I just wanted to briefly inquire: Does someone here by any chance know if bhikkhunīs and those unordained (Anāgārikas, Mae Chees etc.) can obtain a one-year visa for Thailand (Non-Immigrant Visa R; for religious purposes) with the help of a sponsoring monastery? Thank you!
A friend of mine (as a Mae Chee) did this recently (first a tourist visa and then extended with a visa for religious purposes), the monastery arranged everything so I am not sure about the details.
Thai embassy, Washington DC has the following information-
Visa procedures for Religious / Missionary works (R)
and their spouses or children (O)
1. If the applicant does not have a valid visa or re-entry permit, the applicant must request a visa, at least 15 working days before the intended date of travel, by filling in the information and upload all required documents online at https://www.thaievisa.go.th/ (Please note that the visa application fee is non-refundable)
2. Required documents to upload in the system
2.2 Two passport-size photographs (2″x 2″)
2.4 Invitation letter or an official letter from the religious organization (For example, the church, temple, etc.)
2.5 An approval letter from the Religious Affairs Department
2.6 Proof of flight confirmation/reservation, indicating the trip from US to Thailand
2.7 Copy of recent bank statement ($700 per person and $1,500 per family). The name of the applicant must be indicated clearly), In case of submitting a family bank statement, proof of relationship (i.e. birth certificate, marriage certificate) must be provided.
hope that might help!
A few years ago it wasn’t easy for a bhikkhuni to get such a visa. Things may have changed
In the case of Thailand (is Sri Lanka the same?) government websites are notoriously out-of-date or incomplete in their information. In this case the information isn’t wrong per se, it just elides the real sticking point: step 2.5: “An approval letter from the Religious Affairs Department” This single bullet point is where the real application happens.
So, no, not really helpful.
Ahhh… so perhaps one needs to be invited by a Thai monastery which has some ‘influence’ / ‘connections’ etc to get this done?
Thai visa process has definitely become extremely cumbersome after the pandemic. My wife and I wanted to do a short tourist trip to Bangkok (for shopping!! ) and the documentation needed was far more than we ever needed earlier. Its almost like they don’t want Tourists!
Some years ago I was lay supporter at a Thai monastery. They helped arrange 3 month visas for me with a letter but I did have to do a visa run each time.