Thailand’s Travel Visa Policy

There has been a lot of discussion and confusion regarding the Immigration Department’s decision to limit the stay of visitors to 90 days in a 180 day period.

After some time discussing exactly what the new regulations meant, it is now clear. At Suvarnabhumi Airport, when you arrive, there are signs posted at every station, indicating that this 90-day period applies ONLY to Visa On Arrival – that is to say, if you did not go to the Thai Embassy to obtain a proper visa, and instead arrived without a normal visa, you will be limited to 90 days every six months.

What this means is that all visitors who arrive in Thailand without obtaining a visa first will only be allowed to renew these visas by means of border runs up to a maximum stay of 90 days. The days of visa runs to Cambodia and other neighboring countries are not necessarily coming to an end, but be advised that you will only be able to do this a couple of times before being denied entry.

It is much cheaper to simply go to an embassy or consulate such as Penang and go through the normal procedure of applying for a visa. Of course, you could then do border runs for a couple of trips again, before needing to go apply for a visa again – but in effect there should be minimal impact on most people who are here for legitimate reasons.

In summary:

The 90-day regulation only applies for visa on arrival – that means you did NOT go to an embassy or consulate and apply for a visa before coming to Thailand. If you have a proper visa in your passport then you are NOT affected by this regulation.