Saturday, November 23, 2013

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

Also visit: Bangkok Hotels Posted by Narinder Singh

Tourists coming from 28 countries are allowed the facility of Visa on Arrival at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang International Airports. Such Visa is available at 24 Check Points in Thailand (List of Check Points at the bottom of this page). Visa on Arrival is a temporary tourist Visa and entitles the holder to stay in Thailand for a period of 15 days (List of Eligible Countries at the bottom of this Page below the list of Check Points). 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 (Get Application Form 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 (Hotels in Thailand) (Link opens in new window)
8. Thai or other currency or debit/credit card equivalent to 10,000 Thai Baht per person or 20,000 Thai Baht per family
(Thailand Visa on Arrival Form (jpeg) in this page below and other useful information). See Best Money Changer in Bangkok here: Super Rich Money Exchange in Bangkok
and Best Money Changer in Pattaya here.

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 Form (JPEG - Click on the Image to Enlarge - Save and Print)

This is a JPEG image of Bangkok Visa on Arrival Form. I converted it from PDF because PDF cannot be put on a blogger page. Hope it is useful!

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.

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.

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).   

Also Read: Travel From Don Muang Airport to Pattaya (New window)

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

1. Bangkok Harbour Immigration Checkpoint, Bangkok
2. Betong Immigration Checkpoint, Yala
3. Chiangmai International Airport, Chiangmai
4. Chiangrai Airport Immigration Checkpoint, Chiangrai
5. Chieng Khong Immigration Checkpoint, Chiengrai
6. Chieng Saen Immigration Checkpoint, Chiengrai
7. Don Muang International Airport, Bangkok
8. Hatyai International Airport, Songkhla
9. Krabi Immigration Checkpoint, Krabi
10. Mabtaput Immigration Checkpoint, Rayong
11. Mae Sai Immigration Checkpoint, Chiengrai
12. Nong Khai Immigration Checkpoint, Nong Khai
13. Phuket Immigration Checkpoint, Phuket
14. Phuket International Airport, Phuket
15. Sadoa Immigration Checkpoint, Songkhla
16. Samui Airport, Surat Thani
17. Samui Immigration Checkpoint, Surat Thani
18. Satun Immigration Checkpoint, Satun
19. Songkhla Harbour Immigraion Checkpoint, Songkhla
20. Sri Racha Immigration Checkpoint, Chonburi
21. Sukhothai International Airport, Tak Immigration Checkpoint
22. Surat Thani Airport Immigration Checkpoint, Surat Thani
23. Suvarnabhumi Airport
24. 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

Blog by: Narinder Singh