Nov 28 2011

Getting a Chinese visa in Bangkok

Published by at 2:42 pm under Visas

In a fantastic departure from the way that nationalism (as a concept of nationhood, not a political system) was traditionally explained, Benedict Anderson posited that nations are nations because we, collectively, decided to believe in them as nations. It’s easy to see the logic in that as you travel around Southeast Asia. While the ethnic differences between the Karen people from Burma and eastern Indonesian islanders are easy to spot, what exactly makes northern Thais and Laotians separate people? Or Malays and Sumatrans? The difference is that it was decided they were one or the other, and so they are.

SE Asia? Well, not technically. Yunnan Province, China.

Southeast Asia? Well, not technically. Yunnan province, China.

Southeast Asia’s northern border bumps into China, but Southeast Asia doesn’t really stop there. Take one look at the food, architecture, and language of people living in Yunnan or Guangxi and you’ll see reflections of their southern neighbors. It’s also a good opportunity to read Benedict Anderson’s book, Imagined Communities, as many of his examples are about the region.

To explore the “imagined” China part of Southeast Asia from Bangkok, you’ll need to sort out your visa. The Chinese embassy in Bangkok is on Ratchadaphisek Soi 3, at MRT Phra Ram 9. The visa office is across the soi from the embassy itself in the AA Building. Use Exit 1 from Phra Ram 9 MRT Station and turn left down Soi 3. The entrance is on your right a short distance into the soi.

Visa Office, Embassy of China, Bangkok

Visa office, embassy of China, Bangkok.

The visa office is open for applications from 09:00-11:30 and for collection from 15:00-16:00 for collection. Visa forms are available upon arrival, or can be downloaded beforehand. The application requires one passport-sized photo (two if you are American). Normal processing takes four business days and costs 1,000 baht for Thai citizens, 1,100 baht for non-Thais, and a hefty 4,560 baht for Americans. Double-entry and multiple-entry visas are also available (double entry +1,350 baht, multiple entry +2,000 baht) as is expedited visa processing (two days +800 baht, one day +1,200 baht).

If you are American, you might want to consider applying for a year-long multiple-entry visa, as all visas are the same price for American citizens due to reciprocal visa pricing, no matter how many entries or the length of validity. Application and pick up is efficient and quick, but you might want to get there when the office opens as it gets increasingly busy as 11:30 approaches.

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4 Responses to “Getting a Chinese visa in Bangkok” ...

  1. Jasonon 08 Feb 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Hi, im a Singaporean and im intend to bring one Chinese entering bangkok from singapore. what are the necessary documents require and how do i apply for him the visa?is there any charges?

  2. DarrenCon 12 Apr 2012 at 12:51 am

    Does anyone know if this information is still up to date? Sounds so much easier than all the babbling on the lonely planet forums…

  3. ClaireMon 26 Jul 2012 at 10:12 am

    Hi, just been through this process in Bangkok (I’m a uk citizen) and unfortunately it’s not as easy as it sounds!
    Turned up at 9am on day 1 with what I thought was the correct paperwork and got turned away due to not having photocopies of the correct pages of my passport and a recent bank statement. Returned on day 2 and successfully got the visa through the express same day service (2300 baht).
    Heres what you’ll currently need if you’re a uk citizen applying for a tourist visa:
    Application form – parts A & B
    Proof of onward travel – flight or bus/train ticket
    Hotel reservation info and detailed address/tel no in China
    1 x passport photo
    Photocopy of passport on photo page
    Photocopy of passport on Thai immigration stamp page
    Recent bank statement (if ‘unemployed’ on application, or letter of employment if ‘company employee’)
    Your application is somewhat dependant on your desk clerk as my boyfriend and I had exactly the same documents and he got quite a grilling and was only granted a 12 day visa whereas I was approved for the full 16 days we requested.
    Hope this helps!

  4. Frankon 01 May 2013 at 2:51 am

    100% correct and up to date. I have been Oct 2012 and Jan 2013. The only thing I have never been able to get is a 1 day visa even though I had my passport in by 10am. They always tell me to come back the next day. And I also see many people getting grilled and standing at the booth for ages. I tend to go up with a smile and say sawadee khrap in a nice friendly tone and I have not had a problem yet. I’m going tomorrow so hopefully I haven’t jinxed myself :-/

    One thing I learned from the 1st time is to print out all forms and fill them in the day before you go (and all photo copies of what ClaireM mentioned) and be there just before the doors open at 9am. As soon as you get upstairs, obtain a ticket number by pressing the machine for visa ASAP. The 1st time I was there I was No. 194 and got served at 15:00. Next time I was prepared and got No. 24 and was served by 10am.

    As for hotel reservation, its easy to reserve any hotel and then cancel it for free if you are not sure where you want to stay.

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