What to Expect When Doing a Visa Run in Thailand
Your first visa run will be after your initial tourist visa runs out. This may be one month or three months after you arrive in Thailand. It all depends on if you came to Thailand without one before or if you got it while being in your home country prior to traveling there. Either way, you will eventually need to do a visa run which can be time consuming but also an adventure if you choose to make it one.
Things that are Needed
Prior to you doing your visa run, you will need a few things that your consultant agency will provide you. This includes copies of your passport, university degree(s), Thai contract, background check, and the Thai visa paperwork that needs to be signed by various individuals stating you are working there. This paperwork will line you up to go to the Thai Embassy in Laos or another country in order for you to obtain your Non-B Immigrant working visa that you will need to get to continue working there.
In addition to this paperwork, please note that you will want to save at least 6,000- 7,000 Baht ($175-200) for your visa run. This money goes towards your Thai Non-B visa cost (usually reimbursed), Laos visa cost for your visit there (visa plus entry fee that differs on the country you reside in), hotel and transportation costs, and the most important one of all, fun.
The Thai Embassy process consists of you dropping your paperwork off first thing in the morning one day and then retrieving it the following day after 1 pm. passport was placed. You will receive a number from them and this number just tells them where your passport was placed and has nothing to do with the order of the line of drop off or pick up. You should be in Laos overnight at least one night but sometimes two. This all depends on your schedule and your visa status. After you drop off your paperwork in Laos, your time is spent how you want it and this is why I say to bring enough money to have fun with. Depending on the area of Laos, will determine what options you have surrounding you. Another teacher and myself went to Savannakhet, where the second friendship bridge was built connecting Laos and Thailand. In addition to seeing this sight over the long-bedded river, we also experienced the city of Savannakhet. We walked along the streets, went to the local market, went to a local place for lunch on a lake and fed fish, swam (which is a treat where we were in Thailand), and went too the White House for dinner. To go super crazy, we went to the casino in Laos and tried our luck for a couple hours. Gambling in Thailand is illegal so this was a nice treat. I didn’t win but my friend won some Kip which, paid for his dinner.
In conclusion, the visa run is not stressful but yet kind of like trying to find a treasure. The reason I state that is the process to get there can be quite challenging depending on if you have any directions. It requires taking the minivan to another station to get another minivan to get a bus to go over the border, then the visa to get into Laos followed by getting a tuk-tuk to take into the city. Make sure to negotiate with your tuk-tuk driver and don’t settle. After this portion, you then go to your hotel and have fun until you can drop off your paperwork first thing the next morning. After that’s dropped off then it comes back to having fun and relaxing and then finally you pick it up and you are set free to start the process of getting there backwards. If there is any advice that I can give, it is to pick your minivan seat wisely but, other than that have fun and enjoy the time off making it an adventure.