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Thailand forum

STA con or true? confuuuuused!

Posted by TommyKay on 20/12/2011 at 15:37

Planning our trip around southeast asia for october next year, read loads on here about visas across asia STILL confused! From reading on here i understood it as follows:-

If we arrive in thailand by plane, we automatically get a free 30 day visa.

If we arrive in thailand across land, we automatically get a free 15 day visa.

HOWEVER after speaking to a travel agent at STA she said that thai immigration can be fierce if you are one of the tourists they decide to thoroughly check. She said they will only give u a 30 or 15 day visa ONLY if you can provide proof of leaving the country within those 30 or 15 days. I have not read this anywhere before but i guess it makes sense.

I became suspicious of her of trying to con us into buying more when she said that proof of leaving thailand before expiry could only be in the form of either .....

1. A flight to another country.

2. A pre-paid STA trip that takes you out of Thailand.

She seemed genuine and I definetly dont want to be the idiot that gets stuck in the airport with thai immigration but I thought I'd double check with you guys before I book anything. Any help really appreciated!

#1 TommyKay has been a member since 2/11/2011. Posts: 12

Posted by Phiddy on 20/12/2011 at 16:13

Hi, I'm wondering a similar thing. I know that a lot of people do 'visa runs' to local countries in order to extend their visa allowances, this doesn't really answer your question at all though haha. You could always book a cheap flight to anywhere in advance and (after checking their cancellation policy to make sure you get a full refund) cancel it once you are safely in Thailand. I'm sure someone on here will be able to answer this more fully soon though.

#2 Phiddy has been a member since 1/12/2011. Posts: 64
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Posted by goonistik on 20/12/2011 at 18:53

The airlines are required to make sure that all your papers are in order before allowing you to board. AFAIK, the airlines are stricter than Thai immigration in this regard. You may wish to check with your airline about their rules.

You don't mention your nationality and that has a bearing on the rules that apply to you.
Depending on your nationality, a possible option may be to obtain a tourist visa so that you don't need to show proof of onward travel.

"Foreigners entering Thailand by any means under the Tourist Visa Exemption category are required at the port of entry to have proof of onward travel (confirmed air, train, bus or boat tickets) to leave Thailand within 30 days of the arrival date (otherwise a tourist visa must be obtained)."

From here:

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Posted by TommyKay on 21/12/2011 at 14:49

Hey, thanks for your replies! Im british and I havn't booked my flight from london to bangkok or phuket yet purely because I've been told this info and if its true i need a bit more time to book a flight from thailand to either laos, cambodia or vietnam within the 30 days before my thai visa expires! So from what you've posted your saying that it doesn't just have to be a pre paid flight - trains, bus and boat tickets count to? I was told only a flight counted. And if i bought one of these tourist visas i don't need proof of leaving within 30 days? how much is a tourist visa?

#4 TommyKay has been a member since 2/11/2011. Posts: 12

Posted by altmtl on 21/12/2011 at 15:46

My onward return ticket is 90 days later... When I arrive I will get a 30 day visa exemption, not a visa. At one point I may do a visa run in Burma to expend my "exemption" 15 days. I do not plan to overstay. I will be going to Laos by land - no I have no proof of a train or bus or plane ticket. Am I worried NO! This is my fourth trip to Thailand and I've never had a problem.

But if you have a one way ticket, dress like a lost drug dealing hippie with no money, yeah they may turn you back.

Do you really think they'll start turning people with return tickets away considering the big drop in tourism due to the floods?

Best thing to do is contact the Thai Embassy nearest to you and then decide is you want to pay for a single or double entry 60 day visa.

#5 altmtl has been a member since 18/5/2009. Location: Canada. Posts: 1,003
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Posted by Nokka on 22/12/2011 at 03:32

Its not the Thais who will likely turn you away - its the airlines who are the potential problem. If you haven't got a flight out of the country pre-booked, no proper visa and an over-officious check in operator you could have a problem. Maybe you won't - but what if you do ?

#6 Nokka has been a member since 6/4/2009. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 259
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Posted by natalieh3005 on 28/12/2011 at 05:48

Posted from within Vietnam.

Hi - I think it is most likely that your airline will be strict on this as opposed to Thai immigration. I flew with Emirates from the UK to Bangkok and booked a cheap Air Asia flight to Kuala Lumpur just in case. At check in - they asked us to confirm we would be leaving Thailand within 30 days and insisted on seeing the Air Asia tickets..... I would double check with your airline and just book a cheap flight in case!!

#7 natalieh3005 has been a member since 25/11/2010. Posts: 3

Posted by whardy on 28/12/2011 at 19:14

Hey, I saw this thread was unresolved so I thought I'd throw in my piece. Goonistik has the key input here in saying that it's the airlines that will present the problem, not immigration. Returning to Thailand after my holiday home, my resident visa expired and I was coming back without visa expecting to receive a 30 day visa on arrival. The airline was the one giving me a hard time and for a second I thought I wouldn't be able to board my plane. After a few minutes of pleading and promising that I was taking a bus to Laos, they let me on but gave me fair warning that if there were any problems at immigration, I'd be on my own for a flight back. Of course, there weren't any problems at immigration when I arrived. Perhaps the airline is responsible for shipping you home if things don't work out at immigration so they're just trying to cover their own hide.

A 60 day visa applied for and received in your home country at the Thai embassy is a good way to avoid complication *if* what others are saying is true about not needing proof of onward travel. I'm not familiar with this, but maybe a good way to protect yourself. Once you're in country, it's quite easy to tease your visa dates, so once you're here, the visa problems are minimal for a tourist on a short tour (90 days or less). Hope this helps, and enjoy your trip!

#8 whardy has been a member since 14/11/2011. Posts: 66

Posted by TommyKay on 8/1/2012 at 07:28

Thanks whardy and goonistik thats really helpful, booked my one way flight from heathrow to phuket via kuala lumpur now with malaysian air, we want to go to laos after 30 days in thailand and a quick google is showing flights to be around 200 quid so i'd much rather pre-book a train. Considering goonistiks quote from the thai embassy in london, you guys are clearly right about it being the airline with the problem not thai immigration! I think I'll try and find out more about malaysian airlines. cheers for your help guys! x

#9 TommyKay has been a member since 2/11/2011. Posts: 12

Posted by goonistik on 8/1/2012 at 20:32


I just realized the reason why the STA lady said only an outbound flight is acceptable. The airline employees may not be aware that any outbound ticket (bus, train boat,) is acceptable to Thai immigration. So the airline check-in personnel may insist on seeing a outbound plane ticket.

The reason airline employees are stricter is because airlines can be fined by the government for allowing you to fly with inadequate travel documents.

We have to understand that these people have to deal with immigration policies from many countries and we cannot expect them to be experts on the policy of each country. It is also possible for them to get confused or to misunderstand the rules that apply to you.

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