Understanding the Thailand visa run rules and what to expect on your first visa run
Hopefully, reading this article will mean that you are a little more prepared than I was…
I must admit, I was a little apprehensive the first time, not being able to speak Thai, “what if they asked me loads of questions at the border?” and the visa run rules change often and seem to be open to interpretation but it seemed I had little to worry about…
The first time I went on a visa run, it was in a lovely air conditioned mini bus full of fellow travellers from Russia, Sweden, Finland etc, the second time there were just four of us who travelled in a chauffeured car.
You need to take with you the following items: your passport, a passport sized photograph and 2,500 baht – you may be asked for proof of money to live on in Thailand (20,000 baht is usually deemed sufficient for a single entry).
The journey to the Cambodian border took 4 hours with a brief 10 minute stop, fortunately we didn’t stop as many times as a regular Thai minibus or we would have been looking at a very long journey indeed!
The journey began at 6.30am and we arrived at the border around midday. I was shown to a window where my passport was taken from me by a lady in the office who spoke very good English, I stood back and had my photo taken and told to go sit down, that process took less than 5 minutes.
Everybody was done in just a few minutes, we were then to follow our driver a very short distance across the “car park” and over a bridge, into Cambodia.
We went through a check point and then onto another mini bus for a short drive of just two to three minutes to another set of offices.
We sat down outside in the shade, our passports were collected by our driver and given to one of 5 young girls and guys sitting there examining passports.
I was called over because I had not written my address on my departure card, I had taken the precaution of typing my address in both Thai and English on a small piece of paper and fitted it into my passport as my memory is shocking and I just cannot remember my full address, I showed the young girl who was doing my passport and she even filled all that in for me with a lovely smile, everyone was so helpful
Within 15 minutes we were back on the mini bus being taken back down to the border, we walked back across and were shown to a different window on the Thai side. Time to say Goodbye to Cambodia and “Sawadee Krap” to Thailand once again.
An officer took my photo again, stamped my passport, stapled a new departure card into my passport and stamped it for 60 days (I have a triple entry tourist visa obtained in the UK). It was so so easy, the whole process of leaving Thailand and returning took less than an hour.
Then we got back onto the bus and headed back to our starting point of Pattaya. We stopped on the way at a lovely little restaurant for lunch where we could choose from a variety of Thai dishes which fortunately for me were not too spicy! The break in the journey was for just 40 minutes and we were back home by 4pm!
Although I don’t plan to be doing any more border runs in the near future as I will soon have my retirement visa, it was not as daunting an experience as I was expecting and all made fairly simple – good luck with your first visa run!
Key Visa regularly arrange visa runs to both Cambodia and Laos please feel free to contact us for more information.