For US (and Canadian) citizens, you do not need a visa to visit Thailand if you are staying less than 30 days. All you need is a valid US passport that will not expire within 6 months of the planned departure date. If you are planning on staying more than 30 days, you will need a visa, most likely a tourist visa. A tourist visa is good for 60 days, and can be extended twice for an additional 30 days for a 1,900 THB fee (approximately $60 US).
Now, if you are planning on staying in Thailand but are not going to stay in Thailand for the entire time, you don’t necessarily have to have a visa. If you leave the country prior to your 30 day limit (for example, depart for Cambodia on the 28th day), get an exit stamp on your passport, and return to Thailand, even on the same day, you are good for another 30 days in Thailand. In fact, many ex-pats in Thailand make a “visa run” to the Cambodian border every month to renew their 30 days in Thailand. So, if you are planning on staying in Thailand beyond 30 days and not going to cross an international border, you need to get a visa. But if your travel plans include going somewhere else within 30 days, you may not need one. Please check with me if you want to be certain.
One other issue: if you get a tourist visa, and decide to leave Thailand, your tourist visa immediately expires. When you return to Thailand, you are good for 30 days, like everyone else. So if you are planning on leaving before 30 days and returning, there really isn’t a reason to get a tourist visa. Again, check with me to confirm if you need a visa or not.
If you need a visa, we are lucky to have an honorary consulate here in the Salt Lake Valley. To obtain one, you need a valid US passport, $40, and a completed application. Details are on the consulate website. Please keep in mind that the visa is good for 90 days from the date of issue. In other words, don’t get the visa until 90 days before May 4, when we arrive in Bangkok. Wait until late February or March to get your visa.
Here are some helpful websites: