Visa on Arrival in Thailand – things you need to know

If you are planning a trip to Thailand for not more than 15 days, then you have the option of securing a Visa on arrival provided your passport is valid for not less than 6 months from the date of application. A lot of people travelling to other cities in Thailand from Bangkok will be taking a connecting flight from Don Mueang International Airport. If this is the case, then it will be critical to calculate the amount of time you can end up spending in transit, including the time required for processing Visa on arrival. A few things that you can keep into account:
FLIGHT TIME – In case a lot of flights are landing around the same time, chances are that you will find a longer queue at the Visa counter. Hence it is best to check before you embark on your journey on the number of flights landing at the airport within +/- 1 hr window. Around midnight, there are a lot of flights from South East Asian countries.
VISA PROCESSING FORM – Once you get off, would suggest you follow the signage and immediately rush towards the Visa processing counter. Just as you enter the Visa section, there will be a counter you will get a form which you need to fill. It will prompt you for basic details about your passport, hotel you will be staying in and the connecting flight etc. If you are staying at a hotel, keep the confirmed booking status of your reservation handy. You will also need to carry a passport size photo (4 cm x 6 cm) which needs to be attached. Also please carry your full paid return ticket which is usable within 15 days since the date of entry. Make sure you fill your form quickly as within minutes, you will see the queue in front of the Visa counters pile up
EXPRESS VS REGULAR PROCESSING – There is a separate queue for Express Service where in you end up paying 200 THB / person additional to expedite the processing. But unless you are in a major hurry and the queue is extremely long for regular service, there express service will not make too much of a difference. The Visa processing fee for regular service is 1000 THB / person. Also please ensure that you are carrying this amount in cash in local currency. We had got the currency exchanged from Delhi itself to avoid spending additional time on the airport for this. Also we had read in couple of places that they also accept this fee in USD, but this is not the case. The payment needs to be done strictly in THB.
CASH REQUIREMENT – As per the Visa laws, the applicant must possess means of living expenses at the amount of 10,000 THB / person and 20,000 THB / person accordingly. But we dint see anyone being questioned on this element, including us.
Last but not the least, keep into account atleast an hour (post 11:00 p.m.) and two hours (during day time) travel time between the two airports to be on the safe side.

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  1. I chose not to opt for VOA. I got my visa done in advance. I prefer to ensure that everything is planned in advance ruling out any last minute glitch on visa front. I’m happy to do so because when I landed the VOA line was too long and would have meant wasting quite some time. But yes lot of people prefer VOA as it saves from extra work.

  2. Hi, good writing! I am a backpacker only and will visit Thailand next year. Would you advise me to book the travel service or is it safe to organize my trip to the islands? My friend advises to book my tickets, but now I’m not sure I would travel alone.