Thai Embassies in Asia
In the post on this site about Nong Khai and Friendship bridge border with Laos, you can already read some info about Thai visa application. In this post more extended info about the Thai embassy in Vientiane and the visa application itself. Not related to the border crossing because you might opt for a longer travel to Cambodia and/or Vietnam or you take a flight back to Thailand.
Thai embassies in Asia. Go to the one in Kathmandu and you won’t be able to get a Thai visa when you are on a tourist visa in Nepal and don’t have previous Thai visa’s in your passport. Go to the Thai embassy in Hanoi and they probably ask you about your financial situation or statement. While in Ho Chi Minh City they don’t ask for it. In places like Kuala Lumpur or Penang in Malaysia, they only take a maximum of 50 or 100 applications per day. The application forms cannot be downloaded at all embassies websites. There are different rules, requirements and application forms beside the different prices charged per country.
Visa application in Vientiane
The Thai embassy visa consular in Vientiane is the most chaotic and out of control one you will experience in Asia. The building has a big gate, but you can only enter through a small part which is cordoned with plastic that leads you straight in queue for visa application section. Here starts immediately the confusion. On a single day they receive between 150 and 600 applicants. When you’re not already there 30-60 minutes before opening time, you will end up in the queue with confusion about where to get the form, if you need to be in queue for that too, or that you can pass the line for that?
When you have your forms completed with you in line, you cannot do anything else than just follow the guys in front of you. There are about 6 to 8 rows of seats with around 23 seats per row. Once you reach the seats, you can rest at least. Just move another few seats every now ‘n then untill the last row. The line to the table has no seats available. This might sound all relaxed but there are only hanging 4 or 5 fans over that space. It’s gonna be hot and humid for you. An impression video can be seen here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcwGgQ8TxH0&feature=youtu.be
In the afternoons it’s pick up time and you don’t go through the seat moving thing. Just look at which number they are. If that’s not around 20 numbers from yours, just pick a seat and wait. Get yourself in line for the counter when the number seen and mentioned is about 10 from your number. If you have number 496 and that’s the number you get to see and hear, don’t get to the counter, you won’t be helped. It’s only the time that you should be joining the line of people already waiting for the counter.
The visa application itself can be tricky. Outside there are plenty of guys on and around tables who try to make some money by offering a possibility to get your copies there and the application form there, which you can fill yourself at the table. This could mean that you are faster at the queue. As you don’t have to wait or walk to that table and ask them for a form, which you then fill, but who knows how many are in front of you for the same table to fill their forms. So, for a 100 baht ($3) they make outside on the sidewalks all copies you need and you fill the visa application form and get in queue.
The tricky part…. The embassy wants to get rid of the guys outside with their business. Therefore, later on in the queue you will start seeing the pamphlets on pillars not to pay anyone more in front of the line for handing in your application, as they won’t be accepted and pamphlets about applications from outside. The forms from the embassy and from outside are identical (as per May ’18). Still the employees do send applicants away to fill in a form again at the table nearby.
How they see it? Could be the way of writing, the passport size photos even the glue for the photos, or a number on the form. Many ways for them. Sometimes they might even guess. Sure, many get away with it, but some not. The extra saved time you thought you made, will be wasted at the end again. Okay, you don’t have to get at the back of the line again in this case, after filling a form again.
Copies & Visa Run
What copies do you need? In this post we’re talking about 60 days single entry tourist visa only. You need the filled application form, not downloadable on internet, valid for the Thai Vientiane embassy. You need a copy of your passport page with pic and personal data. A copy of your Laos visa plus stamp is required too. Two passport size photos. A signature on each of your copies is required. Note that in this embassy they do not ask copies of bank statement. No copy of a plane ticket out of Thailand either. Something mandatory at all other embassies. The big advantage of getting your Thai visa here. Plus the 1000 baht only (only to be paid in THB), which is cheaper than at other embassies.
Why up to 600 applicants per day? Most of the applicants are foreigners living in Thailand, doing the visa run. This means they are living on a tourist visa in Thailand and therefore need to leave the country every 90 days to apply for a new 60 day visa. The backpackers ‘doing’ southeast Asia make the number complete. There is no difference for both groups in application form and the process of queuing. It’s unclear if there is a maximum number they allow per day. There are set times for applying and picking up of visa.
Take your time
To give you a time indication. Around 9.40 am (opening at 8.30) you can have on a bad day number 500 and will reach the table to hand over your forms around 11.40. Two hours in queue. Picking up opens at 1.30 pm. When you arrive at 2.30 pm (in case you have number 500 or so) they have done around 300 in one hour. It takes nearly one more hour for you to be your turn. When you need to apply at this embassy, be prepared for a chaotic long time. There is a small place in the garden where you can buy water and some more.