I’ve done quite a few visa runs
Cambodia, Vietnam and now South Korea. Note, I went here on the 23rd of April, 2018. So as this post ages, things may change.
My one month trip to South Korea is over and it’s time to head back to Thailand for a few months before heading back to the USA. I came to Korea to visit a girl I like as my tourist visa I got while in Vietnam ran out and I needed a new visa.
So how did it go and what to expect? Was it a breeze as some say? If you’re prepared, sure. They require quite a few documents now.
Also, it was CRAZY busy when I went.
I walked into the consulate at 10 am and was shocked to see 40+ Thai people processing documents. Every single seat filled with the rest standing around.
My guess is they’re there for work permits and what not. Thailand and Korea have a reciprocal visa policy. Both countries give 3 months on arrival. Thais have been abusing this over the years by going to South Korea as “tourists” when really their goal is to work illegally.
Side note, it took 2 business days for my visa to be processed here in Korea. For Cambodia it was 3 days and for Vietnam (Hanoi) it was next day.
What you will need to to submit to receive a Thai tourist visa as an American in Seoul South Korea:
1) 1 passport photo
2) 1 copy of your passport photo page
3) 1 copy of your flight into Thailand
4) 1 copy of your flight out of Thailand
5) 1 copy of your hotel
6) Bank statement
7) 1 completed application
8) 40,000 won fee
The thing with Korea is that it’s a bit tricky to find places to print and copy. Your best bet would to do it at the hotel you’re staying at. If you’re staying with a beautiful Korean girl like I was, you’ll need to plan ahead.
I ran into a few issues simply because I did not have a copy of my hotel or my flight into Thailand. So I had to spend an hour running around looking for a place to print those two things out. I also magically lost my passport pictures.
Alright, it was not magic but it sure seemed like they magically disappeared. I took them out of my bag to make sure I had them, then I put them into my passport and put my passport into my backpack. When I got to the embassy my passport pictures were gone. GONE.
So I had to go waste 20 dollars and an hour of my time to get expensive passport pictures (the studio gave me 4 photos for 20 dollars!).
Where is the embassy?
It’s near Iteawon station (a subway station). If you can get to Iteawon, you can simply walk over to the embassy in about 10 minutes. Fire up Google maps and make your way. Enjoy the climb up and down a super steep hill 🙂
Anyways, the staff were very polite and friendly. The embassy was extremely busy so get there at 9 am. I really have no idea what other people are talking about when they write in forums or blog posts about how it was fast, easy and the line was short. Maybe my bad luck strikes again?
What time To Go?
As with most consulates, hours to apply for a visa are 9 am to 12 pm. Don’t be late as I got there at 9 am, was missing documents, had to spend an hour running around. By the time I had everything, 40+ Thai people were inside waiting. I was not out of there until 12 pm.
Once you apply come back in 2 business days and your Thai tourist visa will be good to go. It was pretty easy, not as easy as Laos or Vietnam but nothing a seasoned traveler can handle.
Did you have problems doing back to back Thai tourist visas?
No. Most travelers who do visa runs simply stay in a neighboring country for a day or two (like Laos or Cambodia) before returning to Thailand. Thai immigration is not to keen on this. You can do back to back tourist visas, maybe even do this three times in a row, but any more than that you’re pushing your luck.
I was in Korea for over a month so it was not your typical visa run and it was also Korea, not Cambodia. These little things come into play when dealing with immigration.
Anyways, enjoy Korea!