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If I show up in Thailand and pick up the 30-day tourist visa upon arrival, do I have to leave the country to apply for the 60-day visa?

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Yes, actual visas are only issued outside Thailand:

As a foreigner, you are required by Thai Immigration Law to initially enter the Kingdom on a Visa if you wish to have a long-term stay in Thailand.

This can be a visa (tourist visa for 60 days or non-immigrant visa for 90 days) issued by a Thai Embassy or Consulate outside of Thailand.

Also note that the tourism visa is 60 days, although it can be extended once in the country to 90 days.

If you want 90 days off the bat, you need to apply for a non-immigrant visa, and that in turn requires proof of business (sponsored by Thai company), education (study in Thailand) or retirement/marriage to a Thai national. See the aptly named thaivisa.com forums for the latest scoop on what this means in practice.

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To clarify, the tourist visa will give you 90 days - on the 59th day, you go to any Immigration office, and pay for a 30-day extension. You can also get a multiple-entry tourist visa. –  hunter2 Jan 24 at 9:53
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I believe there is also still a double-entry option. You have to apply for this one from outside of Thailand, too, but it gives you a second 60-day stay after you cross any border and return to Thailand. I used mine to visit Myanmar for two weeks. –  Jonathan Landrum Jan 24 at 17:03

protected by Mark Mayo Feb 14 at 3:05

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