How I Got a Thailand Tourist Visa at Saigon Consulate
Thai girls at HCMC Thai consulate
Despite a 2 year overstamp in my passport and 7 months worth of visa exemptions I still got approved for a new Thailand tourist visa at the Ho Chi Minh consulate. This was in Nov 2016.
I didn’t get asked to show bank statements, or questioned as to what I’d been doing in Thailand so long. That does happen to some visa runners based on forum reports about the Thai consulate in Saigon.
It may have been just luck but what I did is turn up just before it closes for applications (11:30), and dress smart. On other trips I’ve seen backpackers in shorts and vests getting hassled for proof of funds to support their trip (usually 20k Baht).
While it seems irrelevant your appearance does matter in Asia especially at consulates, embassies, immigration, anything like that. Maybe why Dante had a bad time with his Jakarta visa extension.
So I turned up looking sharp at 11:15 when the girls were keen to finish work and go to lunch. They took my application without really thinking.
Saigon Consulate Opening Hours
- Application – 08:30 to 11:30
- Visa collection – 13:30 – 15:00 the next day
- Closed Saturdays & Sundays
What You Need
- Passport with validity of at least the length of your stay (used to be 6 months min)
- One passport photo
- $40 USD (they don’t accept Vietnam Dong or Thai Baht)
- Onward flight ticket out of Thailand to anywhere – I used one of those cheap rented ticket sites
- Filled in application form – can print it here in advance or fill in there
I wasn’t asked for the 20k baht proof of funds but took it along just in case. Officially it’s a requirement at any Thai consulate but they usually only ask for if they suspect you don’t have money.
Tourists sometimes get asked for that on the way back into Thailand at the airport if you’ve stayed in Thailand a long time too. I just withdraw 20k as I’m leaving Thailand, stash it in my bag and show it if needed. Still never been asked though.
HCM Consulate Location
The Thai consulate in Ho Chi Minh City is located on Tran Quoc Thao road just outside District 1. See the location on Google maps. Near Ben Thanh market which has a currency exchange shop on the corner of Nguyen An Ninh street to get US dollars.
You come back the next afternoon (closed weekends) 13:30 – 15:00 to get your passport. If they took it the previous morning it usually means you’ll get the visa, you don’t turn up and find out you got rejected.
Then you have to enter Thailand within 90 days of the visa being in your passport (enter before date is on it).
Once you enter you then get 90 days stay in Thailand starting from the date you enter.
New Thailand Tourist visa
Vietnam Good for Thai Visa Runs?
I got accepted even with my long overstay / visa history but some people run into difficulties. Try turning up smart at 11:15. Vientiane, Laos, or Penang, Malaysia are the easiest spots to apply for a Thai tourist visa, but they’re quite boring to keep going to. Vietnam is worth a try.
I started a thread about it on Thaivisa to troll the old granddads who hate young guys living in Asia long term and working online. Got some funny replies.
I seem to live a charmed life so far with Thailand visas, 7 years total stay with 4 on overstay (before they introduced blacklisting, don’t do that anymore) and always sailed through immigration without questions.
On they way back in they didn’t notice my visa from Vietnam even though I wrote the number on the arrival card, and gave me another visa exemption, I extended that to 60 days, then was able to use the visa from Vietnam on my next flight in.
So all in all I did 9 months worth of visa exemptions, spanning all of 2016 I was living in Thailand visa-free then the other 3 months were my 2-3 week trips outside between each visa waiver period.
I mixed up the countries I went to a bit – Vietnam / Philippines / Indonesia – and that was enough to not raise eyebrows. Friends have been denied entry and deported back to their home country though for less.
Also started a thread about the 9 months on visa exemptions and got more haters.