A Door Opens

A new consulate, the Royal Thai Consulate in Vancouver, opens.
Story Alex Hamilton

Employees at the Royal Thai Consulate in Vancouver are excited about their new workplace. The smell of fresh paint lingers in the air, the carpets are unspoiled and everything from the mirrors to the desks gleams.

It took Thai officials a full year to find the new downtown site and renovations took a further three months. The total cost of the building including renovations, was approximately $1.5 million Cdn.

“I feel very lucky to work here,” said Consul Bhavivarn Naraphallop, who moved to Vancouver from Thailand last year. It’s quite modern and it’s such a big space compared to the old office. I’m proud to work in a building that the Thai government owns.”

The Prime Minister of Thailand, General Chavalit Yong-chaiyudh, officially opened the new consulate last November during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference. “Vancouver is perceived as the gateway to Southeast Asia,” he said. “Business in B.C. is linked to business in Asia.”

The consulate can help provide information on any aspect of trade, and is equipped to certify business documents. The consulate also handles all non-immigrant visas for residents living in B.C., Alberta, the Yukon and Washington State-it’s closer for Seattle residents to use the Vancouver consulate than to go to Los Angeles. Previously, visa applications had to be sent to Ottawa, which took weeks for delivery and processing. Now, the new consulate can process visas in one business day.