My experience getting the free Thailand Free Visa on Arrival in Phuket


Like I mentioned earlier, I went about on a trip with some good friends to Phuket over the Easter Long Weekend. I flew GoAir between Mumbai and Phuket to get there. While Thailand per se is value for money as a destination, the visa fee can be a bit of a deterrent for the value seekers. I’ve paid all the way up to 2,000 Thai Baht to obtain Visa on Arrival in Thailand.

Thailand is giving out Visa-free of cost to Indians and passport holders of 20 other countries through October 2019. They also recently launched an e-Visa platform, where you can pay an additional 600 Thai Baht as the service fee of VFS, and get a visa quickly at home. But I wanted to see the full process, so I skipped the e-visa process and decided to do it all by the (slow) book.

Getting a Visa for Thailand, on arrival, is a two-step process. You first need to queue up to get a Visa stamped on your passport, and then head to the immigration counters and complete the process of immigration. You also need a Thailand Arrival Card, which was provided to us on the aircraft itself.

Shipra and myself, we had carried printouts of the Visa on Arrival Forms from Mumbai itself, which we completed on board the aircraft.  You can download the form here. If you don’t have the form before you arrive, you can fill it up at the airport itself. If you need a picture, there is also a photo booth.

Once you complete the form, you queue up at the Visa on Arrival Counter. In Phuket, there were two kind of counters, one for regular admittance, and one for big groups. We queued up for a good 20 minutes, and the queue moved quickly. On arriving in the front of the line, the form and the passport were collected. No questions asked verbally. All the details required were on the form.

After about ten minutes of processing, the passports were sent out to be distributed to us. This is a bit of an area of concern, at least in Phuket. The officer would hand over passports to one waiting person, and he/she would be responsible for handing out passports to everyone. There is an element of risk here, of misplacing a passport. Here is an image of how the Visa stamp looks, courtesy the internet.

thailand visa fees on arrival january 2019

Once the passport was collected, we headed down to the immigration queues, where, again, we were quickly processed and waived through.

The time it takes you depends on the number of flights that arrive with yours. For instance, in our case, all the three GoAir flights from Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore arrive around the same time, apart from some other flights as well. One of my friends, who arrived about 30 minutes later from Australia via Singapore, just took 5 minutes to go through the whole process.

Bottomline

The process of getting a Visa on Arrival in Thailand is simple but slightly time-consuming. You can buy the premium service and get in quickly, or spend about 15-20 minutes in the queue and get it done free.

What has been your experience with Visa on Arrival in Thailand? Any tips/tricks and insights? Do share.

Comments

  1. Hai.
    Firstly. I would like to appreciate you for your valuable information.
    As you mentioned one of your friend travelled from Australia right.. whether even he is eligible for free visa.

  2. Thanks for sharing this information.

    I need input for VoA experience at Bangkok airport and VoA time requirement. We have a flight from Bengaluru to Phuket with 3hrs layover at Bangkok airport. Flight will reach at 05:55 Bangkok airport. We are a family of 5 members. Will 3hrs sufficient to go thru VoA and immigration process. Also, Please clarify whether we need to stand in group queue (5 members) for VoA?
    Any input in this regard is highly appreciable. thanks

    • You don’t need to go through VOA and immigration in BKK. On arriving at BKK trasfer to the phuket flight and do VOA and immigration process at Phuket

  3. Hi the article is very useful and thanks for it.. I had a small doubt im gng with my family (4 members) for thailand this October 3rd so for on arrival visa we have to go counter for regular one or counter for groups? For family 20,000 thai baht should be shown right so for combine all of us 4 if we show one credit card is enough?

  4. I am planning to travel in August to Krabi and the flight is via Bangkok with a layover of 1.5 Hours. It arrives at 6:10am and the flight to krabi is at 8 Am. is it advisable to take eVOA ? Or just go for plain eVisa ? I somehow feel 1.5 hours is really tight to get eVOA and the board the next flight.
    Please suggest.

  5. I have applied for free E-visa for Thai land but they still deduct INR -6800/- from my account. Is there any possibility i get back? As I know indian will get free visa till Oct 2019 to Thai land, but why are they still deducting money.

  6. We reached Phuket from India on 15th June 2019 and we thought no fee for VOA but we paid 200baht each to visa counter and no reciept was given to us and no explanation why it is required.
    Corruption at this level! All Indian passports paid 200baht, some 300baht (supposedly speedy VOA) to corrupt THAI officials at Phuket International Airport Visa counter!!!!
    Take note…We were scared to report or ask about the FEE!

  7. I am going on 20 june mumbai phuket go air flight,the visa on arrival procedure is easy i have filled the application from web site immigration.go.th and got transaction reference no and show on airport just want to know it is proper?

  8. Hi..I am travelling to Phuket in July and my flight is via Bangkok with 2 hrs layover time, So should i take the on arrival visa in Bangkok or Phuket. ?

    One more doubt – While i am in Phuket for couple of days can i take a domestic flight to Bangkok and come back to Phuket ?

    • Hey, I think you have to take it at entry point, so Bangkok. Also it makes sense to do so since you have 2 hrs layover. It also depends if your next flight is from the same terminal or not.

      You can for sure take a domestic flight back.

  9. Hey @ajay where did u you guys stay in Phuket?

    Looking for recommendations as i am planning a visit next month.

  10. Hi Ajay your article is helpful. I want to ask if the visa is free can we use the same form you have given as it shows 2000thb printed on it.

    TIA

  11. Hi,
    I want to know how to deal with the INR and THB currencies? What is better, convert the currency in India or convert at airport or withdraw from ATM in Phuket?

    Thanking in anticipation,
    Shammi Hans

    • @Shammi, buy a forex card and load up in India, or use a credit card. Never at the airport, you will get the worst rates at the airport

  12. Application for Visa on Arrival says Visa Fees is 2000 BAHT per person. Isnt it free till October? havent they updated the form?

  13. WE ARE HAVING A FLIGHT TO PHUKET FROM MUMBAI VIA BANGKOK. WE NEED TO CHANGE THE FLIGHT AT BANGKOK. THE LAY OVER TIME IS 1hr30min.THE CONNECTING FLIGHTS ARE OF SAME AIRLINES. MY QUESTION IS THAT DO WE NEED TO APPLY FOR VISA AT BANGKOK OUR WE CAN APPLY FOR IT DIRECTLY AT PHUKET. SINCE OUR AIRPORT OF ENTERING THAILAND IS BANGKOK AIRPORT

    • It will be in Bangkok since its the 1st port of entry. Make sure you have enough time in between. Best if you can get a visa prior to arrival else simply get on the fast track (hopefully a shorter line there) by paying 200 THB extra

      • Hi Deepak,
        Due to your recent visit to Bangkok, you have access to the fast track service? Which airport are you arriving ? Arrival time? could you tell me? Thanks.

        • Fast track is always available for a additional charge of 200 THB (at Suvarnabhumi) but with free visas, even the fast track line may be too long (depends on flights arriving into Bangkok airport)

    • Good day chetan. I am booked in the same flight as you are. Could you please tell me whether you got ur voa at Bangkok or phuket. Thank you

  14. So if we are going in July 2019, for on arrival visa we don’t have to pay a single penny out of our pocket ? Or is there some service charge ?

  15. Am confused reading this article — is visa on arrival free (until October 2019) or does one have to pay?

  16. Ajay…Why did you have to pay THB 2000 if the VoA is free for Indian passport holders? I didn’t understand this part.

    • I am not sure though, visa fee was waived till end of April, 2019. This is what i had read when i visited in April for Songkran. May be in month of May they would have stared again and thereafter immediately stopped charging it again. One need to be updated about this fee.

  17. I concur with the experience of the two guys regarding the experience @ BKK. The attitude of the people there is horrendous. I had an instance where they insisted on me showing the hotel reservations, and then even called the hotel to check if my confirmation was genuine.

    Since I need to keep visiting Lat Kra Bang (near Bangkok) for work every few months, I prefer having a pre stamped visa or now the e-visa facility. Saves the annoyance.

    • hi i have an Evisa with me, and wondering if i still need to carry the 10k THB, in “cash”? else i was thinking of simply using my forex card from the atm at the airport instead of doing the whole currency exchange.

  18. I have NEVER had a pleasant experience with the Visa on arrival scheme , and officials at any Thai airport ( at these counters ) think they’re doing a huge “favour” granting one ( even when one uses the premium service ). You’ve mentioned how they just hand over a bunch of passports to any random person to distribute , further proving my point. Since 2017 , I get the Thai visa stamped on my passport before I leave India.
    The experience & attitude of the officials in the queues for the no-visa-required “first world” citizens , is poles apart from what most of the Indians go through. Sadly , the “free” visa initiative by the government fails to impress me , and it’s high time that the requirement for a visa for us is abolished , considering the amount of revenue we generate for their tourism industry. There are many more options for the Indian tourist these days , who is ready to travel to places further than Thailand , that are much more welcoming & affordable as well.

  19. It is much worse if you do it in Bangkok. The lines are crazy, the regular lines can take over an hour and the express one for 200 THB can often get crowded as well. The eVisa seems like a good option – didn’t know it existed.

    • I agree with Deepak. Obtaining free visa on arrival at Suvarnabhumi airport was a nightmare. It took us easily close to 2 hours to obtain one during Feb, 19.

  20. Were you asked to show evidence of carrying 10,000 TBH per person?
    I can’t imagine simply carrying around so much in cash.

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