How To: Obtaining a Myanmar Visa in Bangkok

While researching back home how to obtain a visa to Myanmar from Bangkok, it quickly became apparent that the process wasn’t always consistent, nor would it necessarily be easy.  The forums we poured through shared many commonalities on the process, yet there were sometimes discrepancies.  As we learned much about the process from these forums, we thought it necessary to share the most current process of obtaining a visa to Myanmar from The Embassy of The Republic of the Union of Myanmar in Bangkok.

1. Get there early!  At least 60 minutes prior to opening, which is 9:00 am.  The importance of this will be revealed shortly.  If you can get there earlier, do it!

2. While not necessary, having a visa application form before hand will save you LOTS of time.  Walk 100 meters from the entrance until you find a yellow sign at an alley that reads “Photo & Copy Fax”.  Proceed down the alley to this shop and ask for an application.  For just 8 baht ($0.27), they’ll not only provide you with the gift of time, but they’ll also photocopy your passport!

3. Make your way back to the embassy, and wait.  As is the case in any situation, closest to the front of the line is best! Don’t play the nice card and let somebody cut in front of you.

4. Wait some more.

5. At 9:00 sharp, the door to the embassy will open, at which point there will be a mad scramble, and of course some confusion.  There are 4 windows at the counter to line up at, all with different purposes.  Proceed to the very left hand window, which is counter 4.  At this window you’ll receive an application form if you didn’t do Step 2.  If you DID complete Step 2, you’ll still need to line up at this counter.

6.  Getting to the embassy early and having an application form already filled out is of the utmost importance if you don’t want to waste a day waiting around.  Without an application, you wait in line, ask for a form, and then sit down and fill it out.  You’ll then need to get in line again to have your forms checked and then you’ll be given a number.  These numbers determine the order that people will be served to finally submit the application.  With an application already complete, you’ll wait in the first line just once, receive a number when you get to the front, and sit back down until you’re called to submit your application.  Rumour has it that only about 40 numbers are given out per day.  Thus, if you arrive too late, or are too slow to fill out the application form, you could risk not getting a number, or worse, having to wait in the embassy for many hours just to submit your application!  If you don’t get served from 9-12, you’ll have to wait until after lunch when the embassy reopens from 1-3.

7. When your number is finally called after having your forms checked, you have the option of obtaining your Visa in 1, 2, or 3 days.  Obviously, the quicker you need it, the more you’ll pay.  We opted for the 3-day option, and it cost 810 baht ($27).  Same day Visa is around 1200 baht ($40).

8. Picking up your passport is easy, though chaotic as well.  Pick-up time is strictly between 3:30 and 4:30 as the sign says.  When we arrived at 3:00, the embassy was already quite full with people waiting to pick-up.  No line or anything.  It’s first come first serve.  Everybody for themselves!  At about 3:20, somebody behind the counter flinched, and 50 “civilized” tourists waiting patiently immediately pushed and shoved their way to the counter, only to stand & wait, crammed & grouchy, until 3:30 as the sign read.

9.  When the counter window opens, it takes no time at all to pick-up your passport.  Just be sure to check that it is indeed yours.  In Asia, you never know!  :)

**Note** Since writing this story, the Visa application process for Myanmar seems to have gotten easier.  Even high-tech!  Visit the following website for more info:

http://www.myanmarvisa.com/

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Categories: How To, Myanmar, Thailand, Travel Tales

Author:Thomas & Katherine

A love for travel, adventure, and photography. We just can't help but write about it!

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