If you’re headed to Thailand after Cambodia, you won’t necessarily need to get a visa in advance. Thailand offers a 30-day visa-free stay for 56 nationalities that can be extended once for an additional 30 days for 1,900 baht, which is about $60. If you’d like to stay longer, or if you’ve already entered Thailand a few times, you’ll need to get a visa for Thailand in Cambodia.
How to get a visa for Thailand in Cambodia
If you are planning to get a visa for Thailand while you’re in Cambodia, there are two ways to do it. If it is your first Thai visa, you can take you passport to any local travel agent in Phnom Penh and they can get it for you. Most Cambodian travel agents will not deal with customers with multiple visas who may be trying to live in Thailand illegally. If you are thinking of trying Cambodia for a visa run from Thailand, know that the Phnom Penh embassy has a reputation for being quite strict.
If you get your visa directly from the Thai Embassy, it’s possible to get a 60-day tourist visa for Thailand in Phnom Penh for most nationalities, including Americans, Irish, British and Australians. Generally the visas issued are single entry, but some have reported getting double entry visas. Application forms are available online or at the embassy and you’ll need to supply a passport photo, but they can be obtained easily for $2 or less in Cambodia. With your application you’ll be asked to supply your proposed address in Thailand, your date and means of arrival, and proof of onward travel. You may also be asked to show evidence of financial savings of 20,000 baht per person or 40,000 baht per family, but a bank statement will suffice.
The visa takes three business days and costs $40 (remember that the embassy is closed for both Cambodian and Thai national holidays, and there are a lot of them). If you do not have the above information, particularly proof of onward travel, they will not issue you a visa. Those with multiple visas may also be asked for additional proof that they are traveling for the purpose of tourism and intend to return to their home country.
If you’d like to use a travel agent instead, one recommended agent is Cina Travel in Phnom Penh. The cost is $55, and you’ll need to deliver it before 10 a.m. to get it back in three days (because they need to get it to the embassy by 11 a.m.). They will only be able to get visas for those who have not had multiple previous Thai visas. You’ll need to bring proof of a hotel booking in Thailand, evidence of a flight out of Thailand to show you aren’t planning on staying, three months of bank statements, and a 4x6cm photo with a white background.
Also, citizens of certain countries including Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and any country in Africa, will additionally need to prove that they have the right to live and work in Cambodia and show a copy of their work permit, employment letter, and a copy of business registration and tax patent of the company they work for.
In other words: Cambodia is not the place to get a visa if you are trying to live in Thailand illegally.
If you’re in Siem Reap, you will need to go to Phnom Penh for a visa. We checked with expat favorite travel agent, Sopheak Na Travel, and she explained that they no longer handle Thai visas for customers, and that people must apply themselves at the embassy. It’s possible other travel agents in Siem Reap may be willing to get a Thai visa for you, but it’s probably safer to just go to the embassy yourself.
Cambodian citizens get a 14-day visa-free exemption if they are traveling by air or plane.
Things to know about crossing the border from Cambodia to Thailand
There are a few things that are important to know about going from Cambodia to Thailand. First, you can only cross overland (ie. by road rather than by plane) twice per year using the visa-free exemption mentioned above. They are very strict about this, and if you have more than two stamps in your passport, you will not be allowed to enter the country. If you have already crossed overland twice, you will need to go to the embassy and get a visa, or it may be easier and cheaper just to fly. You can enter Cambodia through the airport up to 6 times on a visa-free exemption.
There’s also a requirement that has long been on the books but has started being enforced more regularly, particularly at land crossings. It states that you need to have a passport with at least 6 month’s validity, proof of onward travel, and “adequate finances equivalent to at least 10,000 Baht per person or 20,000 Baht per family.” Although it is not specified that cash in hand is required (a credit card with a 10,000 baht limit should theoretically suffice) this is one way that they stop people from entering that they don’t want to enter.
I was once stopped at the Thai border at Poipet/Aranyaprathet and held for an hour with an officer who didn’t speak much English and kept shouting “pocket money! pocket money!” at me over and over. I was unaware of the requirements to enter, and sat there confused, having no idea what they wanted from me. When I finally pulled all of the cash I had on hand out of my purse, I was eventually allowed to enter (and they let me keep all of it).
It’s important to note that the current Thai government is cracking down on expats who are attempting to live in Thailand using successive tourist visas. If you are attempting to do a visa run or live in Thailand illegally, be prepared to be hassled at the border and potentially turned away.
For more details about Thai visas, check out Travelfish. I’m not going into every last detail here because this post is focused on visa issues for those traveling from Cambodia, but not Thai visa issues in general, which are covered on Travelfish.
Royal Thai Embassy, Phnom Penh
Hours for visa applications: 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Hours for visa collection: 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
196 Norodom Blvd, Phnom Penh
T: 023 726 306
129Eo Street 130, Psar Cha, Daun Penh, Phnom Penh
T: 023 998 775; 023 998 774