New Thai Tourist Visa that Allows You to Stay in Thailand for 6 to 9 Months
The Thai Multiple Entry Tourist Visa (METV) allows foreign tourists to stay in Thailand for 6 months. But you can stretch your time in Thailand up to 9 months if properly used. I’ll explain more about that later. It is a new category of visas introduced in November 2015.
First I’ll explain why I got the METV instead of the usual double entry Thai tourist visa. Because both allow visitors to stay in Thailand up to 6 months. And you will learn what the differences are between Thai Tourist Visa and the Multiple Entry Tourist Visa.
How I Used to Stayed in Thailand for 6 Months Using the Double Entry Tourist Visa
Since I am a US citizen and NYC resident I always apply in person for a tourist visa at the NYC Thai Consulate General located on 52nd Street 3rd Avenue.
For many years I have been entering Thailand using a double entry tourist visa which allowed me to stay in the country up to 6 months maximum.
Each entry I got 60 days. When those 60 days are over you are allowed to extend your stay for 30 days. Since I got double entry I can extend two times for a total of 60 days.
After 90 days I had to exit the country and do a border run by land or air. I usually go by air. I am too old to be cooped up in a speeding van on a visa border run driven by a guy with nothing to lose. And when I return to Thailand for the second entry I get a fresh 60 days and a “Used” stamp on my old visa.
Here’s a breakdown of the old double entry Thai Tourist Visa
2 months (first entry) + 1 month (first 30 day extension) + 2 months (second entry) + 1 month (second 30 extension) = 6 months.
Each entry fee cost $40USD so for me I paid $80USD for 2 entries. The cost of 30 days extension is 1900THB and you can apply for one at Bangkok’s Immigration Office located in Changwaettana.
That’s how I stayed in Thailand for 6 months before.
Today, the Thai Multiple Entry Tourist Visa has essentially eliminated and phased out the double and triple entry tourists visas. Which means from now on, if you want to stay in Thailand for 6 to 9 months you’ll need to get the new METV.
That said, single entry Thai tourist visas are still available for $40USD fee at the NYC Thai Consulate General.
Applying For Thai Multiple Entry Visas at the NYC Thai Consulate General
One of the benefits of living in NYC besides the awesome Pizza and Gray’s Papaya hot dogs is that I have the convenience of applying for whichever country (except for North Korea, not that I want to go there) I need tourists Visas easily.
For Thailand I simply make my way to the New York Thai Consulate General, drop of my Visa application and supporting documents in the morning and pick up the next day afternoon time:
NYC Thai Consulate Visa Service Hours:
Monday to Friday (closed on weekends)
- Submission: 9am to 12pm
- Pick Up: 1:30pm to 4pm (next day)
Bear in mind the NYC Thai Consulate office is closed on both major US and Thai holidays so check their calendar on http://www.thaicgny.com/ to make sure they are open the days you plan to go submit your application as well as passport pick up.
It is very important to mention that the METV can not be obtained by doing border runs. METV are only issued from the home country of the applicant.
This is just one way the Thai government is cracking the whip against foreigners who have been abusing back to back tourist visas in order to work in the country longer illegally by doing the border run shuffle.
As a reminder, even METV holders are prohibited from working in Thailand.
What You’ll Need to Apply for METV Including Required Documentations in NYC
- Applicants must be a U.S. Citizen or U.S. permanent resident.
- A passport or travel document valid for at least 6 months.
- A filled out visa application form. Be sure to fill out the section asking where you will be staying. Here is the link to download a Thai visa application.
- 2 passport sized photos, 2 inches x 2 inches.
- For non-US citizens you must provide one copy of U.S. permanent resident alien card or a copy of valid US visa with employment verification. If you have a US student visa you should provide a letter proving full-time student status.
- One copy recent bank statement showing you have adequate funds a minimum of $7000USD. Could be checking account or savings account.
- An employment verification letter.
- One copy each of airplane ticket and hotel reservation.
- $200USD visa fee either cash or US money order. This fee is non-refundable even if your visa application is denied.
In the past few years, Thailand has been tightening up on immigration policy. While in Thailand almost once every month or so I would read about down and out foreigners living on the streets of Bangkok or inside a teepee in some secluded beach. And those are the ones spotted on the news.
As a result changes were made in Thai consulates and embassies around the world to carefully vet potential foreign visitors before they set foot in Thailand.
I started noticing this a few years ago when I went to the Thai consulate office in Kuala Lumpur for the very first time to apply for a Thai tourist visa.
I could see and hear a lot of pissed off foreign tourists when they were told to supply more documents such as a bank statement copy, hotel reservation or a ticket out of Thailand. I’m guessing a lot of people got caught off guard. But then again the Thai Consulate in Kuala Lumpur has always had a reputation for denying visa applications for insufficient documentation.
But for me all I supplied was my entry/exit airfare ticket out of Thailand. I think every visa officer has different ways of sizing up an applicant. Because they do have the authority to ask for whatever proof reasonable as clearly written inside the consulate office (I wish I took a picture of the sign).
Getting Tourist Visas Today Has Changed Even in NYC Thai Consulate Office
For years I have been getting a double entry tourist visa in NYC. I usually just bring my application, passport photos and my flight itinerary. That was it.
However just recently, while handing in my application for the multiple entry tourist visa I was politely asked to provide a bank statement. It was not a problem at all but at the moment I did not have a copy.
I pretty much opted in for electronic statements on all my financial accounts so my banks don’t have to send paper statements anymore. Just doing my part on saving trees.
The friendly visa officer asked me which bank I use and I told him. He pointed out the nearest branch where I could request a statement print out. So I went and returned with my statement and handed everything back to him again.
He checked my documents again and was satisfied. I paid my $200USD fee and was handed a receipt. It was simple and painless.
I have to admit I was a little caught off guard too. But he only asked for a bank statement just to make sure I met the minimum required cash amount of $7000USD. Which is one of the requirements when applying for METV.
He could’ve asked me for a letter of employment verification too but didn’t. But I guess when he saw that I filled in the application that I was self employed that was sufficient enough. Or maybe he just saw that I was old and concluded I didn’t have to work anymore.
But it’s more likely because they have seen me before and recognize me. The Thai consulate in NYC is a small office and every year I’ve gone back there I have never had to stand in long lines. And I always got my passport with a newly minted visa back the next business day.
From my experience the visa officers inside the NYC Thai consulate are always super nice and friendly. Whatever questions about the METV I had they took their time to answer. I must’ve been inside speaking with the visa officer for 5 minutes without another visa seeking applicant coming in.
But I”ll be prepared for next time and have all my required documents ready when asked from now on.
If you can not apply in person or reside in the following states listed below you can mail your visa application and include the required documents, passport photos and fees. It will take about 10 days to process including shipping time. For more information take a look at NYC Thai Consulate website on how to apply via mail.
The NYC Thai Consulate General Handles Mail-in-Visa Application Processes for:
- New York
- New Jersey
- Rhode Island
- New Hampshire
How the METV Works
The one major difference between my new Multiple Entry Tourist Visa and old double entry tourist visa is that I can travel in and out of Thailand within a 6 month period as much as I want. Which was never possible with a traditional double entry visa.
Because I live in NYC and know that the NYC Thai Consulate has a fast reliable visa process turn around, I can go in a few days before my scheduled flight to drop off and then pick up my passport the next business day.
“The METV is unique in that it allows visitors to travel in and out of Thailand as much as they wish within the visas maximum 6 months stay.”
It’s important to know that your visa is active the day it was printed and placed on your passport. So if you apply for your METV 2 weeks before your scheduled flight then you’ve just lost 2 weeks in Thailand.
As you can see on my visa the issue date is May 26, 2016. And note that the enter before date is November 25, 2016 which is the expiration date. That’s six months in total.
Every time I exit Thailand and return I will get a stamp on my passport for another 60 days as long as it is before the expiration date, which in my case is November 25, 2016.
This means that I can plan a small trip to Hong Kong on November 20th and return on November 24 before the expiration date then I can get another 60 days with an option to extend another 30 days more at Bangkok immigration office for 1900THB.
Under the METV if You’re in Thailand 90 Days Consecutively…
Keep in mind that every consecutive 90 days stayed in Thailand, METV holders are still required to exit Thailand.Which was the same rule as the now defunct double entry tourist visa.
For example once you’ve stayed in Thailand for 60 days you can go to the nearest immigration office and apply for a 30 day extension. After those 30 days are up this means you’ve been in Thailand for a total of 90 days. Which means you must exit the country to do a visa run.
Upon return to Thailand, as long as it’s before the METV expiration date, you will get a fresh 60 day passport stamp.
Love it or Hate it the METV is Here to Stay
I’ve been reading around the inter-web about the Thai multiple entry tourist visa. Seems like there are many hates and complaints about the new METV. It could be the stricter documentation requirements.
To me, I don’t really have a problem with it at all. Because Thais have to jump through bigger hurdles and requirements just to get a tourist visa to my home country USA.
Vacationing and living in Thailand is wonderful. It’s a great jump off point for visiting even more countries!
Thailand wants tourists too. It is not in the country’s best interest to discourage foreigners from visiting. Just get the right visa, present the right documents and you’re on your way to an unforgettable time in Thailand.