How to Obtain a Thai Tourist Visa at Embassy in Vientiane, Laos

Thai embassy in Vientiane
With increased immigration control in Thailand more people are considering the longer stay tourist visas.   At the moment you enter Thailand by plane you get a visa on arrival which grants you 30 days in the country.  If you come overland or do a visa run overland and back in, you only get 15 days!

For those people traveling and wishing to stay in Thailand for a longer duration this can get costly and time consuming.  Two weeks goes by pretty quickly!

There are many options for obtaining the single or double entry visa. We chose to head into Laos to apply and visit the country.  You can also go to Cambodia, Malaysia, and really any country that has a Thai embassy.  Since we were traveling overland, the capital of Laos was the closest.  I have also heard that it is one of the easiest places to get a visa, especially the highly coveted double entry.

We spent 1 month in Laos exploring and really fell in love with the country.  I chose to wait until the end of our stay to head to the embassy, but as it turns out, the visa doesn't start when you get the visa it starts when you actually enter Thailand again.

You will spend $30 for the Laos visa so it makes sense to make the most of it and stay for a bit. We found Laos to be a beautiful country with a laid back style.  Not quite on the tourist radar yet so it still maintains a more authentic flair than in Thailand.  At the Laos border also be sure you have a passport photo, although they were quite lax about the specifics of it.

The embassy in Vientiane is open for visa services from 8:30am to 11:30am.  However, they did not turn anyone away that was still in process after 11:30.  Take a tuk-tuk to the embassy, if you are in the center of town expect to pay about 70,000 kip ($8.50) for both ways.  He will usually wait for you.  It's a bargain, but know that the tuk tuks in Laos are more expensive than in Thailand.  You can also try and bargain for a 2 day rate (you'll need to return the following day to pick up the visas) or even for tours around the city to see the sights.  Pautuxy is a must see and Buddha park was a highlight for the kids.

Waiting area - Click to enlarge
I had heard that the best option was to get to the embassy very early to wait in line for it to open.  But being a late riser I decided to forgo the early crowd and head down around 10am.  There were a lot of people there but you need to fill out the forms anyway and by the time I was done with filling out 5 forms (1 per person getting visas) I only waited 5 minutes.  Unless you are highly motivated to get up at 5am, I see no need and it may have even been less of a line as most people were already done and gone by the time I arrived.

What do you need to bring?

  • passports
  • money (only Thai Baht is accepted)
  • pens
  • passport photos (at least 2, can be done outside the embassy but seems best to already have them)
  • photocopy of Laos visa in passport
  • photocopy of picture page in passport
Ticket machine - click to enlarge
When you get to the embassy head right over to the small ticket machine and get your number.  The forms will be right next to the ticket machine and if there are none, simply ask at the counter.  As you wait for your number to be called you can sit at the designated tables and fill out the form.  When you pull out your pen you will be thanking me as none were provided.  They do however provide glue and scissors to crop and attach the photos.  Also available is a copy machine upstairs if you forget any copies.

Your number will be called, in English, and proceed to hand in your form.  The attendant will glance at it to be sure everything is filled out correctly.  No questions were asked at all.  It is important to note that I went to the office and did the entire process for all 5 family members.  None of them were present and it seemed to be a non-issue.  The attendant then motions you to go into the building (with your ticket that you used for the first line) and pay.  I sat for about 15 minutes and then numbers were called all at once.  Wait in that line for a couple minutes, pay that attendant (IN BAHT) and you are out the door.

Return the next day between 1pm and 4pm to pick up the passport with visa inside.  Again go to the ticket machine, get the ticket and head in to the office where you paid the previous morning.  Wait about 15 minutes, the numbers will be called, and you pick up the visa.  Double check that everything looks right on the visa as far as dates before you leave.

It is that simple.  Plenty of people spoke English, no security hoops to jump through, and the whole thing took about 2 hours.

**  There are many companies offering assistance with obtaining visas.  There are also many people outside the embassy offering to help and take photos, etc.  It is really unnecessary and a waste of money if you're prepared.  This was a very simple process.


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  1. I just had to comment and say thanks for the GREAT information on this :D Exactly everything you need to know ^^