Bangkok Don Mueang Airport (DMK) is well connected by direct flights to various domestic and international destinations. Through this airport you can reach Bangkok not only from all Southeast Asian countries but also from more distant destinations such as China, India and Maldives. This makes getting Thai Visa on Arrival at Bangkok Don Mueang Airport quite a popular choice between tourists.
As you might already know, Bangkok Don Mueang Airport is one of Thailand’s Immigration Checkpoints with the facilities for issuance of Thai Visa on Arrival. Other international airports, harbours and land border crossings issuing Thai Visa on Arrival can be found here – Immigration Checkpoints issuing Visa on Arrival.
If your nationality lets you enter Thailand on Free visa-exempt stay or you’ve got a Single Entry Tourist Visa / Multiple Entry Tourist Visa in advance from Thai embassy or consulate, you should proceed directly to the immigration – Visa on Arrival is not for you. Just don’t forget to fill Thailand Arrival Card and bring it with you before heading to passport control! Thailand Immigration control procedure at the airport is briefly described here: Thailand Immigration Control Procedure for Foreigners.
However, if you’re a citizen of India, China or one of the other countries eligible to obtain Thai Visa on Arrival and decided to use this type of Thailand Visa for entering the country through Bangkok Don Mueang Airport, you need to walk a little bit further and get your Thai Visa on Arrival at Visa on Arrival counters.
The queues and waiting time at Bangkok Don Mueang Airport’s Visa on Arrival counters are unpredictable and the staffs here seem to be overly strict so you should save your time and prepare all the documents in advance.
Documents required for getting Thai Visa on Arrival
When applying for Thai Visa on Arrival at Bangkok Don Mueang Airport you will need:
- Passport - must be valid for at least 30 days
- Return or onward journey ticket - ticket for getting out from Thailand within the next 15 days (get a really good flight deal for your trip to Thailand here: Cheap Flight Deals)
- Photo - one passport size (4 x 6 cm) photo not older than 6 months (can be done at the airport for 200 THB)
- Visa on Arrival application form
- Thailand Arrival Card
- Visa on Arrival fee - 2,000 THB that must be paid in cash and Thai currency only (read the things you need to know about Currency exchange at Don Mueang Airport)
- Address in Thailand – the address of hotel or apartment Thailand and booking confirmation must be presented (at Bangkok Don Mueang Airport they even started asking to show booking confirmations for every night you are going to spend in Thailand so be prepared and book your hotel on Booking.com, Agoda)
- A proof of appropriate means of living - at least 10,000 THB per person or equivalent amount of cash in any other currency (didn’t see anyone to be asked for it during our last visit but better be ready as you can never know with Thai Immigration at Don Mueang Airport as the staffs here seem to be inappropriate lately)
How to get Thai Visa on Arrival at Bangkok Don Mueang Airport
Location of Visa on Arrival counters
Once you arrive at Bangkok Don Mueang Airport (DMK), follow the signs leading to “Visa on Arrival”. The signs are big and clear so you will definitely not miss them.
Currency exchange for Visa on Arrival fee
Visa on Arrival fee - 2,000 THB that must be paid in cash and Thai currency only
On the way to Visa on Arrival counters you will see currency exchange booths of 3 banks. If you don’t have enough Thai Currency (Thai baht) for paying Visa on Arrival fee, you should exchange your currency here.
However, currency exchange rates at Don Mueang Airport are really bad so we wouldn’t recommend exchanging here more than you need for paying the visa fee and spending on your first night in Bangkok as there are much better currency exchange rates all around Bangkok.
Photo for Visa on Arrival application
For the forgetful ones there is an ID photo express service on the way to Visa on Arrival counters where you can get your photo for Visa on Arrival application in a few minutes for 200 THB.
Procedure of getting Visa on Arrival
Plenty of changes were made at Bangkok Don Mueang Airport’s Visa on Arrival counters recently but the only good change we noticed is separate lines for group tours and individual travellers. At least you won’t be stuck behind a number of Chinese tour groups.
Everything else made us think that people willing to use Thai Visa on Arrival service at Bangkok Don Mueang Airport are not really welcome to Thailand.
They even have the procedure of Thai Visa on Arrival displayed here but don’t expect the officers here to work according to it as they change the rules and requirements much faster than posters.
As you can see on the poster, estimated execution time of Visa on Arrival is just 3 minutes/person. That’s a joke!
Visa on Arrival document check
If you feel that you have all your documents ready, line up in the queue. This queue will lead you to 2 document check counters. Don’t expect both of them to be open, unless there will be a really long queue. Literally you just waste your time waiting in the queue for someone to check your documents.
You need to present all the required documents and even visa fee money for checking at the document check counter. They put some stamp on the form and give you to sign it. If everything is ok, they will return you all documents, money and issue a queue number.
However, you might be surprised that not all your documents are ok even if you prepared them according to all official lists of required documents for Thai Visa on Arrival. At the time of our visit at Bangkok Don Mueang Airport, about half of people waiting in front of us were refused Visa on Arrival by the officer pointing to some paper on the desk and were offered to use Wi-Fi (at least there’s a complimentary Wi-Fi at Visa on Arrival).
It turned out that they just printed out some paper writing that you need to provide booking confirmations for every day of your visit to Thailand. No, you won’t see this information anywhere else, just on the officer’s desk. The list of documents displayed on the front of the counter doesn’t include this requirement. The big poster presenting the procedure of Visa on Arrival doesn’t even mention checking of hotel booking confirmations. How can you know? No one knows, but at least now you will be warned.
You might be lucky and escape this illogical requirement of booking all hotels in advance but if you won’t, just connect to Wi-Fi, book any hotel on Booking.com and present them the booking confirmation.
Getting your Visa on Arrival
Then you can proceed to Visa on Arrival counters. When only one person is checking documents and it’s taking really long, at the time you get your documents back you can expect to hear your number being announced. There are normally more officers at Visa on Arrival counters who just print receipts and stamp passports so you should get your visa right away.
After getting your Thai Visa on Arrival proceed to the immigration (there are separate passport control counters for Visa on Arrival), present your passport and Arrival Card to the officer, get your passport stamped and you will be allowed to enter the country.
New E-Visa Thailand
There is also a new e-Visa Thailand online application system for Thailand Visa on Arrival being implemented at the moment. This way of application is also available at Bangkok Don Mueang Airport. More info about the new online application system can be found here: E-Visa Thailand (E-VoA).
Detailed information about how to how to apply for e-Visa Thailand and how to fill in e-Visa application form correctly can be found here: Thailand eVisa Application: How to Apply for Thai eVisa.
This e-Visa Thailand system seems to have failed to live up expectations and the new Thailand eVisa on Arrival system was launched but it hardly improved the situation. More info: New Thailand eVisa on Arrival (eVOA) by VFS Global.
Detailed information about other facilities at the airport can be found here: Bangkok Don Mueang International Airport (DMK)
You should also check:
Finally, you’re in Thailand!
Check our Frequently Asked Questions about Thailand Visa on Arrival and ask your own question if it's not answered there yet.