airport in Bangkok based on my personal airport.
Our Thai Airways flight reached a few minutes ahead of time and the ever smiling air-hostess has given us a form to fill. As you walk to the immigration counter the first counter towards the left side is of Visa on Arrival, but for some reason, most people missed it and continued towards immigration counter for people with Visa. Fortunately, the airport staff was asking them if they have a visa and guiding them to the right counter.
Our desi brethren were fiddling with documents, looking for a pen, photographs, and money, and acting totally like well desis (and I say this with the utmost respect). There were honeymooners who must have decided last-minute to visit Thailand; there were shoppers who had a long list of items to shop while their air ticket was misplaced after boarding the plane to Bangkok. Needless to say, some of them were very keen to jump the queue and ready with excuses like I have a connecting flight to begin totally shameless. But they forgot that the guy in front of them is also true desi and ready with a bigger rebuttal.
Before me move forward how about reading some of my experiences in Thailand to motivate you further to travel to Thailand ?
- My Top Ten Travel Experiences In Thailand
- Ganesha In Thailand
- Buddha Head in Tree Roots in Thailand
- Elephant Parade Thailand
- Anantara Riverside Resort Bangkok – Hotel Review
Before we go ahead further here is a checklist for Thailand tourist Visa on Arrival for Indian citizens, though most of them are common for all nationalities eligible for Visa on arrival in Thailand
- A return fully paid the ticket within the next 15 days as tourist visa on arrival is issued for a maximum of 15 days.
- Currency or equivalent (traveler check etc) of Thai Baht 10000 per person or Thai Baht 20000 per family as per the case.
- A colored passport size photograph clearly showing your face.
- Visa fee which now is 1000 Thai Baht ( approx INR 1873, or 30 USD ). But remember you need to pay Thai Visa fee in Thai Baht only the immigration does not accept dollars or any other currency. So if you are carrying only US dollars you need to get it converted in Thai Baht at one of the many Forex counters at the airport before you reach the Visa counter. Thai immigration does not accept credit or debit cards, so you need to have hard cash in Thai Baht.
- If you are like me who have forgotten their photograph then is ready to shell out another 100 Thai Baht. There is a quick photo counter just before the Visa on Arrival queue at Suvarnabhumi airport ( I am not sure if the other airports in Thailand have a facility of getting a picture clicked for a visa so better carry a picture for a visa with you ). Here you can pay 100 Thai Baht and they will print the photo on your Visa application form after taking details from your boarding pass and passport. So I paid 100 Thai Baht for a photo that I do not even have a copy as you don’t get 4 passport size photos, but only on a photo that is printed on the visa application form. So much for forgetting photograph.
- The immigration officer may ask you for your hotel booking details and a confirmation letter from the hotel you are staying. So be ready with the printout of the same.
- If you are in a hurry you can shell 1200 Thai Baht for Visa on Arrival, and go to the fast track queue, though I did not notice any difference in the speed of the two lines.
So to summarize here is the checklist for Tourist Visa on Arrival in Thailand
- Valid Passport
- Return ticket valid in next 15 days printout
- Hotel booking confirmation printout
- Cash or equivalent of Thai Baht 10000 per person or 20000 Thai Baht per family
- Color photograph
- Filled visa form and a fee of 1000 Thai Baht cash for the normal line or 1200 Thai Baht for the express queue.
Some other tips on travel to Thailand: Even if you are traveling on different airlines some airlines will allow through check-in luggage within Thailand, so you do not have to wait to collect your check-in baggage at the port of arrival and then recheck it. This saved us a lot of time as we were traveling on Thai between India and Bangkok and further Bangkok airways between Suvarnabhumi and Koh Samui International airport. If you are on the same airline you get boarding pass for through journey at the time of boarding on first airport itself, but if you are on two different airlines like we were then you can check in the luggage together but your boarding pass for the second leg of the journey will be issued on domestic airport counter in Thailand. So do remember the same.
Some useful information and link on Thailand Visa on Arrival
The total time to get Visa on Arrival in Thailand should not take more than 30 minutes depending on the queue, provided you have all your documents in place. But my suggestion would be to budget for a minimum of 1 hour considering some unexpected circumstances just to be on the safe side.
I hope this checklist and FAQs related to tourist visa on arrival in Thailand will be beneficial to you. But remember government rules can change so it is always better to check the latest rules etc. before traveling.
You can also check these links below for the latest official information from Thailand Government about Visa on Arrival
- Visit Tourism Authority of Thailand Website to plan your trip to Thailand
- FAQs on Thai Immigration Bureau website
- To save time you can download the Thai Visa on Arrival Form and fill it beforehand.
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