Friday, April 24, 2009

Applying for a Myanmar visa

Applying for a Myanmar visa is now easier after the embassy streamlined rules on documents required and extended its working hours.

The embassy claims it now requires fewer documents and has extended opening hours with both morning and afternoon sessions.

According to tour operators in Thailand, the visa procedures are more convenient as a visitor is required to submit a passport, a photocopy of the passport, two photographs, an application form for a tourist visa and the appropriate fee.

Before, visitors had to present their bank statements, copy of house registration, in addition to all the above travel documents.

A tourist visa still takes three working days and currently costs Bt810, but tour operators said they no longer need to queue. Generally, if visitors apply through a travel agency, the visa will cost Bt1,000. “In the past we had to queue as early as 0500, now you can just go and apply for the visa any time during the day,” said one of the tour operators, who works with the embassy.

The additional charge for a same-day visa is Bt450 and Bt225 for a two-working day visa. However, in order to get the same-day visa, visitors need to be there early in the morning to gain approval by mid-afternoon.

The Embassy of the Union of Myanmar is open for visa applications from Monday to Friday, 0900 to 1200 and 1400 to 1630. Although visas applications are usually done individually, a group visa is possible. It depends on whether the tour company has a close relationship with the embassy.

Journalist, photographers or any one related to the Thai military face a more complicated process. They are likely to be refused, or face delays while a lengthy process of authorisation comes through from Yangon.

The Myanmar Embassy is located at 132 Sathorn Nua Road in Bangkok.

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