How to apply for tourist visas in Southeast Asian countries

By Hoang Phong   March 11, 2023 | 01:28 am PT
How to apply for tourist visas in Southeast Asian countries
Tourists on Boracay resort island in the Philippines. Photo by Reuters
Southeast Asia is widely known for its rich cultural heritages, pristine island beaches and abundant street food - and each country has its own visa requirements as well.

Here is a tourist visa guide to some popular destinations in the region.


Currently, citizens from 64 countries and territories, including the United States, the United Kingdom, most EU nations and ASEAN countries are eligible for a 45-day visa-free stay upon arrival in Thailand.

There are two ways to obtain a Thai visa: apply for a visa on arrival (VOA), which is limited to citizens of certain countries, or apply for a Thai visa in your country of residence.

Thailand currently allows citizens from 19 countries, including China and India, to apply for a visa on arrival, which permits a stay of up to 30 days in the country. Normally, the fee for a Thai visa on arrival is 2,000 baht (US$60).

Passport holders from countries not eligible for the visa exemption scheme or the visa on arrival program need to apply for a tourist visa at the Thai Embassy or Consulate in their country of residence. The visa fee costs $30 per person. Application forms are available on the Royal Thai Embassy website in each visitor's country.

The required documents include passport or travel document with a validity of not less than six months, a visa application form, one 4x6 centimeter photograph taken within the last six months, a round-trip air ticket or e-ticket, and proof of financial means, 20,000 baht per person.

Overstaying for 90 days or more is a serious offense in Thailand, where offending tourists face deportation or being banned from reentering the country.


Vietnam currently waives visas for travelers from 25 countries, with a maximum stay ranging from 15 to 90 days.

Citizens of Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Kyrgyzstan are offered visa-free stay of 30 days, while tourists from Chile and Panama enjoy a 90-day visa waiver.

Visitors from some European countries, Japan and South Korea, Vietnam's top tourism markets, are permitted to stay in the country for no more than 15 days without applying for a tourist visa.

At present, Vietnam is only offering 30-day single-entry e-visa service for citizens from 80 countries and territories, including major economies such as the United States, India and Australia.

Among the main eligibility conditions for the e-visa are a passport with a six month validity, a .jpg photo of the applicants full passport data page, a .jpg passport photo and a valid international credit or debit card.

In order to apply for the e-visa, the first step is to visit the official website for Vietnam's e-visa application at and complete an online form.

The e-visa is valid for entry at any of 28 international checkpoints in Vietnam, including eight international airports. The e-visa costs $25 per person.


Indonesia offers visa exemptions for tourists from 169 countries and territories including all EU countries, the U.S. and ASEAN member nations. The maximum stay is 30 days.

All visitors must hold a passport valid for six months as well as a valid return ticket. The immigration officer at ports of entry may ask the passengers to produce any necessary documents such as hotel reservations and proof of finances.

If you enter Indonesia under the visa exemption policy, you are not allowed to extend your stay under any circumstances. You must leave the country within 30 days or face a fine of approximately $70 for each day you have overstayed.

If you wish to stay in Indonesia for longer, you should apply for a visa on arrival that is available for 89 countries and territories, including Vietnam.

A visa obtained on arrival costs Rp500,000 ($33), and is valid for a maximum stay of 30 days. Tourists are allowed to extend the visa one time for another 30 days at designated entry points by paying another Rp500,000.


Passport holders from ASEAN countries are eligible for a visa-free stay upon entering Cambodia with the allowed maximum stay depending on nationality.

Citizens from Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Singapore are allowed to stay for a maximum of 30 days while citizens from other countries are allowed 15 days.

For passport holders from countries not eligible for the visa-exemption scheme, they can apply for visa on arrival or via an e-visa service.

Nationals of any country may obtain a visa on arrival for tourism purpose with a visa fee of $30 for a maximum stay of 30 days.

The e-visa service is available for citizens of most countries for $36, which allows for a single entry and a maximum stay of 30 days for tourism purposes.

Overstaying a visa in Cambodia costs around $10 per day.


Citizens from 157 countries, including European countries, the United States, Australia and ASEAN members do not need a visa to enter the Philippines for a maximum stay of 14-59 days.

Only citizens from Brazil and Israel are allowed to stay in the Philippines with a maximum stay of 59 days without applying for a visa.

Those wishing to stay for two months must apply for a single entry visa valid for three months for a fee of $30, and a multiple entry visa valid for six months or 12 months for a fee of $60 or $90 respectively.

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