Thailand is a wonderful country to visit, and many people who arrive end up wanting to stay for as long as possible. And Thailand is an easy country to stay in the long term, thanks to having modern infrastructure, a warm climate and, of course, the famous Thai welcome.

However, foreigners must be given permission to stay in Thailand, which is the same as any other country. Visitors are granted permission to enter the entry at border checking points like airports and land borders and they are usually given a limited amount of time they can stay in the country. 

If your time runs out and you wish to stay, it’s time for a visa run. A visa run often involves temporarily leaving Thailand to go to a Thai consulate or embassy in another country, while it can also involve crossing the border and returning to gain a new stamp in your passport. 

Border Runs

Border runs are a common way for visitors to extend their stay in Thailand. The process involves travelling to a border, usually by coach or train, and then crossing the border. Cambodia is a popular choice, while other options include Myanmar, Laos, and Malaysia. Which option is best for you usually depends on whereabouts you’re staying in Thailand. 

However, while more convenient than having to fly to another country, this option is not available to everybody. Border runs are available to people who have a valid visa that can be extended by crossing the border and returning for a new stamp. Depending on which visa you have and how many times you have extended it already, your only option might be to visit a Thai Embassy or consulate for a brand-new visa instead. 

Border runs are usually straightforward, even if they can be time-consuming. You can make the process easier by using an agency, many of whom will offer a border run as a complete package. This includes transportation, help with forms and, in some cases, a chance to stop in a restaurant. 

Alternatively, you are free to make all the arrangements yourself, and you will find plenty of information regarding transportation, etc. Regardless of how you choose to do your border run, the whole process, including your return to Thailand, is usually complete within a day. 

Trips to Embassies/Consulates

If your visa has expired and you have no extension options, then you will need to get a new visa to stay in the country. You cannot apply for a new visa in Thailand, which means you must travel to another country to apply at a Thai embassy or consulate. 

Many ex-pats will fly to a nearby country, some will even travel by bus where possible. Popular destinations include Singapore, Laos, Malaysia, Cambodia, and Hong Kong. Of course, some countries are more expensive than other so which option you choose is often down to your budget. 

Note that visa applications are often processed overnight, with you making the application one day and then, hopefully, picking up your new visa the next. Note that if you apply on a Friday or the day before a holiday, you might have to wait a few more days before you can get your visa.

While visa runs can be inconvenient, and potentially costly, many people will choose to make the most of the occasion. For some, a visa run means a chance to spend a few days in another country whether alone or with friends or family. 

The Importance of Visa Runs

The inconvenience and cost involved with visa runs can make it tempting to miss it and just overstay your visa instead, but this is usually not a good idea. While it’s true that you might never get caught, many foreigners in Thailand are caught on overstay and they must then pay the price. 

The price of being caught on overstay varies, mostly depending on how long you have overstayed. Regardless, most people on overstay will find themselves staying at least one night in the Thai immigration detention centre, which is not a pleasant place to be. Some people will find themselves here for weeks or even months as their cases go to court.

Another reason why it’s bad to get caught on overstay is that you will be fined 500 baht for every day overstayed, up to a maximum of 20,000 baht. You might also face a ban from the country, with the length of the ban depending on the length of your overstay.

Travelling is Easy in Thailand

There’s no avoiding the inconvenience and cost of visa runs, and they are necessary for most long-term visitors to Thailand. However, the good news is that Thailand has a modern transport infrastructure that will help make your journey as fast and comfortable as possible.

For example, modern highways help ensure a smooth and quick journey if travelling by road. Buses and coaches are usually reasonably modern and comfortable, while English language signage also helps make it easy to navigate your way around the country. On top of that, Thailand also has several international airports, giving you plenty of options when it comes to flights.


Visa runs are common among people who have lived in Thailand for the long term. They are often considered to be a chore, while others will use them as an opportunity for a well-deserved break. If you are on a tight budget, then land border options are available that are affordable for most people, but such options will only grant an extension rather than give you a new, fresh visa.

Regardless of your travel options, visa runs are an essential part of life for most foreigners living in Thailand long-term. And it’s highly advisable that you avoid going on overstay, especially if you wish to continue living in the country. Many foreigners are caught on overstay every year, and being caught could potentially lead to you being banned from entering the country again in the future. 

If you have any questions regarding visa runs and how to do them, the team at Thai Visa Expert will be delighted to help. Get in touch and we will be more than happy to hear from you. 



45 days Exempt visa stamp is no longer offered which was implemented on October 1st last year 2022 as an effort to help stimulate the Thai Tourism Industry. All the countries that eligible for Exempt Visa stamp will now get only 30 days upon arrival.

For those who want to stay longer for tourism purpose, travelers can also apply for a 60 days Tourist Visa head of time, which is of course, more costly and requires uploading a variety of documents as most embassies have moved to the E-Visa application system.

Either way, the Exempt Visa stamp for 30 days and Tourist Visa for 60 days can extend their stay for another 30 days at the cost of 1900 THB at a local Thai Immigration in Thailand. However, some nationalities may receive extension not more than 7 days on a Tourist Visa (if not eligible for Exempt Visa stamp)