Getting a non-immigrant “B” visa outside the country
To get a non-immigrant “B” visa you need a letter of recommendation from your company that you present to a Thai consulate in another country.
The letter should state that the applicant has been offered a job, that the company requests that the applicant be given a non-immigrant visa so the company may apply for a work permit for them, and that the company knows the person to be dependable, upstanding, etc. Be sure to ask for the letter several days before you leave the country. They also ask for registration documents from the company you are going to work for. Ask a Thai employee to find out exactly what is required in this case. Recently, consulates have been warning people who have non-immigrant visas that they must present their work permits to get another visa next time (they even stamp this message next to the visa), but this may be just a scare tactic by the consulate.
The Penang and Kota Baru consulates seem to have no qualms about giving out visas although occasionally they give people a hard time. After all, they are visa mills and have to deal with several hundred demanding farangs each day. Just be patient and smile.
Kuala Lumpur and Singapore do not seem to be a problem and can be a good choice since they do not usually handle the hoards of Khao Sarn Road farangs who descend on Penang. Both cities are rather expensive though. The Manila consulate is virtually empty and they seem to have no problem issuing any kind of visa. Penom Pehn seems to be no problem either, but you have to fly there.
Avoid Hong Kong. Hong Kong savagely and capriciously rejects most everyone. The Hong Kong consulate staff likes to loudly shout to the rejected applicants that they should have gone to Penang to get their visas.
There is no problem getting any type of visa from a consulate in the U.S., Australia, or Britain. They can even issue Multiple Entry Non-Immigrant Visas. So can even the Hawaiian Thai consulate do! There are also new consulates in Ho Chi Mihn City and Hanoi, but we have no word on their policies yet.
In any case CHECK AHEAD! Conditions change like the wind, so if you are going to a consulate other than Penang or Kota Baru, you better scour the net for the latest travelers’ tales. It could save you money in the long run. For instance, the consulate at Vientiane got a new consular in July, 2001 and for several months many routine visas were capriciously denied. Then suddenly the consular lightened up and all was back to normal.
Always bring 2 passport size photos with you when applying for a Thailand visa.
Beware of consulate officials asking you things like “how do you like working in Thailand?” This is way to trick you into admitting you have been working without a permit. There’s no such thing as a friendly, chatty consulate official. Keep your story straight and be ready to say. “I haven’t started working yet. I need to get a work permit first.”
Multiple entry Non-Immigrant Visa
Your best choice is a Multiple entry visa.