I will be embarking on a 14 month trip to SEA in January 2011. I plan to arrive in Thailand, overland via Cambodia, around March. From there plan to head up to Northern Thailand & over to Laos, back into Thailand for approx 3-4 weeks & then travel to Burma. I will come back into Thailand again, to fly to indonesia.
I know I can only get 15 days when I arrive by land or 30 if I arrive by air.
Does anyone know how complicated a process it is to get an extension or 60-90 day visa once I arrive in Bangkok the first go around?
Should I get a visa before I leave the states? I will not have purchased any plane tickets out of Thailand before I leave the US, which is, apparently, a requirement.
Any light anyone can shed on this confusing issue, would be welcomed.
How long are you expecting to spend in Thailand the first time around? If less than two weeks then no need for a visa. If more than that, get a tourist visa in Phnom Penh.
Likewise, before your second entry (from Laos) get another Thai tourist visa in Vientiane.
Need for onwards tickets depends on your airline and (in theory) the Thai immigration officials. Individual mileage will vary but I'd suggest checking with your airline to see what they say.
Hope that helps.
"Does anyone know how complicated a process it is to get an extension or 60-90 day visa once I arrive in Bangkok the first go around?"
You can't come into Thailand on a 15/30 day free entry stamp and get a 60 day tourist visa once you are there. 60 day tourist visas can only be obtained outside the country.
If you arrive in Thailand in January and are staying there till you go to Cambodia in March then you will need a 60 day tourist visa and you'll have to get it before you arrive.
If you are travelling overland from Laos and plan to stay in Thailand 3-4 weeks then you'll need another tourist visa. (You can get one at the Thai consulate in Vientiane ).
You don't say how long you'll be staying in Thailand after Burma but you'll be flying (it's obligatory) so you'll get a 30 day stamp on arrival then.
At the moment Thai 60 day tourist visas are free ...can't remember offhand how long this free offer is on for (they keep extending the dates) but I've heard that the Thai consulate in Vientiane gives free multi-entry visas. Most consulates only give free single entry visas and you have to pay the usual price for the multi-entry type.
Check with the nearest consulate to you. Ask how long the free visa offer is on for and whether they do free multi-entry tourist visas. You have to "activate" a visa by using it within 90 days of issue but I think if you have a multi-entry you can use it for a second visit after the 90 days period.
If you had a multi-entry tourist visa when you first arrive I think that would solve most of your problems. (But check about the length of validity etc).
Re the flight ticket requirement... again ask. Some consulates need to see tickets and some don't. Explain you are planning on mainly travelling overland and have no firm dates. If they still require a ticket then get a cheap flight to Phnom Penh on Air Asia. You can always change the date afterwards if need be ... there's a small cancellation fee but it isn't much.
The free 60-day tourist visa SBE mentions is available until March 2011 or so, at least at the Thai Consulate in Los Angeles. Given your itinerary and the need to enter Thailand multiple times and stay for more than 15 days, I think SBE's suggestion to get a multi-entry tourist visa is the perfect idea. You'll likely have to pay for a multi-entry visa, but when you compare that to the costs and hassles of having to get a Thai visa while you are on the road, I think it is still a bargain.
Thanks everyone. I just visted the Thai consulate website & sent them an email. ( I was unable to talk with a person) it seems they do have a 60 day multiple entry, but it is not fee exempt & is approx 160 USD (which I would pay if it would solve my problem) but, it seems they do require proof of air flight out of Thailand & the Visa is good from date of ISSUE, which doesn't help as I will be leaving the US in January.
I may be able to swing it if I fly into Thailand from laos & Burma which would give me 30 days each time. I could make do with 15 days on the first entry ( overland from cambodia)
I'll keep you posted on the final resolution.
If anyone has any thoughts or ideas....
"the Visa is good from date of ISSUE"
That doesn't mean you have to use it on the date of issue, it just means that you CAN use it that same day if you want.
I just looked at an old (single) entry visa in my passport. It says:
Date of issue 29 November 2007
Enter before 27 February 2008
You definitely have 90 days to use your tourist visa. Once you enter Thailand you can stay for 60 days (even if you arrive on the 89th day after the visa was issued).
In your case you should wait until at least October to get your visa, November would be better, just to be absolutely sure that less than 90 days have elapsed since it was issued.
If you want to stay longer than 60 days you can get a 30 day extension once you are in the country. The extension costs 1900B and can be obtained at any immigration office.
Nothing has changed. That's exactly what I said too... don't apply for the visa right now, wait till November because you have to use it within 90 days from the date of issue.
"Using" means activating it... entering Thailand. You have to enter Thailand within 90 days of getting the visa. When you enter Thailand you can stay 60 days.
God I don't know how to say it any plainer so you understand. Ok here is another example from my passport. It's roughly the dates you will be doing.
Visa issued 15th November 2006
Admitted 10th January 2007
Until 10th March 2007
Is that any clearer?