After spending a month in Thailand then heading into Laos we knew we would be going back to stay in Thailand for more than a couple months so we figured it’ll be best to apply for a longer visa than the regular “30 days on arrival” you usually get when entering the country.
This meant applying for a Double Entry 60-day Tourist Visa. This visa can only be obtained outside of Thailand and, for us, the easiest place to get it was in Vientiane, the capital of Laos.
The benefit of this is that as the first 60-day “entry” is expiring you can extend your stay by a further month from the Immigration offices in Thailand. Once the initial 60+30 days are up you’ll still have to do a visa run to a Thai border post but this time not have to pay get a visa and stamp for another country such as Laos or Cambodia. If you plan to go travel for a while before coming back to Thailand for the next 60-days then they’ll make a note in your passport on how long you have to activate the second 60-day entry.
So basically you can get 6 months in total with just 1 visa run in the middle.
In Vientiane you need to go to the Consular Section of the Thai Embassy and not the Embassy itself. They are in two different locations. The Thai Consular Section is located here on Google maps or the address is No.15 Ban Ponesinuan, Bourichane Road, Vientiane Capital.
Application forms for Thai Visas can only be submitted from Monday to Friday between 8:30am and 11:30am. They then keep your passport overnight and the collection times are from 1:30pm to 3:30pm the next day.
We’ve heard some horror stories from other travellers doing visa runs and how bad the queues can be but we arrived just after 9am on a Thursday and we were out of there in less than 45 minutes. Ok this was mid-January so maybe not such a busy period but still it’s worth getting there earlier just in case.
Getting to the Embassy is quite easy, either you can rent a bicycle (or scooter) and it’s an easy 15 minute ride there or hire a tuk-tuk driver to take you there. Almost all drivers know where to take you for a “THAI vee-SAH”. The tuk-tuk cost us KIP40,000 for 2 people getting there the first morning from the riverside.
Upon arrival be sure to go to counter #1 and get a numbered ticket otherwise you might be waiting a very long time. Get an application form, fill in the details and be sure to tick Tourist Visa in the top left hand corner of the form and put your number of entries as 2. Obviously if you’re not planning on staying more than 3 months then just put 1 but it seems that most people don’t know of the option to put 2.
Other documents you’ll need to take with you are 2 current passport photos, a printed photocopy copy of your Passport and a copy of you Laos Visa too (we didn’t know about this).
Each entry of the 60-day visa costs 1000 Baht so you need to take 2000 Baht if you’re going for the double entry like us. They only accept cash payments in Thai Baht and that also includes paying and extra 10 Baht to get a copy of your Laos upstairs.
Once they call your number and the forms are submitted you head inside to join the paying queue (with your same numbered ticket), part with your cash, and head off to enjoy the lovely city.
Just note that when you pay they’ll give you a receipt which you’ll need to take with you to collect your passport.
The next day we hired bikes to get to the Consulate at an easier pace and arrived on time for collections. You go get another numbered ticket and everyone heads inside to collect their passports at the counter next to where you paid the day before.
It’s all very ordered and organised. We were in and out in less than 30 minutes, easy game.
Another good thing about applying for this visa while you’re in Laos is that it allows you 90 days to activate it (get back into Thailand) which was perfect for as we were planning on maximising our time in Laos before heading back.
Some things to keep in mind;
The cost of extending a tourist visa in Thailand is 1,900 Baht which takes the overall cost of a 6 month Thai visa to just under 6,000 Baht. It may seem pricey overall but this saves you time and hassle and cost of a few extra visa runs. Besides, who said staying in paradise was cheap?!
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months if you plan to apply for a Thai tourist visa.
If you are needing a Transit or Non-Immigration Visa then best you check the Thai Consular Section website to see what other documents are needed.
Hope this helps!