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Coss

Important News from Vientiane - Royal Thai Embassy.

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Lots has changed since I last was there, even for the locals, whether or not they can operate the big computers is a big question. The new guy at the top has apparently sacked 1,800 corrupt folk from the government, so there is improvement.

But as to the Thai Embassy, I don't know, I've always just got a visa waiver, on arrival for Thailand, never staying more than what ever the limit is.

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I went to the Thai embassy in Vientiane to get a non immigrant visa a few years ago when I was in the process of changing my status here, about to happen again soon but that's another story. I don't think I could have been prepared for quite what I found on arrival, just a regular Tuesday as I recall and yet at opening time the queue was already at the entrance gate, a rough count suggested maybe 500 people in line. It took a few hours so conversations were struck up with neighbours in the queue, friendships formed. Didn't believe the one about a full on relationship leading to marriage and the birth of offspring, but it was a long queue. They were indeed a motley crew, families obviously visiting for tourism and a large number of what I can only assume were itinerant education employees. I would only suggest they might be teachers after reviewing their competency which for the ones I spoke with seemed questionable. Many from other Asian countries, a large contingent from The Philippines. Thai agents running up and down the queue pulling individuals or small groups out of the line presumably when their bribe had been accepted and they were fast tracked. A lot of checking at first one desk, then another, then a submission, then a ticket issued. Returning the following day it was a similar though somewhat shorter process and all of this took place essentially outside under some awnings in the grounds of the visa section, which is not at the embassy.

In somewhat commonplace fashion for this part of the world it was akin to organised chaos. Moving from this to an appointment based system, used by many countries for years already seems both understandable and reasonable, if it works and in particular if it removes the "fast track" variable which seems unfair.

Applying for a visa anywhere should be an experience nothing less than checking in to a decent quality hotel.

 

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