Tips on Avoiding Long Visa Delays for Thailand

Authored by:
Ruth P.

Ruth P.

Imagine this, your bags are packed and you are ready to go on the adventure of a lifetime. Something you have been planning for over a year. But where is your visa? Your visa is really your entry into Thailand. You get a phone call telling you that your visa will not arrive in time and now you have to come up with a backup plan. 

This is what happened to me. I was told that I would not be able to enter Thailand without a Non-B visa. With my trip only days away, I had to scramble to come up with a backup plan. 

While I had to cancel my first flight, I still had a hope that I could still get on a plane and go if I could just get through to the embassy. After many phone call attempts, a few sleepless nights and lots of tears, I was able to secure my visa - 8 hours before booking a new flight out of Seattle. 

So while it wasn't exactly how I had pictured my journey beginning, words cannot express how grateful I am that it has begun. As I embark on a new chapter in life, I’m sure this won’t be the first obstacle I will overcome. 

I am writing this to share 5 pieces of advice on how you can avoid horrific visa delays.  

  1. Start the visa process early. 

To teach in Thailand, you need a Non-B visa. It will cost about $80 USD. You can open your application and start submitting your personal documents. You’ll need to wait for some documents from CIEE/OEG but you can get a head start on your own. You’ll need to wait for approval from CIEE before submitting your visa to the embassy. 

This is the website for the visa application. 

  1. Once submitted, check in with the embassy about your visa.

Send emails and make phone calls to check in on the status of your visa. I recommend calling the embassy directly. 

The embassy in the US is located in Washington, DC. Their phone numbers are (206) 684-8493 and (202) 640-5897.

  1. The embassy is closed on the weekend and holidays. 

They will not be able to issue visas on the days they are closed. This is important to remember because if your flight is close to a day the embassy is closed, this could affect your visa being processed in time. 

  1. Express a sense of urgency if needed. 

If you have not received your visa one week before your flight, call the embassy and tell them you need it ASAP. I believe that the reason mine was processed on the last day I could leave was because of my persistence in contacting the embassy. I called enough times that eventually they knew my name and my story. 

  1. Remember, your visa is your ticket in and out of Thailand, not your flight… 

If you do not have your Non-B visa, you will NOT be able to enter Thailand. If you enter on a tourist visa, it will interfere with and/or cancel your visa in progress.  

Best of luck to everyone on their visa journeys! If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to reach out. 

 

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