Thai Visa Restrictions Cause Difficulties for Foreigners in Laos
The new Thai visa restriction is creating difficulties for many foreigners living in Laos, who rely on medical and commercial services across the border.
As a reminder, here’s what has been issued by the Royal Thai Embassy in Vientiane stipulates the following three points:
“1. From 1 December 2016 – 28 February 2017, foreigners of all nationalities could submit application for a Single Entry (60 days) Tourist Visa to Thailand without visa fee at the Consular Section of the Royal Thai Embassy.
2. Foreigners who work or reside permanently in the Lao PDR are eligble for applying for the Multiple Entries Tourist Visa (METV) to Thailand. METV costs 5,000 baht, valid for 6 months and foreigners would be able to stay in Thailand up to 60 days per journey. Rules and regulations apply.
3. For those nationalities that are currently under the the 30 day visa waiving scheme, 2 journeys to Thailand per calendar year would be granted under the scheme through any international land boundary checkpoint to Thailand. Please inquire with immigration officers at the checkpoint for further information.”
The Thai Consulate in Vientiane confirmed to J&C Services that the new Visa restrictions do not apply for Lao and Malaysian citizens. They could not provide any information on Vietnamese or Philippines nationals.
How To Apply For 6-Month Multiple Entry Thai Visa
This week J&C Services went to the Thai Consulate in Vientiane to find out more about the 6-Month Multiple Entry Tourist Visa with the following result:
The Thai Consulate in Vientiane confirms that foreigners who work or reside permanently in the Lao PDR are eligble for applying for the Multiple Entries Tourist Visa (METV) to Thailand.
These are the documents required:
- Applicant’s passport with at least 6 months validity
- Copy of applicants passport
- Copy passport of the page with the last entry stamp to Laos
- Two 3.5 x 4.5 cm photographs of the applicant. The photographs’ background must be in white color.
- Fill in the embassy’s visa application form. Visa application form (Sept 2017) can be downloaded here.
- Copy of applicant’s Lao business visa, stay and work permit.
- Confirmation of employment letter issued by the applicant’s employer in Laos.
- Statement of the applicant’s bank account with at least Baht 200’000 or equivalent in major currencies.
- For families:
- one application form for each member
- each member will get a visa
- all family members must be present when applying
- no family discount, Baht 5’000 per visa
- bank account with at least Baht 200’000 or equivalent in major currencies is accepted (covering entire family)
- For married couples: bank account with at least Baht 200’000 or equivalent in major currencies is accepted (covering both), provide copy of marriage certificate
- Bank accounts in Kip are accepted
- Bank accounts should be located in Laos (in some cases worldwide with easy withdrawal access has been accepted)
- Statements printed from Internet-banking are evaluated on case to case base, provide good and clear copies.
- the 6 month multi entry visa will be issued until the date of the applicant’s stay permit in Laos. For example, applicant’s with only 3 months left will get 3 month multi entry visa, the visa fee remains unchanged at THB 5’000
- Clearly mark on the visa application form that you want a 6-Month Multiple Entry Tourist Visa, otherwise you may end up getting a single-entry tourist visa.
- The Thai Consulate insists on the applicant providing a contact address in Thailand, for Expats living in Laos you may write “Central Plaza Shopping, 277 / 1-3 Prajak Sillapakom, Udon Thani”, which was accepted in our case. 🙂
How to submit the visa application:
- Visa applicant are required to present themselves at the Thai Consular Section (map / location).
- A queue number is distributed from 8.30 am –11.30 am of every working day. Once the queue number is received, place the completed visa application form with additional document in to a basket provided at the Consular Section.
- Passport with visa is distributed only in the afternoon on the next working day from 01.30 p.m. – 04.00 p.m. The applicants are called by queue number order.
- Visa fee is paid on the day of submission.
- Visa fee can be paid only in Thai Baht (Baht 5’000 for the METV)
- If the passport is not collected on appointed time, the visa will be cancelled.
- Be patient … you may wait several hours to receive the queue number
- The waiting area is outdoor and it can get very hot .. make sure you have enough water with you (and a full battery if you like to play with your phone)
- On the next day when collecting the passport, be aware that the applicants are called in the order of the queue number, so no. 1 will start at 1.30pm etc. In our case, we had queue number 540, so we were called sometime after 4pm 🙂
- Fridays are the best days, as tourists prefer to pick up the next day and don’t want to wait until Monday 🙂
- Choose clothing that’s respectful of the local culture