Every time I visit the Immigration Office in Bangkok, I meet a tourist who is very confused about renewing his tourist visa in Thailand.
After all, when you get a tourist visa, Thai Immigration doesn’t explain the rules well, so many tourists end up not knowing they can renew their tourist visa, or how many renewals they can get before they must leave Thailand.
If you are getting or have a tourist visa for Thailand and are confused about renewing it, don’t be. There are just a few simple rules you need to follow.
Applying For a Tourist Visa – If you don’t already have a tourist visa for Thailand, the first thing you need to know is where to get one. You can only apply for a Thai tourist visa at a Thai embassy or consulate outside Thailand. You can visit one or you can mail in your application but, either way, it takes 2-7 days to get one, depending on if you visit or mail in your application, so make sure you allow yourself plenty of time before your trip.
What Types of Tourist Visa Are There? – You can get either a single-entry or a double entry tourist visa. A single-entry allows you one entry into the country (ie: you arrive, a few months later you leave, and you can’t go back to Thailand without another visa). A double-entry tourist visa allows you to enter Thailand twice. So, you can enter, leave, and then come back again and stay till the visa expires.
Most embassies and consulates in Asia however will only give you a single-entry visa. To get a double-entry, you will have to apply for a tourist visa at an embassy or consulate in Australia, Europe or north America.
How To Extend a Tourist Visa in Thailand – A tourist visa is for 60 days in Thailand. Regardless whether it’s a single-entry or a double-entry visa, it’s only valid for 60 days. On the date or before the 60 days end, you must go to an immigration office in Thailand where you can get an extension for an extra 30 days.
How Many Extensions on My Tourist Visa Can I Get? – Two. It used to be three, but the Thai government recently changed the rules and now you can only get two.
What two extensions means is this. Your original tourist visa will allow you to stay in Thailand for 60 days. At a Thailand immigration office, you can extend your visa for an additional 30 days. Then, on the day or before those 30 days have expired, you can visit immigration again, this time getting a renewal for only 7 days.
After the 7 days, you must leave Thailand to get another visa or, if you have a double-entry visa, to activate the second entry on your visa.
How Does a Double-Entry Tourist Visa Work? – A double-entry visa allows you to stay in Thailand for 194 days in total, and here’s how it works.
When you arrive in Thailand, your passport is stamped and your first entry is activated. Now, you can stay for 60 days, go to Thai immigration to extend for another 30 days, plus go again for a second extension of 7 days. Total days in Thailand? 97 days.
Once those 97 days are up, you must leave Thailand to activate your second entry. That means you can do a quick border run to Cambodia and back, or fly out of Thailand and come back. The second time you arrive in Thailand, your second entry on your double-entry visa is activated. Now you have another 60 days, plus can renew for 30 days in Thailand at the immigration office, and another 7 days if needed.
Total days for both entries on your visa? 194 days.
What is the Cost For a Tourist Visa to Thailand? – Tourist visas to Thailand are 1,000 baht. The cost of each extension however is 1,900 baht ($60). Regardless of whether you get a renewal for 30 days or 7 days, it will cost you 1,900 baht.
Thai tourist visas are relatively easy to understand, when you’ve gone through the process once. A single-entry will give you 60 days plus a 30 day renewal plus a 7 day renewal. A double-entry will give you 60 days, plus 30 days, plus 7 days. Then leave the country, come back for another 60 days, plus 30 days, plus 7 days. And that’s it.
Related: How much is the cost of doing visa runs in Thailand every year?