Visa woe woe woes

Visa woes. The story of my life! From missing my graduation in Sydney/not being able to stay and live there in 2011 to having issues while working in Bali in 2012 to now. Let’s zen out in a bed of green like this campus doggy for a moment, shall we?

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In order to stay in the Kingdom of Thailand for at least the next year, I need two things: 1) a non-immigrant B visa and 2) a work permit. These are both granted from a sponsoring institution and can be quite challenging to obtain, as the costs for sponsoring foreigners is quite high for local companies.

I’ve accepted a job a couple weeks ago that would provide me with a non-immigrant B visa and a work permit. However, since then, the process has been slow like molasses (a bit of a political administrative coup!) so I’ve had to research ways to extend my current 30-day tourist visa. Multiple options are out there– from doing a one-day visa run from Bangkok to Aranyaprathet/Poi Pet in Cambodia to heading up north to the Division 1 Government Complex at Chaengwattana in Nonthaburi– and because information sharing is so sparse and disconnected, it takes time to figure this shit out.

It is time consuming but generally, starting with some online research (government websites, peep other blogs) and then finding direct telephone numbers to speak with a live person is the most efficient way to stay informed. I’ve found that speaking with an embassy employee from the get go is not helpful because not everyone has internalised the same protocol and knowledge so they may misinform you. It’s super important to do your due diligence.

Some good-to-knows for U.S. citizens:

  • You can obtain a *free* tourist visa on arrival (VOA) at Suvarnabhumi airport that will last for 30 days.
  • If you wish to stay in Thailand for more than 30 days, you can apply for another 30-day extension at Chaengwattana for a fee of 1,900 Baht. Doing the visa run across the border is a tad risky because more and more people are doing it and it does not ensure that you will obtain another 30-day visa when crossing over land.
  • If after your initial 60 days in Thailand you are like WOW I want to stay for another 30 days, you can obtain a third and final 30-day extension for another 1,900 Baht. After this, you will need to leave the country and start the process over again.
  • You are only allowed to do this 90-day dance three times per year, which allows you to stay in Thailand for a total of nine months out of a year.
  • Alternately, you may apply for and obtain a 60-day visa while you are still in the States. The fee is $80 USD.

Student visas are another beast and I will be sure to capture those details when Vik gets there.

US Embassy in Bangkok: + 66 2 205 4000

Division 1 Immigration @ Chaengwattana: + 66 2 141 9889

Time to lie down on the cool floor.

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