Having relocated to Phuket, Thailand in November 2017 it seemed in no time at all that my tourist visa was heading towards expiry with 2018 fast approaching. I've travelled to Thailand to learn the language - its long been a dream of mine to do so after 15 visits to the Kingdom. A long time subscriber to the fluent in 3 months blog & having listened to Gabriel Wyner's audiobook Fluent Forever before I knew it here I was, slap bang in the middle of Patong, Phuket.
Once enrolled in a 24 week 'Easy Going Thai' language course, (check out my post on the topic) the school prepared all the required documents which were submitted to the Thai Education Department. Within around 5 weeks, I received approval. With my new documents in hand I decided to travel to Penang, Malaysia on a direct flight from Phuket, a short one hour flight away due to convenience & an opportunity to visit Penang Island for the first time.
I've produced a YouTube video of the experience so that you can see for yourself what a visit to the Royal Thai Consulate General in Penang is like. See below for a link.
Following the day of my arrival into Penang I took a taxi - Mr. Sunny's awesome taxi service (we were to spend quite a few hours together touring George Town) from my hotel the G Hotel Kelawai for the short 10 minute drive to the Consulate. There is a bit of a process when visiting the Royal Thai Consulate-General office however as I've now experienced this personally I hope the video & this companion guide assists those taking the trip to Penang for the first time. So here's my step by step guide to a hassle free visit to secure your new Thai Visa from Penang, Malaysia.
Thai Education Visa
Preparation (Before You Go)
For anyone that's navigated their way through the often confusing activity of securing a new visa for Thailand, they will no doubt know the rules can be fluid, to say the least. Inconsistent advice, changes & crackdowns on visa runs are often discussed amongst expat communities throughout the Kingdom. Realistically one person's experience can differ significantly from that of another - the randomness of life in Thailand. The key is to be prepared for all eventualities if you want to save time & money in the long run. Don't take anything to chance & have all required documentation ready for presentation if requested by officials. So I hope you find the following 6 Step Guide To Securing A Thai Visa In Penang helpful.
Marina, George Town, Penang
Step 1: Check Your Passport
Will your passport remain valid for the next 6 months & does it have 2 blank pages available?
Taxi's queued outside the Embassy Gates
Step 2: Determine The Type Of Visa You Require
The Royal Thai Consulate-General Penang only issue Single Entry Tourist Visas to foreigners (only Malaysian Nationals are eligible to apply for Multiple Entry Tourist Visas). Single & Multiple Entry Non Immigrant Visas are issued to foreigners also at this location & further information on these can be found below.
The pathway to happiness - & a new Thai Visa!
Step 3: Applying For A Visa
A deep dive into the Visa types available in Penang, Malaysia for foreigners (meaning non-Malaysians).
Single Entry Tourist Visa:
(Click on the links to access the handy checklist)
- Tourist Visa (TR) for applicant from a non-listed country.
- Tourist Visa (TR) for applicant from a listed country.
Note: Applicants from listed countries must reside in Malaysia & additional documents are required in support of the application. Before completing the Tourist Visa Application Form check to see if you qualify for a Tourist Visa Exemption & Visa on Arrival.
Watch the YouTube Video of my visit to the Thai Embassy in Penang, Malaysia.
Non-Immigrant Visas (which encompass the following categories):
(Click on the links to access the handy checklist)
- Business, Employment, Teacher Employment (B)
- Education, Conference/Meeting (ED)
- Volunteer (O)
- Retirement & Visa Applicant Dependant (O-A)
A single Visa Application Form is used for all of the above (Tourist & Non Immigrant) & can be downloaded here.
Photocopy van adjacent to Embassy Gates
A video demonstrating how to fill in the application form & how to prepare documents before attending the Royal Thai Embassy can be found here although I found it more directed towards Malaysian Nationals.
Step 4: Visa Costs:
Having determined the type of Visa you require it basically comes down to cost. The following is what you can expect to pay as of January 2018.
Single Entry Tourist Visa (60 Days)
150RM / Approx USD$38 / AUD$48 / GBP28
Single Entry Non Immigrant Visa (90 Days)
300RM / Approx USD$76 / AUD$96 / GBP56
Multiple Entry Non Immigrant Visa (1 Year)
750RM / Approx USD$187 / AUD$239/ GBP138
Gate House - Log Book Sign In
Step 5: Lodging Your Visa Application:
Prepare All Required Documentation Associated With Your New Visa
Royal Thai Consulate General Penang, Malaysia 2018
Whether you require a Single Entry Tourist Visa or a Multiple (or Single) Entry Non Immigrant Visa, there are certain supporting documents which are required at the time of lodgment.
These may include (but not limited to):
- A photocopy of the main page of your passport.
- A number of passport photos.
- A letter of acceptance from a language school.
- A letter of approval from the Thai Education Department.
- A copy of a return airline ticket from Thailand to Malaysia.
- A copy of hotel reservation or confirmation of your accommodation details in Thailand.
- A copy of a recent bank statement showing 'sufficient' funds to live in Thailand for the duration of your stay.
While some of the above are a mandatory requirement, others fall into grey areas such as proving you have 'sufficient' funds to accommodate your stay in Thailand. Personally, I prefer to be prepared for any & all possibilities, consequently I took all of the above with me - just in case.
If you can plan to arrive a little before the opening hour, trust me you won't be alone - as the Embassy only processes a certain number of applications per day, you don't want to miss out. On entering the grounds you'll be required to stop at the manned gate house & register your details in the log book including:
- Full Name
- Passport Number
- Type of Visa you are applying for.
Once your application & been accepted you will be issued with an 'Acknowledgement Slip' which must be presented at the counter the following day in order to collect your passport.
Step 6: Collecting Your Passport:
As the whole process occurs over two consecutive days on the day of your return to the Consulate to collect your passport, your morning is free to explore George Town.
Don't forget to bring your Acknowledgement Slip with you - its required for presentation at the counter in order to collect your Passport. Collecting your passport is a fairly quick process, no more than 10-15 minutes in total. Then you are away & back to Thailand.
The Royal Thai Consulate General Penang Details:
- Address: 1, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, 10350 George Town, Pulau Pinang.
- Phone: (04) 226-8029 / (04)226-9484
- Email: email@example.com
The application process occurs over two days:
- Day 1: (Morning) Complete & lodge application form.
- Day 2: (Afternoon) Collect passport with new Visa.
During certain times of the year the office is closed for Thai & Malaysian National holidays so check the below information before making travel plans. Download a copy of the 2018 calendar here.
Visa Lodgment & Collection Times:
Visa Applications are lodged between the hours of 9:30am - 11:30am Monday to Friday.
Visa Collections are undertaken between 2:30pm - 5:00pm Monday to Friday.
Royal Thai Consulate General Grounds
Travelnanna's Top 10 Penang Visa Run Tips:
Download & complete the application form before you go. Don't worry if you are unable to answer all the questions, you can seek clarification when lodging your form at the visa counter.
Ensure you have all copies of required documents & cash in the correct amount to pay for your Visa.
Remember to take a pen with you as the Consulate do not supply them.
On the street outside the Consulate there are many taxis available for those looking for transport into George Town (12-15 minutes away) Taxi One Way - Approx: RM15-20.
Due to the high number of applications the Royal Thai Embassy only accepts & processes a maximum of 130 applications per day, so arrive early to avoid disappointment.
A mobile van offering photocopy services is parked adjacent to the entry gates to the Consulate. Cost RM2 for the first copy, RM1 for each additional copy.
Before heading to the Consulate its recommended to dress conservatively & avoid wearing clothing that may embarrass yourself or others. Remember you are visiting a Muslim country.
Visa enquiries are not accepted by phone & can only be made via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Same day Visa processing is not available.
Don't get ripped off by the local taxi drivers, go with a reliable service such as Mr. Sunny's Taxi Service. His details are included above & in my YouTube Video.
Mr. Sunny's spotless taxi
Mr. Sunny's contact details for those seeking reliable transport at a great price when in George Town.