Getting a Thai Visa

5 Thai embassies

There are many types of visas obtainable for travel to or living in Thailand. If you are visiting for less than 30 days this post is not for you. You are able to fly in and obtain a visa exemption on arrival at no cost.

However, for those who wish to spend a significant amount of time in Thailand here is some information you might find helpful.

There are 5 Thai embassies here in the U.S. Luckily there is an embassy right here in Los Angeles. While it is possible to obtain many types of visas in Thailand we found the process much easier here.

If you are 50 years or older you can get a retirement visa, good for a one year stay. The big advantage of getting it in the U.S. is that you only need to provide proof of 800,000 Thai Baht (approximately $25k) in the bank. If you get this visa in Thailand you must put your money in a Thai bank. This is probably perfectly safe but we do have some concerns. The cost of this visa is $200. See the link above for all details.

Another good visa option is the Multiple Entry Thai Visa.

No matter what type of visa you want, read the information provided in the links carefully and do your best to follow the directions to the letter.

Some things we found out:

  • No matter the type of visa, you must pay by cashier’s check or money order. Cash is not accepted. We saw several people turned away because they missed this in the instructions.
  • Arrive in the morning. Long lines but the service is pretty fast.
  • Don’t pay for expensive passport photos. Take your own. There are several apps that can help. We saved over $60 dollars doing this!
  • Have all your paperwork in order. The more organized you are the easier it seems to go.
  • For the retirement visa you must obtain notarized statements from your bank. Our credit union provides free notary service which made it easy.
  • Also for the retirement visa you must have a clearance from your doctor and a letter from local law enforcement. The instructions say these must be notarized as well. Turns out this means that you sign the clearance reports and have your signature notarized.
  • We felt kind of overwhelmed by the amount of paperwork… breathe deeply, take your time, check, double check and recheck.
  • The laws and regulations can be confusing, they change a lot too. Be sure you visit the official Thai government websites and don’t hesitate to ask questions (I called the embassy at least 4 times).

I hope this information is helpful. Thailand is such a wonderful country, the visa processes are relatively easy and most importantly…BOLT will be there! We hope to see you soon.

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