Saturday, November 23, 2013

Bangkok Visa on Arrival Form, Procedure, Documents and other Requirements at Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang Airports

(Updated Dec 2014) In this page you will read the detailed procedure, the documents that you need to carry and the eligibility and other requirements that you need to fulfill in order to get a Visa on Arrival in Thailand, including a step-by-step guide for Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang Airports. The list of countries eligible for Visa on Arrival in Thailand and the list of Border Check Points in Thailand where Visa on Arrival is available is also given. From this page, you can download the Thailand Visa on Arrival Application Form and get the necessary information for transit passengers, i.e. arriving by international flight at an airport in Thailand and proceeding to a domestic flight. In addition, I have given some very useful information on money exchange and links for best options on travel to Pattaya from Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang Airports.

Eligibility for Thailand Visa on Arrival

Tourists coming from 28 countries are allowed the facility of Visa on Arrival at 33 Check Points in Thailand including Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang International Airports. Visa on Arrival is a temporary tourist Visa and entitles the holder to stay in Thailand for a period of 15 days. Visitors who enter Thailand with Visa on Arrival generally cannot file an application for extension of Visa except in special circumstances like illness that prevents them from leaving Thailand, etc. The following documents need to be carried by the tourists with them:

1. Passport with a minimum remaining validity of six months
2. Return / onward journey air ticket for travel within the next 15 days
3.One passport size (4 x 6 cm) photo
4. Boarding card of the flight of arrival
5. Duly filled-in Visa on Arrival application (Thailand Visa on Arrival Application Form is given in this page below) and Arrival / Departure Card (provided during the flight)
6. Visa on Arrival fee of 1,000 Thai Baht to be paid in Thai currency only
7. Hotel reservation / other stay address in Thailand
8. Thai or other currency or debit/credit card equivalent to 10,000 Thai Baht per person or 20,000 Thai Baht per family
Keep reading for more...
(Super Rich Money Exchange in Bangkok and Best Money Changer in Pattaya)

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport Visa on Arrival

Visa on Arrival Process at Suvarnabhumi Airport
(Visa Process at Don Muang Airport later in this page)

Arrival / Departure card is provided to the passengers during the flight itself and should be filled in carefully. Visa on Arrival application form is made available at the counter seen in the above picture. The staff at the counter will ask for your passport size photo that will be stapled on the blank form before the form is given to you. Completely filled in application form and other documents need to be carried into the above Visa on Arrival gate.

Inside, the application form and other documents and 1000 Thai Baht fee are first subjected to a preliminary examination by immigration officials. There is usually a queue at this juncture which can mean a wait of 10 minutes to more than one hour depending on how many flights have simultaneously arrived. They also have a fast track counter (towards left side after entering the Visa on Arrival gate as seen in the above picture) where an additional fee of 200 Thai Baht is charged. This fast track counter is meant for tourists who have to catch domestic connecting flights from the airport. Probably anyone can use the fast track counter but I never tried it. Preliminary examination takes 1-2 minutes and usually no questions are asked if the documents are in order. A token number is given to the tourists for appearance at relevant Visa / Immigration counter. Wait time at this point is about 10 minutes. Token number and counter number are displayed on a LED screen and also announced over a PA system. One should proceed to the relevant counter and stand at the place marked on the floor for picture taking by the counter staff. Two immigration officials are present at the counter where Visa and Immigration happen simultaneously. The first official examines the documents, accepts the fee and makes a receipt. The second official staples your departure card to the passport and stamps Visa on the passport. Its a breeze except that you have already lost one full page of the passport because its a huge stamp. OK, Welcome to Thailand. Your baggage is waiting at the designated belt. Before leaving the airport, Thai Customs officials will screen bags on a random basis at the Green Channel so be careful about what you carry along. (See Immigration Traps in this page - scroll down)  

Thailand Visa on Arrival Application Form

Download PDF or click and enlarge the JPEG displayed below...
Thailand visa on arrival application form
Thailand Visa on Arrival Application Form

This is a JPEG image of Thailand Visa on Arrival Application Form. Click, enlarge and print it or Download PDF.

How to locate the Visa on Arrival Counter

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport International Arrival

If you are arriving on a low cost carrier like Air Asia, the bus will drop you at the above arrival gate. Premium carriers use aero bridges.

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport - Immigration / Transfer Information

Immigration / Transfer information is printed on the above two boards. Immigration counters are numbered 1, 2, and 3 and are printed in blue in the sign boards above. Visa on Arrival counter is Immigration Counters Number 2 (towards West). If you are looking at these boards, turn Right. Visa on Arrival is nearby.

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport - Immigration Counter Number 2

Before Visa on Arrival, you will see Exchange Counter to change your currency in to Thai Baht and a small cabin for taking photo in case you forgot to bring your passport size photo along. Exchange rates here are not very favourable and a photo will probably cost 150 THB so better not to forget. If you need to change money here, change just enough to carry you into Bangkok city. You can find much better rates at Super Rich Money Exchange in Bangkok.

Transit Procedure at Thai Airport - Arrival by International Flight and proceeding to Domestic Flight in Thailand

Passengers arriving at any Thailand Airport by international flights must complete immigration formalities at Passport Control --> collect their baggage --> and clear Customs before proceeding to board their domestic flight.

Upon arrival,

(i) If you already have a Boarding Pass for the domestic flight, you may proceed to passport control directly for immigration.

(ii) If you do not have a Boarding Pass for the domestic flight, you will need to obtain a Boarding Pass before proceeding to Passport Control.

Transfer Check-in counters at Suvarnabhumi Airport are located on the second floor.

Travel from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport to Pattaya by Airport Bus or you may like to read about
Airport City Link and Airport Express Trains

Visa on Arrival Process at Don Muang Airport, Bangkok

Immigration Area in Don Muang Airport Bangkok

Immigration Area is easy to locate at Don Muang Airport by following sign boards like the one in the above picture. Visa on Arrival and Immigration enclosures are located side by side. Documents and other requirements are the same in both the airports, i.e. Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang. I urge you to read the entire page from the beginning before reading this section for better understanding of the subject. Please fill up Arrival / Departure Card that will be given to you during the flight before arriving into Bangkok. This card, Visa on Arrival application form (can be downloaded from this page - see link above) and other documents need to be carried to the Visa on Arrival counter.

Visa on Arrival Counters at Don Muang Airport Bangkok

Visa on Arrival Counter at Don Muang Airport Bangkok

The help desk seen in the above picture is not always vacant. Once I saw a security man handing out forms and guidance to the incoming passengers. If there is no one on this counter and you need help, please go the glass windows you see in the back. The sign board above the glass windows reads "Bangkok Airport Immigration". In fact these are not immigration counters but Visa on Arrival counters. Visa on Arrival form and other documents are to be presented along with the requisite fee of 1000 THB at this place. The staff at the counter  do a preliminary check of the documents and give a paper token to the passenger who is then asked to wait. The wait is usually short because the number of passengers arriving at Don Muang is not much and out of those arriving, all do not need visa. I have been there twice and the wait time on both the occasions was about five minutes. After the wait is over, passengers are called by the token number back to the counter where the documents along with the visa fee receipt are returned to the passengers. A blank visa stamp is affixed on the passport here.

The next step depends on how lucky the passengers are feeling that day. On really lucky days or really lucky hours during each day, immigration formality is done at the special immigration counter located within the "Visa On Arrival" enclosure. The immigration process takes another 2 minutes as there is almost no waiting. However, on unlucky days or unlucky hours, this special counter is not operational and the passengers are directed to the regular Immigration Section where long queues await them. Fortunately, the queues are not as long as at Suvarnabhumi. At the immigration counter, photo of the passengers is taken with a digital camera and stamping on the passport is completed by immigration officers. Passengers can then proceed to collect their luggage (downstairs).

Travel From Don Muang Airport to Pattaya

Also visit my Bangkok Travel Guide and Pattaya Travel Guide

Where to take VOA if Bangkok is not your final destination

This question is repeatedly asked - where Visa on Arrival is to be taken if someone is taking an onward flight from Bangkok to another airport in Thailand, such as Phuket or Chiang Mai, etc. The answer to this question is to be decided by your airline. If you are flying out of Bangkok by the same airline that brought you to Bangkok, and your baggage is checked-in right up to the destination beyond Bangkok, you will need to take VOA only at your final destination. That means, at Bangkok you will remain in the transit area of the airport and will proceed to boarding the domestic flight without collecting your bags in Bangkok. However, if you have only one boarding card up to Bangkok and your bags are checked-in up to Bangkok only, then you need to take VOA at Bangkok, collect your bags, clear Customs, and check-in again for the domestic flight.

List of Check Points where Visa on Arrival can be obtained (In Alphabetical Order) 

1. Aranyaprathet Immigration Checkpoint, Aranyaprathet
2. Bangkok Harbour Immigration Checkpoint, Bangkok
3. Betong Immigration Checkpoint, Yala
4. Chiangmai International Airport, Chiangmai
5. Chiangrai Airport Immigration Checkpoint, Chiangrai
6. Chiang Khong Immigration Checkpoint, Chiengrai
7. Chiang Saen Immigration Checkpoint, Chiengrai
8. Don Muang International Airport, Bangkok
9. Hatyai International Airport, Songkhla
10. Klong Yai Immigration Checkpoint, Trat
11. Krabi Immigration Checkpoint, Krabi
12. Krabi International Airport, Krabi
13. Mabtaput Immigration Checkpoint, Rayong
14. Mae Sai Immigration Checkpoint, Chiangrai
15. Mukdaharn Immigration Checkpoint, Mukdaharn
16. Nong Khai Immigration Checkpoint, Nong Khai
17. Padag Besar Immigration Checkpoint, Songkhla
18. Pattaya Immigration Checkpoint, Chonburi
19. Phuket Immigration Checkpoint, Phuket
20. Phuket International Airport, Phuket
21. Pong Nam Ron Immigration Checkpoint, Trat
22. Sadoa Immigration Checkpoint, Songkhla
23. Samui Airport, Surat Thani
24. Samui Immigration Checkpoint, Surat Thani
25. Satun Immigration Checkpoint, Satun
26. Songkhla Harbour Immigraion Checkpoint, Songkhla
27. Sri Racha Immigration Checkpoint, Chonburi
28. Sukhothai International Airport, Tak Immigration Checkpoint
29. Sungai Kolok Immigration Checkpoint Sungai Kolok
30. Surat Thani Airport Immigration Checkpoint, Surat Thani
31. Suvarnabhumi Airport
32. Tak Immigration Checkpoint, Tak
33. U Tapao Airport, Rayong

List of 28 Countries Eligible for Visa on Arrival in Thailand

1. Andorra
2. Bhutan
3. Bulgaria
4. China
5. Cyprus
6. Czech Republic
7. Estonia
8. Ethiopia
9. Hungary
10. India
11. Kazakhstan
12. Latvia
13. Liechtenstein
14. Lithuania
15. Maldives
16. Malta
17. Mauritius
18. Oman
19. Poland
20. Romania
21. Russian Federation
22. San Marino
23. Saudi Arabia
24. Slovakia
25. Slovenia
26. Taiwan
27. Uzbekistan
28. Ukraine

Beware of Immigration Traps

Thai Immigration officials sometimes try to trap tourists by making seemingly attractive offers of some kind but with a hidden sinister motive. Once while leaving Bangkok, an Immigration officer who looked like a Supervisor at the Immigration counters offered me a roll of currency notes asking me to buy a bottle of "Double Black" for him. I politely refused. But if I had accepted the money, I would probably be arrested for breaking some Law. Double Black means Johnnie Walker Double Black Whiskey that is popular among Tourists who buy the brand from the duty free shop while leaving Bangkok. It is very unlikely that a senior Immigration official will need to ask a tourist that too a complete stranger to buy a bottle of duty free booze for him at the airport. I have also read a story where a female employee at a duty free shop clandestinely put an extra packet of cigarettes in to the shopping bag of a tourist arriving into Bangkok and then he was stopped at the Green Channel. Remember, not all Thai people are your friends.

Posted by Narinder Singh
Blog by: Narinder Singh