Guess what our next destination is? THAILAND! I’m so excited for this new part of the world we’ll get to discover this winter, but South East Asia isn’t as nice when it comes to visas as Central America was.
To stay in Thailand for 6 months, Chris and I had to each get a multi-entry visa and I thought I’d share our experience on the blog since there are quite a few lessons we learned that I didn’t know before.
Don’t get your visa until you’re ready to leave
When Chris went to Australia, he got a visa that was activated when he landed in the country. I thought the Thai visa would work the same, but it doesn’t. It starts on the day you get your passport stamped. So we just lost pretty much 3 months by having it done in advance. Lesson learned.
Call the embassy/consulate before doing anything else
Before you start putting all of your stuff together to get the visa, make sure you call the embassy or consulate the closest to you. The Thai Embassy does have a website, but each embassy/consulate works with its own rule. So the consulate in Montreal accepted money orders AND cash while the Ottawa embassy would only take money orders. Their forms can be different a little, and their requirements might vary. So give them a call! They’re super nice people and will totally help you out!
How Our Experience Went
Being in Quebec City for two months, we thought the best place to get our visa done would be in Montreal, since it’s a day-trip away. Chris emailed the embassy, which sent us all of their requirements (first mistake, as we should have contacted the Montreal consulate instead of the Ottawa embassy). We put all of our stuff together, which included a form filled, passport pictures, $200 money order, entry plane ticket and first hotel where we were going to stay. After we bought everything, we planned our trip to Montreal around their opening hours (they’re only open for two hours, two days a week) and arrived there a little too late for our liking.
We could either leave our paperwork with them and have them send our passports back (which seemed like a bad idea at the time since Post Canada was maybe going to be on strike) or pay an extra $80 each to get it done right away.
We ended up paying a little extra to make sure we left with our passports in our hands (I don’t like having my passport in the mail, especially when I’m planning a trip to the US not too long after!)
Note that this option might not be available everywhere, though! The Montreal Thai Consulate does express visa, but Ottawa doesn’t. So that’s why you have to call your embassy/consulate first.
Also, we had to redo our money orders because they were addressed to the Embassy instead of the Consulate. Weird? I know… (And when you have to find a post office, wait in line, get two money orders redone and run back within less than a two-hour window, it’s very stressing!)
But now our visas are done and we definitely learned from the experience! We won’t be able to stay in Thailand on our multi-entry visa for as long as we wanted, but we can always get more individual visas once it expires.
One more thing to remember is that on the multi-entry visa, you can leave Thailand as many times as you want, but you can’t stay in for more than 60 days at a time. Our visas expire on January 7th, so we’ll have to enter to Thailand on that day and we’ll get an extra two months. After that two months are up, though, we’ll have to get a single entry visa if we want to stay until April.
Hopefully, this helps you plan your long-term trip to Thailand! You honestly don’t need to go through all this trouble if you’re staying for less than two months, but you’ll probably want to if you want to stay there long-term!