Tourists wishing to visit Koh Chang and Thailand have a number of options when it comes to visas. These range from the visa-exempt entry permit available at entry points to Thailand through to non-immigrant visas which allow people to apply for retirement visas and residency.
Visa-Exempt Entry for Koh Chang
Visitors from certain countries arriving on an international flight at a Thai airport and requesting a visa-exempt entry will be granted a 30-day permit to stay. Some airlines may require passengers flying to Thailand without a visa in their passports to show proof on onward travel to a third country within the 30-day period.
Since late 2008, citizens from these same nations will only be given a 15-day entry visa if they arrive at a land border crossing from one of Thailand’s neighbouring countries.
Citizens from the following European countries may apply for visas to enter on arrival –Austria, Belgium, France, Monaco, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Greece, Ireland, the UK, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.
Other countries whose nationals are allowed visa-exempt entry are Australia, Brazil, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Oman, Peru, the Philippines, Qatar, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the US and Vietnam.
All other visitors need to obtain a travel visa to enter Thailand from a Thai embassy or consulate outside Thailand.
60-Day Tourist Visa for Koh Chang
The second option for tourists is to ask for a tourist visa at a Thai embassy or consulate. Most Western capital cities have Thai diplomatic missions with a visa section. The nearest one to Koh Chang is located in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh. People who have tourist visas in their passports will be granted a 60-day permit to stay when they arrive at an entry point for Thailand.
The cost of this visa is usually payable in the country’s own currency and is the equivalent of 1,000 Baht. Some consulates and embassies will issue double or triple entry tourist visas, which then require tourists to stamp out of Thailand and into another country every 60 days.
Non-Immigrant Koh Chang Visas
Those wishing to stay longer can, providing that they meet requirements and have supporting documentation, request a non-immigrant visa. These are best applied for in an applicant’s home country as many Thai consulates and embassies will not issue them to people without residency in the application country.
Tourists with this kind of visa are admitted into Thailand for 90 days at any official crossing. A non-immigrant visa costs the equivalent of 2,000 Baht for a single entry and 5,000 for a multiple entry.
The multiple is valid for one year from date of issue and people making the last entry just prior to expiry are able to stretch this visa out to almost 15 months with trips to a border every 90 days.
There are different kinds of non-immigrant visas and they are issued for purposes as detailed below.
Type B: for employment or conducting a business.
ED: people taking educational courses
Type M: is issued to accredited press representatives.
Type O: for people supporting family in Thailand or retired and over 50.
IM: business people who have satisfied Board of Investment requirements.
Visa staff at the issuing offices require supporting documentation for non-immigrant visa applications. The only exception to the rule is usually people over 50 applying in their home countries.
Koh Chang visa Extensions
Visa-exempt entries can be extended for an additional seven days, while tourist visas can be extended for 30 days. Those with non-immigrant visas can get one year extensions by showing evidence of 400,000 Baht in a Thai bank account if they are married. This amount increases to 800,000 Baht for retirement extensions. Extensions can be applied for at Immigration Department offices in Thailand and cost 1,900 Baht.