Photo Credits: Marventures
Buhay OFW

Crossing Borders and Making Friends | A MarVentures Personal Perspective

Many of us have done this. Some are more veteran than others. Recently, I had to do a border run to Vientiane, Laos for a tourist visa. The long drive is sometimes dreaded for many. It doesn’t help if you don’t get a good seat in the van. If you prefer, I have met some people who have flown to the nearest airport and picked up by the agency to join the rest of the group. Nevertheless, the optimistic part in me sees it as an opportunity to travel and meet new people or get a chance to meet up with old friends.

Here are the steps I took when I applied for my tourist visa.
1. Book an appointment with the Thai Embassy in Laos.
The agency can help book an appointment for you. However, I chose to book it myself to make sure that it is what I wanted.

2. Pick an agency to go with.
Ever since I have lived in Thailand, I have crossed the border to Laos with Meesuk Travel Agency. However, there are other agencies that you can choose from that I’ve used. I usually go with them to cross over to Myanmar or Cambodia. I found the best way to get in contact with Meesuk is through their Line or Facebook accounts.

3. Fill out the application form required and paste the required 2×2 picture size onto the form.
In Meesuk, they will provide you a form to fill out according to what visa you are applying for. If your picture is 2×2, someone in the agency will help you cut it to fit in the form. The picture has to have a white background.

4. Photocopy the front page passport and current visa.
When you cross the border you will need to photocopy the Laos stamp. They will need a printout of the appointment slip to show the officer interviewing you at the Thai Embassy in Laos. Sign all photocopied or printed out pages. The agency will help you with the photocopies if you want. You will need to pay for the photocopies and printouts.

Tip 1: Get ready to show that you have enough funds when you get back to Thailand.
Since I was applying for a tourist visa, I researched and read from various sources saying that the embassy requires that you have show money of at least 20,000 baht. I updated my passbook with that amount. If you have a foreign passbook, a source I saw online says you need to have around 700 USD. Some friends of mine provided a ticket to go to another country like Malaysia. It is pretty much to show/convince the person interviewing you that you do not intend to stay long in the country.

I have heard from some friends that this may not work out at times. Some people may have 20,000 baht in their account and still may be denied the visa. The worst-case scenario is that some nationalities have an option to return back to Thailand on a 15-30 day visa.

Tip 2: Get ready to answer some questions.
Here are some of the questions I have heard personally and from some sources.

1. Your working visa is cancelled. What is your purpose for this visa?
2. Please show us your bank statement.
3. What do you intend to do during this time?
4. Are you planning on working in Thailand?
5. Do you have a ticket to go back to your home country/another country?

Hopefully, this information helps you on your next road trip to Laos.

Below is a vlog created by Marventures during his trip to Laos.