Following is guidance on current procedures for DoD personnel entering/leaving Thailand, followed by an excerpt on related issues from the DoD Foreign Clearance Guide (https://www.fcg.pentagon.mil). As this is based on policies of the Royal Thai Government, and is subject to change over time, deploying personnel should also check, at their earliest opportunity, with the JUSMAGTHAI Joint Support Division (commercial only, from outside Thailand: 66-2-287-1036, ext 201 or 113; from within Thailand: 02-287-1036, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm these requirements.
General Guidelines: JUSMAGTHAI strongly advises obtaining 60-day visas prior to arrival in Thailand for stays near or beyond 30 days. See Important Update Immediately Below This!!
Note: The following message transmitted to PACOM passes the most recent change to Immigration rules regarding visits to Thailand. These changes have potentially important repercussions for DoD travellers to Thailand, so please read carefully.
HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
SUBJECT: THAILAND VISA EXTENSION POLICY CHANGE
REQUEST WIDEST POSSIBLE DISSEMINATION
1. EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, THE ROYAL THAI GOVERNMENT (RTG) HAS CHANGED THE POLICY GOVERNING VISAS, VISA EXTENSIONS AND AIRPORT STAMPS. THESE CHANGES MAY IMPACT DOD PRE-DEPLOYMENT PLANNING/PREPARATION FOR VISITS TO THAILAND.
2. CHANGE 1. RTG ADVISES THAT TRAVELERS ENTERING THE KINGDOM OF THAILAND WITH A 30-DAY AIRPORT STAMP WILL NO LONGER BE ALLOWED TO LEGALLY EXTEND THEIR STAY BEYOND 30 DAYS. THIS APPLIES TO ALL VISITORS INCLUDING U.S. GOVERNMENT AND MILITARY TDY PERSONNEL. ANYONE ENTERING THAILAND WHO PLANS TO STAY MORE THAN 30 DAYS MUST ENTER WITH A THAI VISA OF APPROPRIATE DURATION IN THEIR PASSPORTS.
3. CHANGE 2. OVERSTAY FEE INCREASE – EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, THE FINE FOR ILLEGALLY STAYING BEYOND THE END DATE OF A VISA OR AIRPORT STAMP WILL INCREASE FROM 200 TO 500 BAHT PER DAY. NOTE THAT ANYONE OVERSTAYING RISKS BEING ARRESTED AND/OR SUBJECTED TO ADDITIONAL FINES AND PENALTIES.
4. ALTHOUGH VISAS ARE NOT REQUIRED FOR HOLDERS OF U.S. PASSPORTS WHO STAY LESS THAN 30 DAYS, JUSMAGTHAI AND THE U.S. EMBASSY ADVISE TRAVELERS WHOSE VISIT MAY BE EXTENDED BEYOND 30 DAYS TO OBTAIN THE PROPER VISA PRIOR TO TRAVELING TO THAILAND. VISAS MAY BE OBTAINED AT ALL THAI EMBASSIES AND CONSULATE-GENERAL OFFICES.
Visas cannot be obtained in Thailand. They must be obtained from the Thai Embassy in Washington or one of the Thai consulates. (Consult the office that handles your unit’s passport processing to find the location of the consulate closest to you.)
Otherwise, personnel entering Thailand via commercial aircraft will process through Thai Immigration, and receive an AIRPORT ENTRY STAMP (not a visa) in their passports permitting a 30-day stay.
Personnel entering Thailand by military aircraft (mil air) may have the option to obtain an entry stamp depending on arrival airport. Stamp not always advised. See Situation #1 below.
For emergency issue of a US passport to a TDY DoD member, the individual must physically present himself at the JUSMAGTHAI Joint Support Division, along with his ID card and TDY orders. Passports may be obtained in emergency situations in one business day, but two days is standard. Please note that this process is only undertaken for "emergency situations", and as the old saying goes, "Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part", so please plan ahead.
Situation #1: Arrive military aircraft, depart military aircraft.
-- Factors to consider: Although neither a US passport or Thai visa is technically required when entering/leaving Thailand in TDY status via US military aircraft, commanders of deploying personnel should strongly consider deploying personnel with passport (& visa, for deployments over 30 days) in order to expedite unplanned (emergency leave, med-evac, contingency response, etc.) departures via other-than-military aircraft.
-- Process: Unless special prior coordination has been made otherwise, Thai Immigration will not process individuals on entry or exit from the country by military aircraft.
-- Consideration: Some arrival airports, such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Hat Yai are able to obtain airport entry stamps for personnel arriving mil air. Unless Immigration or their representative meets the aircraft and requires you to obtain an entry stamp, recommend NOT getting arrival stamp if departing mil air because getting an arrival stamp means a departure stamp will also be needed, requiring additional pre-departure coordination, and SNAFU potential.
Situation #2: Arrive commercial aircraft, depart commercial aircraft.
-- Factors to consider: Passports absolutely required; members arriving at the airport without passports will not be permitted entry into the country & will be immediately returned to their port of origin.
-- Normal Process: Thai Immigration will make an entry stamp in the individual’s passport upon arrival at the airport, and an exit stamp in the passport upon departure.
-- More than 30 day stay (Visa absolutely required to remain legally in country beyond 30 days ): If the individual will stay in Thailand longer than 30 days, the individual must obtain an appropriate duration Thai visa prior to arrival in country.
Situation #3: Arrive commercial aircraft and depart military aircraft.
-- Factors to consider: Passports (tourist or official) are absolutely required. Members arriving at airport without passports will not be permitted entry into the country & will be immediately returned to their port of origin.
-- Process: Thai Immigration will make a 30 day entry stamp in the individual’s passport upon arrival at airport. Prior to mil air departure, an exit stamp in the passport is required, and must be coordinated in advance through JUSMAGTHAI Joint Support Division.
-- Requirements: individual is required to submit the following:
-- The individual’s passport
-- Copy of TDY orders (or list w/ name, rank, purpose of trip)
-- Itinerary (airline, arrival date/time, projected-departure airport & date/time) - see worksheet
Allow a minimum of seven working days (remember to avoid US and Thai holidays) for processing. The individual/unit will be wholly responsible for transporting the required documents to JUSMAGTHAI and returning them to the individual. The individual may need to be present to process the paperwork (check first).
-- More than 30 day stay (Visa absolutely required to remain legally in country beyond 30 days ): If the individual will stay in Thailand longer than 30 days, the individual must obtain an appropriate duration Thai visa prior to arrival in country
Situation #4: Arrive mil aircraft, depart commercial aircraft.
-- Factors to consider: Passports (tourist or official) are absolutely required; members arriving at the airport for departure, without passports, are subject to detainment by Thai authorities, and will not be permitted to leave the country until proper documentation has been accomplished.
-- Process: Although Thai Immigration will not process the individual on arrival via US military aircraft, an Exit Letter with US Embassy letterhead must be coordinated in advance through the JUSMAGTHAI Joint Support Division. This letter will be hand-carried by the individual through the Immigration line upon departure, and the Immigration officer will then stamp the passport for entry & exit.
Note: individuals in this category should allow more time than normal prior to departure, since delays can occur when waiting for the appropriate Immigration Dept station chief to approve the procedure. Individuals should also be aware that you are likely to be pulled out of the Immigration line to a holding area during this wait.
-- Requirements: The individual will be required to submit the following to the JUSMAGTHAI Joint Support Division:
-- Copy of the individual’s passport (photo page)
-- Copy of TDY orders (or list w/ name, rank, purpose of trip)
-- Itinerary (aircraft type, airport arrival date/time, projected-departure airline, airport & date/time) - see worksheet below
Allow a minimum of one working day (remember to avoid US and Thai holidays) for processing. The individual/unit will be wholly responsible for transporting the required documents to JUSMAGTHAI and returning them to the individual. The individual need not be present to process the paperwork. The same requirements detailed in Situation #2 & 3 above apply for stays in excess of 30 days.
Situation #5: Emergent requirements force you to stay beyond duration of visa/airport stamp.
-- Call your primary in-country POC at JUSMAGTHAI (or other agency if not on a JUSMAGTHAI-related mission), and alert them to this problem as soon as you are aware of it. You should also concurrently accomplish preliminary coordination with your home unit, since you may be required to briefly depart Thailand in order to obtain an appropriate Thai visa outside the country, and/or be required to pay overstay fines.
WORKSHEET FOR THAILAND EXIT LETTER/STAMP
___________________ ____________________ _____________
( FULL LAST NAME) (FULL FIRST NAME) (FULL MIDDLE NAME)
RANK:_______ SERVICE:_______ UNIT/STATION:____________________
IS YOUR PASSPORT - OFFICIAL?____ TOURIST?____
ISSUED WHERE?______________________ ISSUE DATE:________________
- THAILAND ARRIVAL:
ARRIVAL DATE:____________ DID YOU ARRIVE VIA MILITARY AIR?___
COMMERCIAL AIR?___ OTHER SPECIFY): _____________________________
AIRPORT/SEAPORT OF ARRIVAL:_______________________
- THAILAND DEPARTURE:
DEPARTURE DATE:__________ EXPECTED PORT OF DEPARTURE:___________
EXPECTED MEANS: COMMERCIAL AIR?___ MILITARY?___ OTHER?____
- THAILAND VISA:
DO YOU HAVE A THAILAND VISA? ___NO ___YES EXPIRES_____________
HOME UNIT NAME/ADDRESS:_______________________________________
COMMERCIAL TELEPHONE:__________________________ DSN:_________
NAME OF EXERCISE/DEPLOYMENT____________________