Currently in Chiang Mai, Thailand (06/12/2013) - 31200km cycled

13 Nov 2013

Getting a visa for Thailand in Hanoi, Vietnam

Posted by Will

Most visitors to Thailand can get a visa on arrival (21 days if arriving by plane, 15 if by land crossing). However, bike travellers usually find it most sensible to apply for a visa at a Thai embassy in advance enabling a longer period of stay. Yesterday, I received a 60 day single-entry tourist visa for Thailand in Hanoi, Vietnam. It cost $40 and took a single working day. The cost is dependent on number of entries, so a double-entry costs $80 and I was assured by the staff there that they do issue them. Remember, I am travelling on a British passport.

p1060810-800The embassy is centrally located at 65 Hoang Dieu, Hanoi (type into Google Maps) and the visa application hours are 09:00-12:00, Monday-Friday. In all, the process was easy and efficient. The staff were polite, hastened to answer my questions and even gave me a free map of Thailand. They spoke perfect English too.

There are 5 requirements for a tourist visa of any type, as listed on the internet and a noticeboard in the embassy. They are as follows:

1) Passport or travel document with validity not less than 6 months

2) Visa application form completely filled out.  Don’t print the Thai visa application form off a website beforehand, even if its the official embassy website, because these are often out of date. There are plenty of fresh application forms at the embassy itself so wait until you get there. There aren’t plenty of pens though so take your own.

On the form there aren’t any questions that should cause a problem. They do ask for a ‘local guarantor’ which is the name of the person or hotel you’re staying with. It’s best to have this ready. They ask for an address in Thailand too but given that I only wrote ‘Bangkok’ it doesn’t seem they care.

3) Recent( 4 x 6 cm.) photograph of the applicant.  Obvious. It doesn’t seem they’re very picky about the size (unlike the Chinese) given that my photo had a lot of white bordering where the photo-man had used his scissors sloppily. Only one photograph required.

p1060790-8004) Evidence of travel from Thailand (air ticket paid in full).  This kind of requirement during a visa application often sends travellers into panic but after now applying for many visas myself I realise it’s not a big deal. Head to one of the many travel/flight agencies in Hanoi and tell them you want to book a cheap SE Asia flight away from Thailand for the day you’re planning to leave. Almost all of them won’t demand any payment upfront, and if they do, tell them you need to confirm your Thai visa first. They’ll give you a nice official-looking piece of paper you can take to the Thai embassy.

5) Evidence of adequate finance (20,000 Baht per person and 40,000 Baht per family).  At just over $600 perhaps this requirement could present a stumbling block. I provided a print-screen image of my most recent online bank statement showing over this amount of money. A photocopy of a Visa or Mastercard credit card might work (it often does in other parts of the world) although I’m afraid I can’t vouch for this approach.

After handing in your documents, you need to pay the appropriate amount ($40 or $80) to the embassy staff (no need to go to a bank). They ONLY accept Dollars. No Thai Baht or Vietnamese Dong. They were able to give me change of a single $100 bill.

You’ll then get a receipt which you need to bring back with you at 16:00 the following day (provided it isn’t the weekend). Pick-up, like application, is quick and efficient. Another website reports the Thai embassy spelling their name wrong so make sure you check this and the dates of your visa. At that point, if you’re cheeky you might ask for a free map.

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