Guide To Visas For Koh Tao Thailand

Pre-arranged visas are necessary for over 30 days

Pre-arranged visas are necessary for over 30 days

People planning a holiday on the Thai island of Koh Tao have several visa options to choose from. Choices include getting a short stay visa-on-arrival when arriving in Thailand and applying for a 90-day long stay visa before travelling to the country.

Koh Tao Visas-On-Arrival

This is in effect a visa-exempt entry as it allows Thai immigration officers to admit visitors from 42 countries to the Kingdom of Thailand without a pre-stamped visa in their passports. People from countries such as the US, the UK, Ireland and Australia can take advantage of this option. 


The amount of time granted to visa-on-arrival visitors at entry points to Thailand depends on whether they are flying in or travelling overland. Tourists arriving by air are granted 30 days and those entering at a land border crossing only get 15 days.

Thai law stipulates that people using the visa-on-arrival option (really a visa waiver) should have an onward ticket to a third country before their visa is due to expire.

Some air carriers check this nowadays and people without an onward flight booked may not be allowed to board the first flight.

Tourist Visas for Koh Tao

A 60-day tourist visa is a good option for visitors wishing to stay longer and avoid the uncertainty of whether they will be allowed to board their holiday flight. These visas are usually issued as single entries, but some Thai diplomatic missions will give double and sometimes even triple entry ones. 

A tourist visa costs an amount equal to 1,000 Baht, in the UK this is £28.00 and in Malaysia it is 110 ringgit, per entry and people can make an application for one at any convenient Thai embassy or consulate. Malaysia is the nearest option to Koh Tao and Thai consulates in Kota Bharu and Georgetown on Penang Island usually issue visas one day after application has been made.

Non-Immigrant Visas for Koh Tao

A non-immigrant visa is the best option for people with a legitimate reason other than tourism to be in Thailand. These are issued for purposes such as learning the Thai language and residing with Thai family and are valid for 90 days from date of entry. Prices are equal to 5,000 Baht for a multi and 2,000 Baht for a single. The different categories of non-immigrant visas are shown below.

Type O: For people with a Thai partner and/or children and for the over 50s.
Type B: Employees with a job and work permit or sponsor’s letter from an employer.
Type ED: For students of the Thai language and some other subjects.
Type M: Journalists and reporters with verifiable documentation.
Type IM: Thai Board of Investment approved investors.

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Non-immigrant visas can be applied for at all Thai consulates and embassies, but are more easily obtained in the applicant’s own country. Offices attached to embassies in Southeast Asia have garnered a reputation for going through application paperwork and occasionally refusing to issue the requested visa.

Non-immigrant visas come as single or multiple entries. The latter is valid from day of issue for one year and used correctly can give an almost 15-month stay in Thailand by making border trips every 90 days. The last re-entry needs to be made before the ‘utilise by date’ shown on the visa. 

Overstaying a Visa: Visitors should be aware that overstaying the permitted time shown on entry stamps to Thailand attract fines which accrue at 500 Baht a day. The maximum penalty is 20,000 Baht. Anybody overstaying is breaking Thai law and risks being imprisoned.

Extending Visas for Koh Tao

Visa extensions can be made at Thai Immigration Bureau offices and are 1,900  Baht. The length of extension depends on the kind of visa. Visa-on-arrival entries can be extended for seven days, tourist visas for 60 days and non-immigrant visas for a year. The one-year extensions require bank balances of 400,000 Baht for spousal purposes and 800,000 Baht for retirement in a Thai account.

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