Let say your just coming for a quick holiday away from reality, up to 1 month stay so you can get back to your boring life, shitty routine and crappy job. If you enter Thailand through immigration with a return ticket and the duration is less than 1 month, you can get a Visa on entry for 30 days. You will be permitted to stay in Thailand not exceeding 30 days provided that proof of return or onward travel arrangements are presented with their passports at the airport immigration check-points. SIMPLE
Now this is where things get tricky if you wish to stay longer, and some preparations are needed. I am only going to talk about Visa’s for “holidays”, not “working” Visa’s, as I have had no interest in working so what I know about them is only regurgitated off the internet and not first hand experience.
My personal plan was to come to Thailand, travel heaps within Thailand and stay for as long as my bank balance let me. With this in mind, before I left Australia, I sent my Passport with a filled out Visa Form B to the Thai consulate in Canberra. You need to fill it out and decide what style of Visa suits you, organise a money order from Australia Post and also mail as registered post with a return envelope all filled out nicely for them. Now I went with a “Tourist Visa”, double entry ($90AUD) which gives you 120days of travel.
This must be done from Australia before entering Thailand. Now this Visa is not simply cut and dry. You will more than likely still need to do a Visa run before then end of your 60 days. When I passed through immigration, I got stamped for 1 entry of my double entry, and had an exit date stamped in my passport. This meant that close to the 60 days date, I needed to leave the country and re-enter to be able to activate my second entry.
Activating the second entry was simple, traveling anywhere from Thailand is cheap as shit with AirAsia. I hopped a plane from Bangkok Don Mueang International airport to Singapore for less than $100. I used this as an opportunity to spend some cash and have 2 days in Singapore for a look around. My return was not back to Don Mueang International, but instead to Phuket International Airport. Upon arrival, I got the second part of my double entry Visa stamped, so another 60 days in the country.
Now where to from here? This double entry Visa does have the ability to get extended should you be enjoying your time in Thailand. All that’s needed is to rock up to the Thai Consulate in Bangkok before that end date, and drop 1900THB to grab yourself a 30 day extension.
So all up, filling in the form in Australia before you leave for Thailand, will in fact net you 180 day stay.
Overstaying your Visa can be one of the worst mistakes you as an alien could ever do. Overstaying you visa with lieu to ignorance or just sheer lack of knowledge regarding Thai Visa rules and regulations can land you in some serious shit. It’s much better to be denied entry, than be imprisoned in the monkey house and denied your freedom in a country you don’t really belong in.
What is overstaying? If you Visa is stamped to exit the country by 15th of March (as stamped in your passport) and you’re still in Thailand by the 16th, you are already overstaying. It is every alien’s obligation to exit Thailand on or before their permit of stay expires, so no matter what the reasons are it is necessary to report and present yourself to the immigration as required. Sometimes you may only get hit with fines.
There is a fine of 500 baht per day of overstay, which only begins after the second day, so if your stay expired on the 15th of March and you only reported to the immigration on the 20th, your fine will only be 4 days of overstay or 2,000 baht.
If by some cruel twist of fate you are stopped at a random check-point on your way to the airport, the police will imprison you regardless of the length of time you overstayed, even if it’s just one day!
You’ll end up confined to jail, worst case the Klong Prem Central Prison, until you can secure your flight outside Thailand or you can provide the money in payment for the fine.
It remains a question though about you fixing things up when you’re actually inside the monkey house, in that case just keep hoping that your friends or a lawyer might help out through the ordeal.
Amnesty International writes that Thai jails are “cruel and degrading”, so abide by the rules and do not attempt to overstay in the first place.