In order to visit Thailand, all you need is a current Passport. A Visa is not required. Upon enter in the county, you are automatically issued a 30 days Tourist Visa. If you wish to stay longer, there are 2 options.
1) Apply to the Thai Counsel in Los Angeles or Washington, DC for a 90 day extended stay Visa. Cost is around $200 you can obtain more info at this link. http://thaiconsulatela.org/service_visa.aspx
2) Visa Run - Many countries are nearby (Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore, etc). You can simply leave the county for a for hours only and when you return back to Thailand, you will be re-stamped for at least another 14 days.
A word of WARNING: DO NOT OVERSTAY YOUR VISA!
The Penalties are severe with fines and possible prison time. And trust me, you never want to spend time in a Thai Prison for any length of time.
Entry into Thailand
by Airplane - you are granted a 30 day visa
bus, car, train or ship - you are granted a 15 day visa
Upon Entry @ BKK airport: You will enter via immigration Police checkpoint. They will take your entry card (given out on the plane) and staple it into your passport. DON'T LOOSE THIS CARD! You will need it for your exit out of the country! There is NO exit Tax to Pay.
VAT REFUND - Want to buy gifts and bring them home? If you shop at a VAT Refund store, you are entitled to collect the sales taxes (7%) paid upon your exit from Thailand. But the procedure is a little involved. Here are the steps.
1) Purchase any items at a Vat store in excess of 2500 THB
2) Have the merchant fill out a VAT Refund Form (P.P. 10)
3) Staple the receipt to the form.
4) At the airport, BEFORE you check your bags, head over to the VAT refund station and bring them all the forms. They may want to inspect the purchases. They will then STAMP the form.
5) Check in with the airlines and check your bags.
6) Once you pass immigration, inside of the terminal corridor, locate the VAT REFUND station. Show them all of the stamped forms. They will refund you the Taxes paid on your purchases.
If you fail to complete ANY of these steps, your refund will NOT be honored.
After you have visited Thailand and are thinking of retiring there, you can apply for a retirement Visa. Please contact me to discuss this option.