“What do you mean we overstayed our visa?” We asked the custom officer. “We arrived May 21st, it’s only the 20th of June.” Like a patient teacher, he proceeded to open our passport and showed us the exit date stamped on our passport. “But I thought we had one month. Isn’t one month supposed to be 31 days?
For U.S. citizens, carrying the blue passport has many perks. You can visit many countries without having to apply for a visa in advance. Such as in Thailand, if you arrive by plane you are allowed to stay in Thailand without a visa for 30 days. If coming to Thailand by land you only get 15 days. When you enter the country, your passport is stamped with the exit date you must leave the country by.
I don’t know why we thought one month equals to 31 days. We arrived in Bangkok May 21st and we thought we had until June 21st until our visa ran out. We thought we were pretty smart giving ourselves one day and leaving for Malaysia on the 20th of June.
Well imagine our surprise when we were told by the customs official to go to the office for overstaying our visa. We had to pay a 500 baht fee per person for staying an extra day in Thailand.
What made it worse was that we had no cash with us since we thought we wouldn’t need money anymore. We were wrong. I left Mark at the customs office, while I looked for an ATM. Once we paid the fee, we thought we were clear to go.
But then,they couldn’t find Mark’s arrival paper. When you arrived in Thailand you’re given an arrival form to fill out. It is then stapled to your passport. You CANNOT lose that paper. Well, Mark did. He had to fill out some sort of paper work with the border police.
Finally after several minutes we were finally clear to go. Never thought we would be the unprepared tourist. Luckily the passengers in our van were understanding and sympathetic.
Things to know when traveling to Thailand:
1) Find out the visa requirement for your country.
2) Never lose the arrival paper slip stapled to your passport.
3) Don’t overstay your visa.
4) The fine for each day of overstay is 500 baht.
Photos were taken with Nokia Lumia 800.