Visa for Thailand
Arranging a visa for Thailand can be the most nerve-wracking aspect of travelling to the country. Rules and regulations constantly change. Every country in Asia has different visa rules. Keeping up to speed with the rules and requirements is important.
Tourist visa for Thailand is a 30 day stamp given at the airport by thai customs if arriving by air. Complete your arrival form on the plane for a smooth transition through customs otherwise you may wait in long queues. This visa is only 15 days if arrival is by boat. Nationality can determine this too. Should you plan on staying longer a 60-day tourist visa must be obtained from your home country. Thai consulates are in most countries. You can not apply for this visa in Thailand.
Extending your stay in Thailand will involve a border crossing. Malaysia is the nearest bordering country. To clarify, visa run entails going to a Thai embassy or consulate to get a new visa. A border bounce is for multiple entry visas having to exit the country every 90 days in order to reactivate their visas.
It is possible to extend a tourist visa once only for 30 days. The immigration office in Nathon has all the necessary documentation.
Other visas available include the B1 (business visa) ED (education visa) and non-immigrant O visa usually for dependants or those married to a Thai citizen. Note that the only visa you may work legally with is the B1 visa and a valid work permit needs to be linked to this.
Visa runs from Samui are big business. Every second shop sells visa run packages to a city and consulate for new visas as well as the more straightforward border bounces. An average cost for a full visa run involving an overnight stay is around 4,500 baht from Samui to Malaysia. The costs include accommodation and transport but exclude visa costs. A border bounce costs on average between 1,600 – 2,000. It’s a fairly straight-forward trip but can be a bit tedious.
The most popular border crossing for these visa trips is the one at Sadao about 1½ hours’ drive past Hat Yai. The trip involves collection from your accommodation to the ferry and air conditioned mini-bus to Hat Yai. From here transferred into another bus minibus and taken to the border or further on to Penang. Go with a reputable visa run company. Herbert’s HD Visa is highly recommended for a fuss free experience.
Herbert chooses another border crossing a little further west closer to Satun. It’s called Khuan Don (Thai side) or Wang Kelian (Malay side). The border post is far more laid-back than the Sadoa one. Exit Thailand walk 50m enter Malaysia. Take two steps to the window next door and exit Malaysia before walking back 50m to re-enter Thailand.
Herbert: 0 818 933 859
Samui Immigration Office: 0 774 210 69