Prior to traveling to a foreign country whether it is for travel, work, or vacation it is important to research the countries visa requirements. Different countries have different visa requirements based on the relationship that they have with the country that you are traveling from.
I will be traveling to Thailand and I am a U.S. citizen so I searched for “American Thai Embassy” to get the requirements for traveling. I am currently residing in Seattle, WA and found that the closest Thai Embassy is in Los Angeles.
In the most basic break-down, if you are a U.S. citizen and you want to travel to Thailand as a tourist for less than 30 days, you can fly to Thailand with proof of a return ticket and you DO NOT NEED a tourist visa. You need to verify that your passport has 6 months validity before it expires.
Based on the Thai Embassy Website if you want to stay longer than 30 days on a Tourist Visa you need to do the following:
“If an individual wishes to remain in Thailand for more than 30 days, he/she may wish to obtain a tourist visa at the Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate in the United States, prior to arriving in Thailand. The tourist visa must be used within 90 days from the date of issue and allows an initial stay of 60 days. After arrival in Thailand, a tourist visa may be extended twice, each time for an additional 30 days. There is a 1,900 Baht fee for each extension.”
Personally, I have a slightly different situation because I will be looking for work to teach english when I arrive. I will be looking for a company/school that will be able to sponsor me to get a Thai Work Permit and ultimately allow me to stay in the country longer. Therefore, I opted to apply for a Thai Tourist Visa so I can stay longer via the Thai Embassy located in Los Angeles. I was really nervous because in order to get a tourist visa you have to send in the following:
Your actual Passport!
(Passport or Travel Document must not expire within 6 months and contain at least ONE completely empty visa page).
• 1 copy of Passport
• 1 application form
• 2 photos
The Tourist Visa fee is $40 per entry (up to three entries)
The fee must be paid in the form of MONEY ORDER or CASHIER’S CHECK only payable to “ROYAL THAI CONSULATE GENERAL LOS ANGELES”. Cash, Credit Card, Personal or company checks are NOT acceptable.
I was able to send my application and get it back (along with my passport) in 1 week! I mailed it USPS Priority with a USPS express envelope when they mailed it back. It cost me $30 to mail it but I waited till the last minute so I was willing to pay more to ensure that I got it in time for my departure.