There have been many words of Guidence on what you require regarding Visas so I wrote to British embassay and this is what they responded with.
I have been trying to find out the Visa requirements myself and a friend (we are both British Citizens) will need for some travel we are planning in SE Asia at the end of the year.
The journey consists as follows.
Return flights booked to Bangkok from the 3rd of September returning 14th of Oct.
The time will be spilt up pretty much like this give or take a day or two.
10 days Thailand
5 days Laos
15 days Vietnam
5 days Cambodia
7 days Thailand
My understanding is that we will get a free 30 day Visa For Thailand when we arrive at the airport, we will then have to buy a visa when we cross the boarder by land to Laos from Thailand. For Vietnam we will have to purchase a visa before leaving UK. We can then purchase a visa for Cambodia when we cross the boarder by land from Vietnam and then we will get a free 15 day visa when crossing the boarder by land from Cambodia back into Thailand.
The only major change to the plans is we fly from Thailand to Hanoi, Vietnam and bypass Laos completely
Could you please confirm that i am understanding this right or if not how best to go about ensuring the travel plans go as smoothly as they can regarding visas?
A visa can be obtained upon arrival in Thailand for a stay of up to 30 days but you have to show you are leaving within this time frame on entry. In order to obtain another visa on arrival a gap of 2 weeks has to be left.
Visas for Vietnam have to obtained before travel so please apply before you leave, these are set to a travel date so please be accurate when completing the visa form.
Cambodia can be obtained on arrival or before travel. If you wish to obtain on arrival please have 2 passport pictures and a travel itinerary with you.
And finally a visa will be purchased at the border for Laos.
Please do show you are leaving each destination upon arrival in the form of some sort of transportation.
Feel free to interperate this as you see fit.
Wrong, wrong and wrong.
"you have to show you are leaving within this time frame on entry"
While this is what Thailand "officially" states on many of their embassy's websites, I've yet to hear from a single person whose been asked by immigration to show proof of onward travel, nor ever been asked myself. The only ones who ever ask are the airlines before you leave, but if you have a round trip ticket booked to/from the UK they won't ask. Thousands of people fly into Thailand every year and leave by land, only to come back by land at a later date. (Anyway, since you're flying to Hanoi it doesn't matter, just letting you know it's not correct).
"A gap of 2 weeks has to be left"
This is complete BS. You can turn around and walk back into Thailand with a new 15 (by land) or 30 (by air) day stamp if you want to. People do it all the time and I've done it several times... I don't know where they got that info.
"Visas for Vietnam have to be obtained before travel so please apply before you leave"
Wrong again. While you do need to have a visa (or visa on arrival letter) in hand upon entering Vietnam, you certainly don't have to get it before you leave the UK. You could easily pick one up at the Vietnam embassy in Bangkok or anywhere else, although it might be easier to get it at home. Easier yet would be to use one of the many online services for a visa on arrival. With those you western union a company in Vietnam some money and the visa application and they send you an arrival letter that guarantees you the visa at the airport. This only works when flying in to the country, but if that's the case it's cheaper and easier than getting one in your home country. I've done it before and many on this site have reported doing it without it a hitch.
Also, you won't need a "travel itinerary" with you upon entering Cambodia, just the fee for the visa and a couple passport sized photos.
Clearly the British embassy folks you contacted have never actually traveled to these countries.
I'd suggest that fellow Travelfishers are a for more reliable source of information. In this case, anyhow!
DLuek knows what he's talking about. Ignore the embassy.
As already mentioned some mediocre advice there, but curious why you wrote to the British Embassy -- wouldn't the Thai etc been a better option?
#4 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,707
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Firstly I accept that this might of been ott especially regarding the itinery part hence why I stated at the bottom to "Interperate as you see fit".
I asked them to supply me with information so I could ensure that my travel was as un-interupted as possible regarding Visa's. As i mentioned on another thread i posted here.. there have been many answers to the same question and I was only trying to get some solid clarification on the subject.
I also took the advice from a friend who had just returned from travelling SE Asia and she ended up returning early due to constantly having to give leaving dates to where ever she went to the point it just wasnt the free adventure she had imagined
As I see it it was helpful information as sadly I have a limited time frame to work with for my own trip and if i can do anything before leaving to streamline my trip as much as possible then it can only be a good thing
@ somtam2000 I wrote to the Thai Embassay first and they then forwarded my email onto the British Embassay
Hey, no need to go on the defensive - more power to you for being certain to get correct info by asking for it from several sources. I was just clarifying that, in practice, the info you received is mostly incorrect.
I do also find what you say about your friend "having to constantly give leaving dates" strange. A lot of country's visa applications and/or departure cards do ask all visitors to write in a departure date, but you can generally write anything you want so long as you leave before the actual termination date of the visa or visa free stamp.
Every country in the world puts some sort of limit on the amount of time they allow foreign tourists to stay within their borders; the only place I can travel "freely" without having to think about a future day when I'll need to leave is my home country. My experience is that none of the countries covered by Travelfish (with the possible exception of Indonesia) ask for proof of onward travel upon entering their borders.
Apologese if i came across defensive. put it down to be written first thing in the morning after just getting to work. Dont tell the boss ;o) I was just meaning to explaining why I went about things the way iI had.
I will check with my friend again as she maybe took things to literally and didnt realise that you can (for want of a better term) bluff these things.
Cheers fae moi
Wondering if you can help - we are flying into Bangkok on 4th July and plan to stay until heading into Laos on the 15th, stay for about a week and then head back into Thailand to travel south.
We have been to SE Asia before and at that you could only get a 30 day visa if you enter via plane and 15 days if you enter via bus/train.
However I have been told that this is now not the case and recently they have changed this so that you get 30days either way - is this true?
If not, what is the best recommendation for our remaining time in Thailand - as it will be longer than 15 days. Is it best to get a tourist visa before hand, here in the UK? Or wait and get an extension when we are down on the islands (can you still do this on Ko Samui) ?
It's still 30 days exemption if you arrive at an airport; 15 days if you arrive overland.
So, your requirements will depend on your nationality, how you arriving back into Thailand from Laos and how long you will be travelling south. If you are arriving by air and going for less than 30 days, you will be fine.
Re #8,as #9 says-it's 30 days if arriving by air or 15 days if by land.Don't get a tourist visa in the UK before you come to Thailand,because if you do,when you arrive in Bangkok from the UK,you will be stamped in to Thailand for 60 days using that visa.The only way to do it is to arrive in Bangkok,and get 30 days,go to Laos,and whilst there,obtain a tourist visa from the Thai Embassy in Laos,using this to enter Thailand for the second time.(Or-if you are only going to be in Thailnd on the second occasion for less than 22 days,get the 15 day entry stamp and one 7 day extension-that's all you are allowed)It would probably be easier to just get the tourist visa in Laos
Thanks for the advice!! I didnt think it had changed - I will inform my friend it hasnt!!
Yes we will be there less than 22 days - where can you get extensions from within Thailand, Ive been told just Bangkok and Ko Samui? Also do they do it there and then that day or do you have to stay around to pick up your passport again?