The land of smiles attracts millions of visitors each year and the count seems to be ever-increasing. Tourism serves as the main source of income for this nation. To boost tourism even further, Thai government came up with an indigenous idea of Visa on Arrival given it’s cordial relations with the rest of the world. Currently nationals of 28 countries have the privilege of enjoying the facility of Visa on Arrival or VoA in Thailand.
Although the process is quite simple but too much information on the internet leads to confusion more often than not. The first hurdle seems to be settling on the authentic Visa on Arrival website that is run by the Thai Immigration Department. The intent is to make the whole process smooth and effortless for you all since I have been through it now. The moment I sat down to gather information about visa formalities, I was bombarded with links of all kinds of travel and tour operators. It was easy to get the information but not the genuine link to apply for the Visa.
To top it all, Thai government has not taken any effective measures to make sure that their official link trends on Google search. One is left at the mercy of private operators and too many get scammed as these operators charge a blatant convenience/service fee of 600 THB per person which roughly amounts to Rs. 1400 (when Visa On Arrival is completely free till Oct 2019).
The Good News
As a goodwill and promotional gesture, Thai Government decided to wave off the Visa fee (2000 THB) for the nationals of 28 nations starting May 1st 2019 till 31st Oct 2019. For an Indian it amounts to roughly Rs. 4700 (as per today’s conversion rate as on 24th Aug 2019) which indeed is enticing. So if you are craving for that much needed vacation, the Land Of Smiles welcomes you with open arms.
As already stated the whole process is quite simple and doesn’t take much time to complete, provided you have the right guidance. To begin with, it’s mandatory to know about the documents required. Listed below is an exhaustive list for your reference.
Visa On Arrival Documents
- A valid passport with minimum over 30 days validity.
- Duly filled Visa application form.
- Correctly filled Arrival and Departure Cards.
- 4 color photographs of 40mm x 60mm (4×6) with white background (although only 1 is required by Immigration officials, having extra keeps you covered).
- Return tickets from source country to destination and back.
- Confirmed bookings of stay in Thailand.
- Proof of funds for your stay in Thailand.
The process of obtaining a Visa on Arrival can be made effortless with a little planning. Arranging the required forms and documents well in advance goes a long way in moving through the process smoothly.
Note : Take print outs of the Visa application form and fill it prior to your arrival in Thailand. Arrival and Departure cards are available at the airport and do not take much time to fill. Arrange rest of the documents in a sequential order to save time and avoid any kind of panic.
Visa On Arrival – The Immigration Desk
Thai immigration officials are smart, efficient and quite professional. If your documents are in order and your conduct in check, the process should not take too long. We had downloaded and filled the forms well in advance and had all the documents organized and ready upon our arrival at Suvarnabhumi International Airport. It took us straight 55 minutes to complete the whole process and obtain our Visas on Arrival.
Once you de-board, head straight to the Visa on Arrival section of the airport. For the first time travelers, it might seem a bit overwhelming looking at the crowd of people rushing around frantically. You are highly advised not to panic and follow the steps below.
- Keep your documents organized and ready.
- Join the queue for immigration.
- Wait for your turn.
- Get the documents verified.
- Answer the questions asked by Immigration officials confidently and politely.
- Collect your Blue token.
- Wait for your passport to be stamped.
- Collect your passport and Arrival and Departure cards.
- Proceed for baggage collection.
If you wish to skip the regular queue and get an expedited Visa on Arrival, be ready to shell out 200 THB (Thai Baht) for the service. The officials may inquire about your purpose of visit, itinerary, duration of stay, prof of funds (10000 THB per person or 20000 THB per family), bookings etc.
Once you receive your stamped passport and the Arrival and Departure cards, it’s time to head over for bio metrics. Arrival card is retained by the bio metric officer but you are supposed to secure the Departure card to be presented at the time of leaving the country.
Welcome To Thailand
Done with the formalities it is time now to embark on your exciting journey into the nation. As a general piece of advice, be respectful to the natives of the land, keep a check on your belongings and surroundings, take time to acclimatize and be a responsible traveler. Stay healthy, stay safe and keep the environment clean.
Till then keep smiling and live some more for there will be plenty of time to drag on 🙂 .