Indian citizens are eligible for E-Visa and Visa on arrival in less than 60 countries. However, other than certain Southeast Asian countries, we always have to submit a pile of documents and follow a lengthy procedure for most of the nation’s visas.
One of the reasons flocks of tourists run to Thailand is their ease of obtaining a visa. The direct non-stop flights, easy visa process, cheaper vacation – Indian tourists can’t be happier than this. So there is not much of a struggle here unless your documents are unclear and false. Though Thailand Visa is easy to get for many nationals, the recent phenomena of Begpacking from a few western travellers are causing trouble to backpackers from all around the world.
Here is your complete guide to getting Thailand Tourist Visa – Gateway to a tropical paradise.
Things to keep in mind while applying for Thailand Visa.
Breakaway from Bangkok malls, Pattaya walking street and Phi Phi Beaches, they need a break from us- Thailand is more beautiful beyond those three big giants – The picture above is from Samet Nangshe, my mom’s favourite place in Thailand.
Thailand Visa portal is one of the easiest in the world to use. Do not fall for the scammers and agents who say only they can get you the visa. There are hundreds of agent’s portal that looks precisely like Thailand’s official portal. You end up spending more than the Visa fees if you apply from there.
Bangkok is the highest visited city in the world by tourists. So you should be prepared for waiting lines at Bangkok airport. Getting E-Visa or Visa on arrival is easy. But the waiting lines at major airports like Bangkok and Phuket can make you cry.
E-Visa approval saves your time by a few minutes. However, don’t expect your immigration check to happen at horse speed with your E-Visa grant. There are too many people like you and me in the world who wants to explore Thailand.
Ashrith travelled to Thailand two times during peak tourist season – December and January. He says Suvarna Bhumi airport looked more like a refugee camp than an airport. He exclaims that he has never seen any crowded airport as much as Bangkok airport in December. People literally get tired of waiting and make some makeshift seats/beds with their luggage.
You can get Thailand Visa on arrival at significant harbours and border crossings. However, do proper research before adventuring since minor ports, and non-significant border authorities aren’t equipped to process Visa grant procedures.
Thailand shares maritime borders with India, Indonesia and Vietnam and land borders with Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar. Picture Above – Island in Phuket
The Begpacker’s issue
In Chiang Mai, mom and I were heartbroken to hear the story of a dog abandoned by its owner because the owner found travelling with the dog uncomfortable at a local cafe. The Cafe owner went on explaining other harsh effects of over-tourism in Thailand. For example, Backpackers!
Western backpackers who run out of funds sit on the streets of Thailand begging money from locals to continue their dream of “Travelling the World.” He said some give music instrument performance in public or sell some bead jewellery they made by hand. But many do nothing but sit on the footpath begging locals of a “not so wealthy” nation like Thailand. So Thailand police and government have had enough of this and hence has made it strict for long term travellers to show sufficient fund, and they have been tracked to a great extent until they exit the country.
Documents required for Thailand Tourist Visa
If you don’t mind standing in long lines to get Visa on Arrival, you can do it once you arrive in Thailand. However, if you are applying for the E-Visa that reduces waiting time by a few minutes and your trip is less than 15 days, you have to upload the following documents:
- Passport cover page
- Passport bio page
- Departure and Return Airline tickets
- Confirmed booking of stay – Hotel/guesthouse/ BnB/ Hostel
- Photograph size 4×6 cm.
- Proof of fund – for long time western travellers. Backpackers in streetwear are highly screened at airports and compelled to show proof of funds in hard cash – The consequence of an increase in begpacker’s number. My fellow passenger on an island-hopping trip was from Tunisia had to go through strict screening like this.
- Travel insurance: Not mandatory, but I always preferred to have one.
- E-VISA FEES – 4000INR or 50 euros/ person for Indians as per 2019
- Time taken to get E-Visa approval after applying – 3 days.
- Time taken at the airport – 2 hours! Though Thailand is one of the most famous destinations for all travellers, the airports aren’t equipped well enough to handle the crowd swiftly. From the size to spatial arrangement, something doesn’t work in Bangkok and Phuket airports. So expect to leave the airport at least 2 hours after you land in non-tourist season.
Every year, Thailand receives around 39.8 million tourists ( Pre Covid details). Indians are in the top 5 nationals who visit Thailand most. Still, the Thailand E-Visa office emailed me, mentioning that my mother’s documents visibility wasn’t clear enough and requested me to send it again via email instead of reapplying for the visa. Travellers having “privileged” or powerful” passports may think “so what?”. But trust me! Getting a message from MFA or Visa authority to send the document again is a big thing for Indian passport holders. Our Visa applications are used to getting rejected in most parts of the world for several reasons and no reasons at all most times. So I was so delighted and grateful for the Thailand Visa organisation for that!
Our documents, including proof of fund, was perfect, and hence we weren’t questioned beyond 5 seconds at Bangkok airport. But strangely, we were interrogated for 30 minutes at my home town airport Bangalore. The immigration officer at Bangalore must have thought and asked us these questions in a polished subtle way –
Sukothai – the most peaceful town in Thailand, in my opinion.
The immigration officer called another officer, both of them checked and verified our documents twice to make sure that we weren’t trying to sneak into Thailand for work with a tourist Visa. In the end, he said we should have planned our 15 days trip, including Vietnam and Singapore, with Thailand and let us go. Read our post “Why are you wasting 15 days in Thailand – Most asked question” to know more of similar questions fellow people asked me before I went to Thailand with mom.
Waiting for two hours may sound tedious, but once you experience real Thailand heritage and culture beyond Bangkok and Pattaya, you realise that you will wait for two more hours to get to the Land of Smile.
How was your experience of getting a Tourist Visa at Thailand airport? Let us know in the comment section below.