Nov 07 2012

How to get a Thai visa in Vientiane

Published by at 5:53 am under Practicalities


If you find yourself in Laos and are planning on heading to neighbouring Thailand, what you should do will depend on how long you plan to stay in Thailand. You can get 15 days visa-free in Thailand on arrival by filling out a simple form at your port of entry; no trip to the consular section of the Thai embassy in Vientiane is required.

The Thai consular affairs section before the morning rush.

Once in Thailand, however, you will only be able to extend your stay in-country by seven days (meaning a trip to Immigration); then you will have to return to Laos, or another nearby country, to re-enter or get a visa — so plan your time ahead. This lack of spontaneity may dampen the romantic spirit of the more adventurous traveller, but it’s a small sacrifice to make.

Head to the consular section of the Thai embassyat a different location to the main embassy, and commonly called the consulate — where you can get a 30-day transit visa for 800 baht, a 60-day tourist visa for 1,000 baht, a double-entry tourist visa for 2,000 baht, which is good for 60 days per entry, or a 90-day non-immigration visa for 2,000 baht. These are all single-entry visas. They also offer a multiple-entry 90-day non-immigration visa at 5,000 baht. You’ll need the appropriate paperwork, so do check their website; tourists will generally be seeking the 30-day or 60-day visa as for non-immigration visas you need a company letter. Both single and double-entry tourist visas can be extended by 30 days at immigration in Thailand.

The application form must be submitted between 08:30 and 12:00 and will be ready to collect on the next working day between 13:00 and 15:00. Download application forms here. The queues at 08:00 are tremendous, but getting there early can save an hour or two; if you don’t want to wait outside however, get there a little later. It’s possible the queues will have diminished by then but that hasn’t been our experience.

The consular section of the embassy is located at 15 Bourichane Road in Ban Ponesinuan. If you’re taking a tuk tuk, it’s best to ask for the neighboring institution, the Lao Singapore College (LA-o SEENG-ga-PAHW kaw-LEHD), mention ‘Thai vi-SAH’ and most drivers should know where to take you. Hope to pay 20,000-30,000 kip from downtown near Nam Phu, and around 15,000 kip from the Khua Din Central bus station.

Remember your passport must be valid for at least six months, and to include a photocopy of your passport as well as two passport-sized photos with your application. There are several places around town to get photos taken, including just outside the consular section. A number of photo shops are near the bus station too — six photos cost around 25,000 kip. Your photos will be ready in about five minutes and include a routine Photoshop touch-up, lightening your skin to the hue of a shiny pearl.

If it isn’t sweltering hot or pouring rain, the most convenient mode of transport to get your visa is probably a rented bicycle. From central Vientiane, ride down Setthathilath Road and turn left at the end of the Royal Palace onto Mahosot Road. This turns into Nongbone Road at the next corner by Khua Din bus station. Continue down Nongbone, past Dong Palane Road and make a right at the next traffic light by the big red, white and blue bank on the corner. Head over the small stinky canal and make your next left at Lao Singapore College.

You’ll know you’re in the right place when you find yourself surrounded by Korean restaurants; after submitting your application, try out some tasty Korean food at Seoul. Or if you fancy a pedal around town, go back to Nongbone Road, where signs will direct you to Patuxai and That Luang.

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6 responses so far

6 Responses to “How to get a Thai visa in Vientiane”

  1. Traceyon 07 Nov 2012 at 7:15 pm

    How long does the double entry visa last for? i.e. can you go into thailand for 60 days come back out and go to other countries, then go back in maybe 4/5 months later?

  2. Ivanaon 08 Nov 2012 at 3:04 pm

    Hi Tracey,
    A 60-day visa is valid from the date of entry, not from the date it’s been issued. It is valid for 60 consecutive days, so if you leave for 4/5 months you’ll need to get a new Thai visa before returning.
    Happy Travels.

  3. Kevinon 23 Apr 2013 at 9:27 am

    Just a warning about a group of guys taking advantage of tourists not knowing the ropes right across the street from the Thai consulate in Vientiane. They set up under a couple tents. When walking to the consulate, they greeted me and asked if I was applying for a Thai visa. I said yes and they sat me down. I thought it was the first step in getting the visa. They filled out the visa form for me, photocopied my visa and pasted my 2 passport photos on the visa form. I was then asked if I wanted to have them take care of the visa process for me since they said there was a large queue inside of the consulate and that I may not get in today. They also promised my visa the next day. They wanted 3000 Baht, 3 times the cost of the visa. I refused. He asked for 50000 kip for filling out my form, and wouldn’t budge (you can do this inside while waiting)

    There was a large queue of people inside, but it only took an hour to complete the process. Visas can be picked up the next day from the consulate.
    The last thing that the guys got me on was when I changed USD to Baht through them. I didn’t know the exchange rate and they took full advantage of this. They are good at what they do, calling in other guys when needed to throw in convincing lies. Exchange somewhere else.

    Been traveling for 6 months now, and this is the first time where I have felt downright mad about being ripped off. They got me for 16 USD. But I know, a little extra knowledge goes a long way. I do take some of the blame.

    You can see these guys sorting through their wads of cash at the concrete table across from the consulate at about 2pm.

  4. Ivanaon 24 Apr 2013 at 1:44 am

    Kevin,

    Thank you for issuing this warning. I should have mentioned in the blog that using the services of the guys lingering outside the embassy is only recommended for getting a tuk tuk. Nothing else.

    If you are ever in a situation where you are going to give someone your passport or pay for paperwork, like a visa, I’d highly recommend always checking the procedure first on a travel website or with a travel guide, so you know what you’re supposed to do and so your most valuable possessions don’t end up in the hands of the wrong people.

    Happy Trails

    Ivana

  5. Forex Tauruson 28 Oct 2013 at 3:22 am

    Careful with people outside embassy trying to sell you services like photocopy, application etc. Photocopy service onsite upstairs. Pictures you can buy next door at mini mart. Everything in Baht.

    Also careful mentioning Singapore Business College to tuk tuk driver. They think singapore embassy. Best to have your phone with map and gps to make sure they go the right way. Tuk tuk driver wont read map…

    Queue is long. Bring a book or have your phone charged. Refreshments st reasonable prices next door mini mart.

  6. Steve Sturgeson 21 May 2014 at 5:01 am

    G’Day .. I went through the visa process yesterday, I got there at 8, and there was no great queue, maybe 25 more stacked up behind me but I was around tenth in line. it was bloody hot! Take a brolly or wear a hat and have some water handy.. After you get through the gate, head to the building on the right where the outside seating is, and head up to the front and get your number from the lady there..
    Luckily when I was getting my long term hire for the motorbike in CM, the chap asked me for a copy of my passport, and so I ran off some extra copies.. BUT they Embassy wants to see more, exit stamps and Laos visa label I think, or was it the old Thai label, the ladies at the wicket will tell you and you can dash upstairs and run off the pages, for ten baht. It’s good too that when the numbers are called to go to the wicket, it’s in small groups so if you have to run upstairs, the lady will hang around and wait for you. Also, if you didn’t download the application form, there are plenty there, along with pots of glue at the tables where you can fill out the form.. You’ll have plenty of time to nut out the form.
    Yes, and a big Boo to those guys outside the Embassy, they tried to tout me and I just ignored them, I did see they had quite a few passports sitting on their card table, brave souls who would leave their passports behind… Without it, you’re stuffed, remember that!
    Otherwise, I only got asked if I wanted a single or double entry from the lady, and when satisfied with the application, I was given the same number I was handed when I first walked in and walked over to the nice cool main building and took a much needed rest and cool down.. after maybe 20 minutes, my number was called along with some others to proceed to the wicket and part with your 1000 baht, you then get a nice receipt and that’s it.. either stay there and cool down some more or buzz off… too easy! I now have my nice new label and am heading back to Udon..
    BTW, I saw when I left around 9:30 or so, there wasn’t anybody at theoutside seating, whether it was a slow day, it was Monday and I figured a bit of a rush, or getting to off season.. Regardless, if you have nothing to hide it’s a painless process.. Plus, I’m going to plug the Douang Pra Seuth hotel, it’s virtually across the road from the Embassy, there’s a nice coffee shop there to Sinouk cafe, that’s across from the hotel. The hotel is a bit old but cheap n nasty for the visa run…. Bugger all else around the area, but ..

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