This is our experience/record of crossing the Thailand-Lao border on Saturday, 21 January 2017. Our traveling party consisted of two people and two motorcycles. We started at 9:54am and finished at 11:40am.
Border Name: Thai-Laos Friendship Bridge at Nong Khai
Closest major cities: Nong Khai, Thailand and Vientiane, Laos
Costs: $101.08 (Exit fees for Thailand 30 Baht per person. Entry fees for Laos $35 per person for visa, $1 per person bridge tax, 230 Baht per motorcycle, and 260 Baht per person for insurance)
Paperwork required at border:
*Thailand departure card (stapled in passport)
*Thailand vehicle permit package
*Thailand customs vehicle declaration form
Note: we keep all originals in individual plastic sleeves. We labeled these sleeves clearly to avoid confusion as to what was what, to keep original documents clean, and to differentiate what is original and what is a copy. All border-crossing officials have respected the sleeve.
Just prior to the bridge over the Mekong into Laos is the Thai immigration/border offices. The offices are on both sides of the road. Upon entry we were directed to drive towards booth 4 and park.
Step 1 – Immigration: At booth 4D, we handed the official our passports with the stapled departure card, the customs vehicle declaration form, and the Thailand vehicle permit package that had been stapled and stamped upon our entry into Thailand. The package included photocopies of our entry declaration, vehicle permit, insurance, passport, and motorcycle title. The officer kept the entry package and returned our customs declaration form. He stamped our passports and kept the departure card. We also paid an exit fee of 30 Baht (US$0.84) per person.
Step 2 – Customs: We walked over to booth 6D and handed in our customs vehicle declaration form. We were finished.
Total time to exit was ten minutes.
Drive across the bridge and you find immigration, customs, and vehicle registration. Following signs we parked in the line up for private vehicles with nothing to declare.
Step 1 – Immigration: Walk across the road to the immigration window where you will be provided with a visa application form. We did not get visas prior to entry. Fill out the form and provide your passport along with your passport photo and visa fee (for US-citizens it was US$35 plus $1 bridge fee). About three minutes later our passports were returned with 30-day visa stamp.
Step 2 – Customs: Booth number A1 provided us with a temporary vehicle import form to fill out and told us to find office 15A. Finding the office was the hardest part of our day as it isn’t signed from outside the building. It is inside the building just down from the immigration window, you enter to the right of the window that says “payments customs and other obligations”. You walk in and then you will see signs pointing to the office. We walked into the office and provided our passports, vehicle titles, and filled in temporary vehicle import form. We requested a 30-day permit (usually they just give you 15-days). The officer signed the bottom of the form writing that we were approved for 30-days. We returned to the original window (A1) with our signed form and provided that along with the vehicle titles and 230 Baht (US$6.43) fee per motorcycle and the officer put all our information into the computer. Then she returned our vehicle titles along with a printed out temporary vehicle import permit.
Step 3 – Insurance: There are three or four insurance offices just across from the immigration and customs building. We randomly picked one and purchased a one-month policy. A one-month policy per motorcycle was 260 Baht (US$7.27).
Total time to enter was 1 hour and 30 minutes.