Bangkok Phil

Renewing a UK passport in Bangkok

A fairly painless procedure



Update 3rd November 2018 - thank you for all the very kind comments that have been posted about this blog and it's nice to see that the info has helped a lot of people.  Although my UK passport renewal was over a year ago, it doesn't seem as if the process has changed at all. Not at the moment anyway. So you can read this blog with confidence.  


Today (4th October 2017) I applied for a new 10-year UK passport at the 'HM Passport Office' on Sukhumwit Soi 13 in Bangkok. Even though my current passport is valid for another year, I'm quickly running out of pages (sound familiar?) so it needs to be replaced.

As several readers have pointed out, the place where you will renew your UK passport isn't actually an official HM Passport Office but outsourced to a company called VFS. However, this blog is all about what you need to do to renew a UK passport in Bangkok so please indulge me if I call it a UK Passport office or something similar. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter what we call it.

Applying for a new passport was actually a very straightforward procedure and I was in and out of the building within ten minutes. However, like many bureaucratic processes in Thailand, advance preparation is key. In terms of paperwork, it's all about getting your ducks in a row so that the actual application day goes as smoothly as possible.

There are a number of online blogs that outline the process involved but none of them really go into enough detail - and I'm a details man!

Before I start, let me just point out that I haven't picked up the new passport yet. Only when I have the new passport in my hand will it be a case of mission accomplished. So I'll keep this blog updated right to the end of the process (including picking up the new passport and transferring visa stamps from the old passport to the new passport at Thai immigration)

But for now, we are just concerned with the passport renewal.

OK, here's an overview of what you need to take to the passport office. Don't worry, I'll go into detail for each one of the six requirements later.

1) A completed application form
2) Two passport-size photographs
3) Proof of address (in English)
4) A completed credit card payment form
5) Photocopies of your current passport (every single page)
6) Your appointment letter


Side-note - this blog is getting quite a lot of readers and as a result, I'm receiving a significant number of questions on Thai immigration procedures and other UK passport services. Sorry, but I can't answer them.  You need to fire the questions at either an immigration officer or the UK passport office (VFS) in Bangkok.  

This blog is just one man's experience of applying for a UK passport in Thailand. I can't answer questions on people's visa re-entry stamps or whether your bank can provide you with a statement, etc, etc. You need to ask these questions to the appropriate people.  Please keep this in mind.


Location

The passport office, where you will make your application to renew a UK passport, is located on the 28th floor of The Trendy Building on Sukhumwit Soi 13 in Bangkok. 

It's not a particularly busy office - at least it wasn't when I was there at nine 'o' clock in the morning.

Assuming you will go by sky-train, Sukhumwit soi 13 is about half-way between BTS Asoke and BTS Nana. The walk from BTS Asoke is far more pleasant - and if you're a little early for your appointment, there are a few decent coffee shops on the way.

Once you arrive at Soi 13, The Trendy Building is just a hundred metres or so up the soi, on the right-hand side. It's not a particularly pleasant or welcoming building. It's not a place where you'll want to linger and spend more time than necessary.


Side-note - Many of the businesses on the Trendy Building's ground floor are geared towards providing services for Thai visa applicants (photocopying, translation services, etc) and because a number of countries (including the UK) outsource their visa application services to offices in The Trendy Building, the lobby area of the building can get a tad chaotic. There are always lots of visa agents milling around, providing a relatively inexpensive service to those Thais who are too busy to come into town and apply for a foreign visa themselves. But none of these people concern us. I'm merely just painting a picture for you.



Important! Straight in front of you (when you enter the Trendy Building lobby area) you will see a dedicated VFS information desk, manned by an English-speaking and very helpful Thai lady. She will be an eventual point of contact and we'll be coming back to her later.

Requirements

OK, let's get back to the six requirements mentioned in the overview and take each one in turn.

1) A completed application form

OK, let's get this form filled in! You can download and print off the application form (a four-page pdf file) at this link.

There are TEN sections to the application form and it can appear daunting at first glance, but don't get stressed out. A number of the sections you don't even need to bother with if it's a straightforward renewal for a UK adult passport.

Work your way through the application form (don't forget to use black biro ink ONLY)

Two important points to bear in mind.

In section one of the form, you need to check the box if you want the sooper-dooper 48-page passport or just stick to the standard 32-page one.

The 32-page passport is £106.01
The 48-page passport is £114.01

Both prices include a courier fee (the cost of delivering your passport from the UK to Thailand)

In section 10 of the form, you have a decision to make - whether or not you need a counter-signatory. This is when someone - a friend, a doctor or a retired army colonel (if you're lucky enough to know one) signs the back of one of your passport photos with the following;

‘I certify that this is a true likeness of [title and full name of adult or child who is getting the passport].' 

Then they sign and date the photograph.

The counter-signatory also needs to fill in section 10 of the application form for you.

You can get all the information about who qualifies as a counter-signatory at this link.

What's interesting - and I researched this - is if you do not feel that your appearance has changed much in the last ten years (when you got your current passport) then you are free to skip section ten completely and not bother with a counter-signature. That's certainly what it says on the official UK Government website.

Personally, I didn't want to take the risk. So I invited a good friend for lunch (a guy who has known me for well over five years) and got him to sign one of my passport photos and complete section 10 of the application form.

Just to balance things out, Joshua from Khon Kaen got in touch at the end of October 2018 after reading this blog and going through the UK passport renewal procedure himself.  Joshua said "I did NOT fill in section 10 of the application form and neither did I bother with a counter-signature. And I had no problems at all. I am now the proud owner of a new 10-year UK passport"  

2) Two passport-sized photographs

The photos must measure 45 millimetres high by 35 millimetres wide (the standard size used in photo booths in the UK)

As we covered in the previous point, the first of your two photos will be signed on the reverse by a counter-signatory (if you decide to go down the counter-signature route), your second photograph will be blank. 

If you have found the secret of eternal youth and your appearance hasn't changed much in the last ten years, then BOTH of your photographs will be blank. 

I got my passport photos from the photography shop in The Emporium Shopping Mall (BTS Prompong) The shop is on the third floor of the mall (not 100% sure of that) but just a couple of doors away from Boots the chemists. They were very professional in there and knew exactly what I needed. It took five minutes to take my picture and I collected the photos an hour later. I think they cost about 150 baht for a dozen. 

There are of course photography shops all over the city and I'm sure getting passport-size photos done is going to be the least of your worries.  

3) Proof of address (in English)

For many applicants, this part is the real pain in the ass - and I'm no exception. For example, all the utility bills to our house are addressed to my wife and the address is always in Thai.

In the end, I decided to submit three bank statements with my address clearly shown in English as part of my application, and the receiving officer was more than happy. Three bank statements was probably overkill though. I'm sure I would have got away with just one.

Thai banks are actually very helpful here if you go in and ask for something nicely. For a small fee, any bank will usually issue you with a bank statement showing your address in English. It might cost you a hundred or perhaps a couple of hundred baht - and you may need to go back to collect it the following day - but you'll get the job done. 

Other acceptable forms of ID could include a work permit, a driving licence, a utility bill or an employment letter but be aware that anything in Thai has to be translated into English, giving you yet another hoop to jump through.

There are numerous offices on the ground floor of The Trendy Building offering translation services and I noticed one them was quoting 150 baht a page on their window, but I really have no idea how long it would take them. Personally, I wouldn't risk messing around with getting translations done on the day of your passport renewal unless you have plenty of time to spare.

4) A credit card payment form

Cash is NOT accepted at the passport office. You will need to download and fill in the credit card payment form. It can either be your credit card or someone else's. I used my wife's card so she had to provide her signature on the form. It's pretty self-explanatory. Download the form here.

Chris, an ajarn reader from Bangkok, also went through this UK passport renewal process a few months ago and he says "I just want to point out that you can also pay by debit card (even one for a Thai bank account) if you don't have, or don't want to use a credit card" 

Thanks for that Chris.

5) Photocopies of your current passport (every page)

Now this is where things start to get expensive. You need to photocopy - in colour - EVERY single page of your existing passport. For me that was a whopping 30 pages at 20 baht a copy.  600 baht! Ouch!

Once again, it's all about getting your ducks in a row. 

I had done my color photocopying a couple of weeks beforehand when I happened to be in the Sukhumwit area and I decided to use one of the photocopy shops in The Trendy Building. I figured at least these guys would know what they are doing.

That said, perhaps you can find somewhere that does colour photocopying cheaper than 20 baht a page. Good luck!

6) Your appointment letter

You have to make an appointment with the passport office in advance. You can't just turn up uninvited. Here's how you do it.

Send a short e-mail to BangkokHMPO@vfshelpline.com and explain that you are looking to renew a UK adult passport. Then request THREE dates.

I requested either the 4th, 5th or 6th October and I cheekily asked for a morning slot if possible (if you don't ask, you don't get)

I got an e-mail reply within half an hour asking me to come on 4th October at 8.50 am. The service really is excellent!

The e-mail not only confirms your appointment but gives you a lot of background information that thanks to reading this blog, you will already know.

Print off the appointment e-mail because you will need to take that with you on your application day.

Application Day

Time things so you arrive at The Trendy Building about 15-20 minutes before your scheduled appointment (there's really no point arriving any earlier) 

You've already got all your colour photocopies, application form, proof of address etc, etc arranged in a nice folder (you have, haven't you? Good)

Go and see the nice lady at the VFS information desk on the ground floor (remember her?) and she will be expecting you Mr Bond. She will tick your name off her appointment list anyway and direct you towards the elevator.

Take the elevator up to the 28th floor. Go through security. Take a queue number at the desk. Finally, file your application when your number is called.

The officer checks all your application documents and gives you a ‘collection document' (we could even refer to this as a 'receipt') 

The officer told me that my new passport would arrive in three to four weeks, possibly even sooner. Plus of course he would give me a letter for Thai immigration to help facilitate any transfer of visa stamps.

To reiterate, the whole application process took me less than ten minutes and everything was handled courteously and professionally. I couldn't have been more impressed and many of my friends on social media echoed the same thoughts. How rare it is in Thailand to undertake a bureaucratic process and end up thinking ‘shit, what am I going to do with the rest of the day?'

Job done. Go and have a well-earned cup of coffee.

Finally, this is the actual UK Government website where you can click through the process and go over the information again.



Update - Monday 16th October

Received a very nice e-mail from the passport office this morning to say that my new UK passport is now ready for collection. So from the day of application, the process of getting a replacement passport has taken just 12 days. Wow! I'm impressed.

They also called my wife on her mobile phone to tell her that her husband's new passport was ready for collection (I always give out my wife's mobile number as my contact because I often don't answer my own phone or even hear it ringing. I hate phones!) 

The e-mail says that there is no need to make an appointment for a collection. I can go anytime from Monday to Friday between 9.00 am and 3.00 pm.

I need to take the receipt (which was given to me on the day of application), a copy of the e-mail letter informing me the new passport has arrived and thirdly, my old passport (which presumably they want to cut up) 

If you can't go in person, you can send a third party along to collect it on your behalf. They need to show 1) your old passport 2) their own form of ID and 3) an authority letter signed by you giving the third party authorization from you, stating his/her name and that you are permitting him/her to collect the passport on your behalf. 

I plan to pick the passport up on Thursday 19th.


A few comments from other UK passport renewers

Terry, a reader from Pattaya, said that he very recently went through this UK passport renewal process. When VFS sent him an e-mail to collect the new passport, he had to give them a specific time and collection date. Interesting, because that was not my experience at all.  VFS said I could come to pick up the new passport any time. 

Terry also went on to say that on his actual application day, he waited for ONE HOUR before he was called in to file his application. Again, not my experience at all.  I waited about five to ten minutes.

Jackem (another Ajarn reader) was also asked to request a specific time and date to pick up his new passport and this led to a somewhat confusing e-mail exchange. Jackem decided to ignore the e-mail completely and just turn up at VFS without an appointment. And he was successful!

What about Liz, who lives down in Hua Hin? Well, Liz's new UK passport took just 8 days to arrive and when it came to collecting the new passport, she was told she could come and pick it up at any time. 

This 'do you or don't you need to make an appointment to collect your new passport' seems to have suddenly become the 'cloudiest' part of the whole process.  To use an expression I often use in Thailand - 'it all depends which way the wind is blowing' 

It might be worth asking the application officer on the day that you make your application as to what the current collection procedure is.  

This of course is the problem with blogs of this nature. They are merely snapshots in time. They are one man's experience of what happened on a specific day. On another day with different dynamics at play, the experience might be vastly different. And of course rules and requirements can change.  Again, always bear that in mind.    



Update - Thursday 19th October (picking up the new UK passport)

I went along to the UK passport office at around midday and collecting the passport was a very simple 10-minute procedure.

I was served by the same kind and helpful young man who took care of my original application. He cut a corner off the old passport in that time-honored fashion and also gave me a request letter to show to Thai immigration in order to facilitate the transfer of my visa extension and re-entry permit from my old passport to the new one.

Initially I was quite surprised (and a tad disappointed perhaps) at how unofficial-looking and plain the request letter was, but on further inspection it does have a proper signature and an embossed stamp as well as the British Embassy crest. The actual body text of the letter contains blank spaces that you have to fill in yourself.

So the next stop is Thai immigration, which I plan to do on Tuesday the 31st October. Surprisingly, there is very little information on-line about transferring visas, etc from one passport to another. There are the usual expat forum threads which quickly descend into argument and disagreement (I really don't know why I bother) but there is virtually nothing written on the topic within the last three years. But as I often say, the best way to find out is to go through it yourself.

So let's see how easy or how difficult Thai immigration can make this. Fingers crossed.


Update - Tuesday 31st October (transferring extension of stay stamp and re-entry permit from old passport to new passport)

Well, that was about as easy as it gets when you make a trip to Thai immigration.

I needed to transfer two things from my old UK passport to the new one - firstly, a one-year extension of stay stamp and secondly, a multiple-entry re-entry permit.

Both of these things were issued to me in July 2017 so both were only a few months old.

The whole process once I had handed over my two UK passports (and a few photocopies) was LESS than fifteen minutes. You can't grumble at that. Plus there was NO charge for this service. I have read on several forum threads of people being charged a 500 baht service fee but that wasn't the case for me today. It was freemans. Whether that applies to all Thai immigration offices, I couldn't tell you.  

There is very little information on-line (until now) about transferring Thai stamps from one UK passport to another and it took me a good while to find the official form to download. I eventually found one on a blog belonging to an American guy in Chiang Mai. The blog was written over three years ago but here is the downloadable form and I can now assure you that the form hasn't changed at all. It's still the same fairly basic form.

OK, here's a checklist of what you need to take to immigration.

1) The official form mentioned above (filled in of course)

2) The official letter that was given to you by VFS / UK Passport office when you picked up your new passport (filled in)

3) A copy of your TM6 departure card

4) A copy of the photo page from your OLD passport

5) A copy of the photo page from your NEW passport

6) A copy of the page or pages showing your extension of stay stamp, re-entry permit, etc - in other words, the stuff that you want transferred to the new passport

7) A copy of your last entry stamp into Thailand

On a final note - and again this is only stuff that I've got from various expat discussion forums - you ONLY need to go to immigration if you want an extension of stay stamp transferred to a new passport (as in my case)

If you are here in Thailand on an actual visa that you obtained from a Thai embassy or consulate abroad - perhaps a tourist visa or a single entry non-immigrant B, etc - you do NOT need to go to immigration to transfer the visa to your new passport. Thai immigration can't do that anyway.

You can simply show BOTH of your passports to the immigration officer when you exit Thailand. Your old passport will have your visa in it (and it's still valid despite the passport being cancelled) and your new passport is your identification.

Please don't shoot the messenger. That final bit of info is only what I gleaned from expat forums and as we know, they are not always the most reliable source of info. As I tell everyone - if in doubt, go and speak to your local immigration office.



A pat on the back for VFS

Most or at least many of the foreign embassies in Bangkok now outsource their visa and passport services to the VFS company and VFS probably have several locations in the city.

Last year (2017) when my wife applied for a UK visa, she had to go to the VFS office at The Trendy Building in Sukhumwit 13 (the office we've been talking about above) Just a few weeks ago, she needed to apply for a Schengen visa to visit Austria. This time we needed to go to the VFS office in Silom Complex on Silom Road. It's here where they handle visa applications for Austria, Spain, Italy and probably one or two more.  

Going back to the VFS Silom office brought back painful memories. About six years ago, my wife applied for a Schengen visa to visit Spain. The VFS system was a mess! No one had to make an appointment. You just turned up. The reception area was chaos as dozens of visa applicants and visa agents frantically waved bits of paper at a young girl on the front desk who looked like she was about to burst into tears.

It took us an unbelievable EIGHT hours to apply for a visa that day! We returned home physically and mentally exhausted.

But thankfully those days are long gone. VFS has become a very professional, well-run and well-oiled machine. No one gets over the threshold unless they have an appointment and this of course means VFS controls the number of people in the office at any one time, making for an infinitely better experience.

Staff are always polite, e-mails are answered in a timely manner, and the whole system works well. My wife received her Schengen visa for Austria in less than a week!

I realise I've gone off on a bit of a tangent in this last section, but I wanted to heap some praise on VFS for running their operation so professionally. Well done!   





Comments

A Google search threw up this page which I have found extremely helpful and accurate. Just one small addition - there is a translation service at the rear of the ground floor with a 30 minute express service, charged me 300 baht for bank statement address and 500 baht each for I.D. card and yellow house book, pricy but efficient and helpful and the documents were accepted without question at HMPO on the 8th floor. Thank you.

By Michael, Bangkok (5th December 2018)

Just want to say a big thank you for taking the time to put this blog together, really, really helpful.

By Craig, Bangkok (15th November 2018)

Awesome info, thanks so much for writing this up.

Can confirm as of 13th Nov 2018, that this information is correct and up to date. Procedure was exactly as described here, I was also in and out of the building within 15 minutes.

Just one thing, the confirmation email I received from VFS had this paragraph in it:

> Her Majesty’s Passport Office have advised that some customers applying for their passport from outside of the UK have been provided with incorrect guidance relating to the supporting documents required in support of their passport application.

Not sure what that is in reference to, but I followed the instructions on this blog exactly and had no problems. So probably nothing to worry about.

By Alex, Chiang Mai (13th November 2018)

This article was a fantastic help thank you.
8 days after submitting my application I received the DHL tracking information. 3 days later, mid morning on Monday I had an email to say my passport was ready for collection, no appointment was necessary.
Both visits to Trendy building took about 10 minutes and a significant amount of that time was waiting for lifts!
Well done to all concerned - both professional staff and service.

By Liz, Hua Hin (3rd November 2018)

Absolute great article, don't know what I would have done without it, followed it to a tee and no problems. Sorry to ask you but it's like looking for a needle in a haystack, trying to find information in Thailand. When you renewed your UK passport did you have to change your driving licence.

By Graham Leiverws, Samutprakan (30th October 2018)

Just to add I also did not fill in Section 10 of the UK forms or have my photo countersigned and had no problem at all in obtaining a new passport.

By Joshua, Khon Kaen (29th October 2018)

Just want to confirm that I got my confirmation letter and that my renewed passport is ready to pick up.
So from 19th October it has only taken 10 days from start to finish.
The service from VFS has been professional in every way.
Many Thanks for the original blog.

By Joshua, Khon Kaen (29th October 2018)

Thank you for the original blog which was very clear and precise and I just want to add that I visited trendy building last week to renew my UK passport.All forms filled in,photos taken and appointment letter in hand.
All very professional and painless and you are right about alighting BTS at Asoke as it's a stones throw from the Trendy building.
No problem paying with my Bangkok Bank Debit card either.

By Joshua, Khon Kaen (26th October 2018)

I have to say reading all the info about UK passport renewal l was expecting bit of a hassle at the Trendy building....not so. The desk was easy to find as you walk in, just look to your left, present your appointment letter it will be stamped and advised to go to the 8th floor. The lift is situated at the rear of the building behind the coffee bar. My appointment was for 1415 hours o October 16th 2018. I went upstairs at 1330 hours, and was called straight in. 10 mins later. I was finished, given a paper which l must present when l return to pick up passport and advised l would be given a letter for tbe Thai immigration to transfer my retirement and multi entry visas. I was also given a DHL number to check the delivery status of the passport application to Liverpool. I have today October 23rd received an SMS from Dhl to say passport is on the way back and will be in Bangkok by the 25th. Now l just wait for the people in Bangkok to contact me to give me a date and time for collection of my new passport. Now that is good service but l will let you know how the collection of the new passport goes. My advice is get everything organized before you go, get translations and paperwork in orderand read through the form slowly so that you fill in all details correctly.

By Trish, Naiyang Phuket (23rd October 2018)

Many thanks and I have checked that the procedure is almost identical in Yangon, save for the absence of the Trendy building and any BTS station. Taxis only!

Keep up with your entertaining advice.

By Alasdair, Myanmar (18th October 2018)

Excellent information however visited this office in late August 2018 to find it has moved to the 8th FLOOR of the same building. Absolutely no problem. I had a routine enquiry regarding passport renewal no appointment was necessary for this problem quickly and easily sorted and I was furnished with the info I needed ready to make an appointment early next year (2019). Photos and translations all available in the same building for quite reasonable fees but allow about an hour for this. Was informed that the new passport takes four weeks to arrive. Once in possession of my new passport Thai Immigration (Nakhon Sawan) informed me that it was no problem to transfer my visa information however was advised to obtain my new passport before applying for my new annual visa as any visa issued against the old passport would only be valid for the life of that passport and on expiry I would have to start from square one again for visa renewaL.
Bit puzzled however as to the "Credit Card Payment Form" this was not mentioned during my meeting. I have Thai bank account and Debit card and also UK accounts Debit and Credit cards but I was given the impression they were quite happy with cash any one any ideas.

By brian Stocks, Thailand (13th October 2018)

Phil, you obviously kept hold of your passport whilst renewing? Hence all the page photocopying. I'm presuming if you are going to physically send your passport with the application, then the photocopying isn't necessary?

In case you were wondering, I hold two passports!

By Peter, Hua Hin (28th September 2018)

Hi Mate thanks for the useful information! I am doing the same deal but was worried (from what I have read) that once I have submitted for renewal that I would not be able to travel on the old passport. Did you get any information on this?

By Chris, Bangkok (26th September 2018)

My new passport is ready for collection. I must bring my old one AND 'When collecting the passport you must bring a document receipt checklist'.
What is receipt checklist and where do I get one please?

By Burton Schrader, Near Korat (18th September 2018)

I submitted renewal applications for two children's passports today. I requested an appointment yesterday afternoon and was told a slot was available today at 10:55. I arrived at the Trendy building 20 min early but couldn't see any VFS reception desk on the ground floor. I followed the sign for VFS at the back and was directed to join the queue for the lift. Don't go to the 28th floor- that is for visa applications. However, if the lift is full of visa agents you may miss your opportunity to get off at the 8th floor, which is for the UK passport office. I showed my appointment email to the clerk who ticked my name off the list and gave me a queue number. 5 min later I was served by a very helpful lady who checked the application forms and supporting documents for me. I had forgotten to get the house registration book translated, but brought the children's most recent school report as well. Fortunately, this was accepted as proof of residence although it has nothing much other than the child's name, exam results and School letterhead. My children are in an EP school and so their reports are in English. However, with hindsight it would have been better to get the house registration properly translated and certified beforehand. As the children are dual nationals, I had to submit full colour copies of both UK and Thai passports. This is quite expensive, especially the Thai one with 65 pages! I asked the lady if a countersignatory is required for adult renewal, and she said usually no. All done with 15 min with an excellent service. This was very welcome after the very tedious 2.5 h drive in morning traffic.

By Pathumthani Phil, Pathum Thani (12th September 2018)

Great article .Thank you. Submitted mine on 16 July ( with appointment made )
Collected on 29 July ( I notified them I would pick up next day after getting their email )
The "4 weeks" is obviously worst case after the UK " summer holiday" rush when I expect they are busy ...but very fast turnaround for me.
People, office, service and location all excellent.

By Bruce, Bangkok (28th August 2018)

Hi Phil

Thanks for the great info on the page. I followed it to the word and it was a great help and spot on.

My email for my passport collection was only 11 days after I visited.
Great service from the company from the staff to the organisation and security.

The only mayhem I encountered was downstairs in the Trendy Building. It is chaos! People not knowing where to go and what lift and floor to get.

Apart from that it's spot-on service.

By Shawn, Hua Hin (27th August 2018)

Thanks for the invaluable advice Ajarn Phil.
I followed your instructions to the letter and received my passport in 11 days without a hitch. However I had to send a time and date for collection of new passport.
Thank you

By Loddie, Bangkok (21st August 2018)

Fantastic information!
Thank you so much for having posted such clear & informative guidelines!
Just one question - I have 2 British/Thai kid's and both of their British passports have expired.
Would you have any idea if both applications could be done under the one appointment?
If you're not sure, no worries, I'll rummage around until I find out, and then I'll pass that info on so you can add it on here.
Keep up the great job, and many thanks for the help!

By Paul, Bangkok (14th August 2018)

I was suitably impressed with the valuable information regarding an application for a UK Passport renewal. It was a great help for me. My only concern was that when I eventually go to The Trendy Building next January, I will have to part with my current passport (it expires in August 2019) . This means I cannot travel back to Khonkaen by air so I'll have to suffer a six hour bus ride instead!

By Ajarn Anthony, Khonkaen (8th August 2018)

"I asked how long it will take to get my passport back, and they (hmp email) said it will take 4 weeks. If this is true then I run the risk of overstaying my visa. Is the 4 week quote just a standard response, and is it more than likely I'll receive back within 23 days? Or is there anything I can do (pay more etc) to get it back quicker?"

I have absolutely no idea sorry. These are questions you need to aim at the staff who work there.

By Phil, Samut Prakarn (7th August 2018)

Hi, great post.

I will be needing a new passport, and have been given an appointment date of 27th August.

However, my visa will finish on the 19th September (23 days after my appointment date).

I asked how long it will take to get my passport back, and they (hmp email) said it will take 4 weeks. If this is true then I run the risk of overstating my visa.

Is the 4 week quote just a standard response, and is it more than likely I'll receive back within 23 days?

Or is there anything I can do (pay more etc) to get it back quicker?

I'm just a little confused as I see in you post you got yours back in 2/3 weeks.

By Daniel, Phuket (6th August 2018)

Bit late in the day, perhaps, but...
David Mackenzie, Chonburi (29th January 2018) said...
"I would like to add that I don't have a credit card only a Thai bank debit card. For whatever reason the accounting department at UK passport office would not accept it but they contacted me with alternative ways to pay.

So, David, can you please tell me... what are the alternative ways to pay ?

My problem is much the same as yours. My bank (Kasikorn) won't give me a Credit Card. And you had a Debit Card refused.

By Big Al, Samui, Koh Samui (27th July 2018)

Many thanks Phil. Terrific information, clearly explained. The photography store is Eastbourne Cameras in shop E2-3, on what they call Level 2, but which the escalators/lifts still show as the 4th floor.

Like you state, VFS are very efficient, and called me that my passport was ready for pickup, which they backed up with an email. DHL also sent me an SMS!

However, the emailed pickup letter required me to arrange a pickup time and date by email (this hadn't been mentioned in the phone call). But when I sent this email, it triggered a confusing auto response that stated "this email address is ONLY for booking an appointment to submit a passport application." Hmm.

So ignoring my own requested appointment time, I just went to Trendy straightaway to pick up my passport, a procedure that took 10 minutes, as you describe. Checking my emails later, I realized that VFS had accepted the appointment time I had requested in my email. But by this time the new passport was in my pocket!

By Jackem, Bangkok (10th July 2018)

I have just had a message back from VFS that says once I've applied for a new passport I cannot use my old one? Which means I cannot do a visa run while the other passport is being sent here to Thailand.

By Kev, Thailand (11th June 2018)

Thanks for the post, Phil. Very helpful. Just one question - were you able to travel on your old passport after submitting your application and before you picked up your new passport? Thanks.

(Hi, actually I didn't need to. I started using the new one straight away because the visa stamps had been transferred)

By Rufus, Chiang Mai (4th June 2018)

I waited an hour until I asked how much longer it might be and not seeing anyone go in. They had forgotten I was there despite checking in on ground floor and on 28th. When I went in there were 3 attended counters but no customers. A bit frustrating and disorganised. The forms they filled in misspelt my name, e-mail and phone number but luckily I spotted the mistakes.

Could have been worse but should be better

By Giles, Bangkok, Thailand (24th May 2018)

Excellent information, could not be clearer. Thanks for taking the time to do this. One query - do I need to get a visa extension before I got to apply for the new passport, or can the extension be put into my current passport during the time I am waiting (if I need to get one). Thanks, Tom

By Tom, Patong (20th May 2018)

hi exelent ifo thanks just a note go to the embasy site and cheque the current price for renewing passport all other info is correct and makes things easy thanks for the help

By keith, sinarin (17th May 2018)

Latest advice received this week to collect a new passport specifically states that an appointment is needed for collection.

By Nick Fisher, Isaan (27th April 2018)

Thanks for this article, it was very helpful when putting my application together.

I applied 26th March, New passport was back here on the 19th April.

The biggest stroke of luck I had was using a copy shop at a University, the prices are much cheaper. I got my expiring passport fully copied in colour for under 100 baht.

For my documentation I used a couple of TRUE mobile bills and my Condo monthly bill, which did have the name and address in English.

The only brief snag I did hit was they couldn't get payment through on my Kasikorn Visa card. I had to phone through to the finance office in Belfast and they quickly got payment sorted using my TSB (UK) card instead.

I went and transferred visas today, all pretty painless (and free) apart from the usual waiting around at immigration.

By StraightOuttaBKK, Bangkok (24th April 2018)

Thanks for the info this has been really useful! I’m on sabbatical and travelling SE Asia with my 8 year old who’s passport has unfortunately become rather full (yes I should have renewed before I left uk ). I’ve sent an email to request an appointment at the VFS centre in Bangkok and also only received the automated response so far..... however, will wait a little longer. My queries if anyone can help :

1) will a counter signatory be essential for a child? Not sure I know anyone with the credentials in Thailand.
2) as we don’t have a permanent address in thailand will confirmation of UK address suffice?
3) we are due to travel to Tokyo on 18th (10 days) - can I use her old passport to make this trip or is the old one null and void once I’ve submitted the new application?

Thanks to all who can help in any way :)

By Emma walton , Myanmar (9th April 2018)

Many thanks Phil. Your post has helped me greatly.

When I got my daughter’s Passport a couple of years ago, I could use a Bangkok Bank Visa card to pay. However now Bangkok Bank have Union pay cards, which don’t work and Kasikorn debit Visa card likewise.

Also, I was asked to state an exact time and date to collect my passport. I requested Monday 9am; I got collected my passport, but I had to go to get the visa transfer form later the same day at 1pm because the embassy hadn’t sent it on time.

So when you prepare to collect your passport, please give yourself enough time in case of any problems.

By Nathan, Si Sa Ket (30th March 2018)

Excellent information indeed and yes got lots of information before.
One point I would like to clarrify and am sure seen from official sites, one can ont the day of the application for a new 10 year British passport, one can pay and EMS fee (but you must mention and pay on the day) and they send the new passport to your home address.
any confirmation of this would be appreciated
John West

By john west, kanachanaaburi (28th March 2018)

Fantastic information. Many thanks indeed.
Just one small question please.
This morning I went to have my passport photos taken and at the same time asked the person to copy every page of my existing passport in colour. He replied that the shop only had a black and white copy machine. He then asked me whether I wanted the copies for a passport renewal to which I replied yes. He then said it was okay to have the copies in black and white and he had done this lots of times for clients. Is this correct or is it mandatory for them to be in colour? Many thanks.

Phil - I was told by the passport office that the copies needed to be in colour. So I followed their directions. Personally I would trust the passport office over a bloke who runs a photocopying shop.

By Stuart, Bangkok (24th March 2018)

Great blog. Saved me just turning up thx

By Seb, Issan (21st March 2018)

Just picked up my new U.K passport today from Trendy VSF office soi 13 Bangkok. It has taken 13 days from application to collection. NOTE....... no appointment is nessesary to pick up your new passport, all that is needed is the receipt they gave you when you first applied and your old passport.

By Michael Burke, Bangkok (19th March 2018)

Hi Steven Thailand
Thanks for the info.
Just one more question for anyone out there. As proof of address will a translation of my yellow Tabien Ban or driving licence suffice? I have nothing else.

By Steve, Isaan (19th March 2018)

Just a question. The email address at HMPO office seems to be sending 'invalid' responses when I try to contact it, though last month I got a reply from them...? Anyone know a new address?

By Marie Hutchinson, Thailand, Hua Hin/Petchaburi/Bangkok (19th March 2018)

Steve, when I went through the whole process, I had similar with my bank account details. It made no difference. As long as the bulk of your paperwork is up to date regarding your current address, you should still receive a speedy and prompt service

By Steven, Thailand (15th March 2018)

Hi.
I live in Thailand and I will be providing my Thai address with my application to renew my UK passport. However my bank in the UK has a UK address for me which I will have to put on the debit card form.
Do you think having 2 addresses is going to complicate matters?
Thanks for your excellent blog :)

By Steve, Isaan (14th March 2018)

Thank you so much for that great blog, I have personally looked everywhere for information on this matter and weeks later stumbled across your blog. You've put my mind at rest.

Quick question - i've emailed them now and awaiting an urgent appointment (i have 1/2 pages left) I'm due to fly to the UK on holiday 18th April (I was going to renew there but wasnt sure how i would come back without my re-entry and visa)
If i renew from BKK as i read that they don't keep you old passport, what if i'm still out of the country when it comes back?

It's probably a silly question as i appreciate you don't work for them. But what do you reckon or anyone else that's reading this?

Hi - If you are not going to the UK until the 18th April, then you have plenty of time to get the passport done. It should be with you by the end of March if you can start the process asap.

By Tracey, BANGKOK (7th March 2018)

Hi Phil, followed your instructions and everything went as planed.
Can you guide me where i go to get my visa stamped onto my new passport at the new immigration center, it's huge. Thanks for all your precise help.

Hi Michael. Sorry, I have no idea. My local immigration office is Samut Prakarn. I don't go to Changwattana.

By Michael Burke, Bangkok. (6th March 2018)

Dear Phil,
I'm a dual national (Thai-Brit) and I'm renewing my British passport. My mother handed in the application form and supporting documents on my behalf at the VFS office. They gave her back my countersignatory's passport photocopy and said it was unnecessary as my photo is still recognizable compared to the old one. However, my countersignatory had already filled in section 10 in the application form and signed my photo. It means that the supporting documents are incomplete without his passport photocopy. Do you think this is strange? I'm very anxious as I need the passport before the end of April so naturally I don't want to prolong the process by missing some docs here and there. The only way I could think of now is to call the HMPO. Any other suggestions?
Sorry for my bad English.
Thank you!

Phil - I think you'll be OK but the truthful answer is I don't know. My blog above doesn't make me an expert on the system I'm afraid or even qualified to give out the kind of advice you are looking for..

By Alexandra C, Nankhon Nayok (28th February 2018)

This is a breath of fresh air...Help PLEASE.....passport application........do I copy every page separately.....Must I go to Bangkok again to collect my passport or can it sent to me via courier.......confusing for me about £23 courier fee.......proof of address in English.....I just received a letter about my UK pensions from UK.....I do not have anything else!!!???Thanks

By H Modha, CHANTABURI (26th February 2018)

Two years ago for proof of address I just kept explaining to the person processing all the long term visa stamps I had in my passport related to Thailand. It took a few minutes to convince her, but she except that and said it would be fault if my application was rejected.
You can use a debit card but you have to check with the bank about procedure to get those extra numbers. I used KBank and it was a nightmare of back and forth with their excuse for customer service. A friend recently did it with SCB. One form on line and then a number was generated simple as that.

By Simon McGuire, Chaing Mai (22nd February 2018)

Hi Terry,

"When I got the email the attached letter said they needed the exact time and date to pick up the passport. Did you have a letter what said the same (and ignored ) or is this a new rule"

No, as I said in the blog, VFS said I could come to pick up the new passport at any time so there is a possibility then that this is a rule change. This of course is the problem with blogs of this nature. They are snapshots in time. They are one man's experience on a specific day - and rules and requirements do change over time.

"When I dropped off the forms before I had to sit around for an hour to wait for my appointment time"

You mean application day right? I waited no more than 5-10 minutes before I was called into the officer's booth.

By Phil, Samut Prakarn (21st February 2018)

First of all let me say thank you for such a detailed description of what you need and what to do. Second just a heads up on collection of passport'
The guy at VSL couldn't have been more helpful when I dropped off my application form and he said after you get the email confirming the new passport was ready to collect just come and pick it up (making sure you bring the form and the old passport).

When I got the email the attached letter said they needed the exact time and date to pick up the passport. When I dropped off the forms before I had to sit around for an hour to wait for my appointment time. Travel time not being an exact science.
Did you have a letter what said the same (and ignored ) or is this a new rule.

By terry, Pattaya (20th February 2018)

after trying to find the right info,many adds from visa sharks,got your site,brilliant.yours graham

By graham holman, nongkhai (10th February 2018)

"I sent an e mail to the VFS e mail address requesting an appointment. Got an immediate automated reply saying the address was ONLY for appointments and giving a lot of links for further information. Did you get that auto response and then a FURTHER e mail with your appointment time and date?"

Hi Trevor, I can only really repeat what I wrote in the blog. I sent an e-mail to the VFS e-mail address and requested three appointments. They replied within half an hour and gave me an appointment date (and a lot of extra information about requirements, etc)

By Phil, Samut Prakarn (8th February 2018)

First off, thanks for the info, it’s excellent.

I sent an e mail to the VFS e mail address requesting an appointment. Got an immediate automated reply saying the address was ONLY for appointments and giving a lot of links for further information.

Did you get that auto response and then a FURTHER e mail with your appointment time and date?

By Trevor Wynn, Phuket (8th February 2018)

Hello Phil. Thank you very much for all information!
I like your writing. I have read some information for UK passport renewal from the official website. My husband and I are concerned with the long procedure, 4 weeks. Because we have to travel to South Korea around end of this month. After we found that you got it about 12 days. It makes us feel relieved.

Anyway, we will prepare all requirements and file them in a nice folder!
Your blog is precious for us. Thank you again.

By Finn, Bangkok (3rd February 2018)

Thanks for the info Phil.

I went to BKK on December 27th to do the application process and received a call and email telling me it had arrived last Monday...Jan 22nd.I collected it on Friday.Your info was helpful especially the follow up info about transferring the visa from old to new passport.

I would like to add that I don't have a credit card only a Thai bank debit card.For whatever reason the accounting department at UK passport office would not accept it but they contacted me with alternative ways to pay.Fortunately my parents were happy to call and use their card so that was cleared up.Thanks again for your very helpful info.

By David Mackenzie, Chonburi (29th January 2018)

Hi Phil

Cannot thank you enough for this article - I couldn't find any reliable source regarding this and you've detailed everything so acutely!

I just have a quick question - I went to the immigration office at Changwattana to extend my current Visa (On Arrival), but they wouldn't extend as they said I had insufficient space on my passport for the 'stamp' - something which I protested but to no avail.

I accept that I am in scenario where I will inevitably overstay, while waiting for the arrival of my new passport.

My question is, do you think the office at Trendy will allow for me to apply for a new passport after acknowledging that it may not arrive before my current visa expires?

Thank you Anon,
I really don't know what they will say at the Trendy Building. Your biggest problem is that you might be walking around Chiang Mai with an expired visa. If you get caught in a police spot check, you'll be in enormous trouble.
I have no idea how many days you are playing with (you didn't mention it) but Trendy got my new passport back to me within 12 days.

By Anon, Bangkok (26th January 2018)

Excellent blog, thanks so much, I have been trying to make sense of the govt.UK website and sending email off to them but you have answered pretty much everything for me.
Except for I will only be on holiday in Thailand so don't have a "permanent address" there; does it have to be a residential address ? You mention a driving licence, will a Jersey one do? (It has no address on it)? Any help would be appreciated, cheers, james

By James Wakefield, Australia (7th December 2017)

Hi there, I have tried to send off an email to them for my application for a new passport. The email address seems to be invalid. Is that the correct email address?

- BangkokHMPO@vfshelpline.com is the only e-mail address I used to communicate with them.

By Steven Capaldi, Pattaya (6th December 2017)

I need to stress that just because I personally went through this process, I haven't become an 'overnight expert' on all aspects and sub plots of obtaining a new UK passport in Bangkok.

Bob - I would have said the 'proof of address' is a must and whether the letter of reference would suffice, I honestly don't know. Sorry.

Shawn - I think if your passport is running out of pages AND you do a lot of travelling abroad, then now is a good time to renew the passport. I have never been on a student visa so have no idea how many visa stamps you use for this process.

By Phil, Samut Prakarn (21st November 2017)

My son is visiting me and has arrived on a tourist visa. He is on a gap year and needs to replace his passport (has only 1 page), I have a work permit etc. My question is regarding the proof of address that is required in the necessary documents. Is this a requirement and would it be possible for me and my employer to write a letter saying he is staying with me

By bob pearson, Bangkok (21st November 2017)

How far in advance do you have to renew your British passport in Thailand ?.
I am on an education visa and my passport expires Sep 2020 but i have only 4 pages left.

By Shawn, Thailand (20th November 2017)

Doing this right now. But for a child, and it seems they DO need the photos signed off. We're on holiday in Bangkok so also no address, will have to use hotel address. Is there anyone you can pay to sign off photos, like a JP or solicitor or something? Other than that we just have an American friend here, it might have to be her.

By Alyson Long, Port Douglas (15th November 2017)

Cheers mate my passports full up because of my job your information is very helpful thanks

By Marcus, Kanchanaburi (11th November 2017)

Hello Phil. Very useful info for anyone faced with this situation. I went through it all, for exactly the same reason as you, a couple of months ago. Just want to point out that you can also pay by debit card (even one for a Thai bank account) if you don't have, or don't want to use a credit card.

Phil - Cheers Chris!

By Chris Demetsopoullos, Bangkok, Thailand. (1st November 2017)

Hi Phil, great article, thanks. My situation is a bit complicated as I'll be in BKK on a 30 day tourist visa and need to renew my passport (which is still valid for 11 months) now because I need a new passport with a year's validity to get a one year work visa. The UK passport office told me they require me to send the old passport with the application, but I will need my old passport in order to exit and re-enter the country if I don't get the new passport back before my 30 day visa runs out. Am I right in understanding from your article that VFS will NOT take the old passport at the time of application and that they take only the photocopies? Many thanks, Chris

Phil replies - Hi Chris. Yes that's correct. VFS do not keep the old passport. They just take photocopies.

By Chris Wyatt, Bangkok (27th October 2017)

A great article. Just one question, does the counter-signatory need to be English?

By Richard Hill, Phitsanulok (21st October 2017)

To the people having trouble with sim cards and bank books simply refer the company involved to the 2 pages worth of transfer stamps that the Thai immigration office filled in when you had any existing visas inserted All the details of your previous passport are included here...
This method may be a great boon for those Brits living in BKK but the postal passport from HK works out much cheaper for me than having to fly to BKK twice (once to apply and once to collect) also with the possibility of two overnight stays in the city...
To the OP I imagine the later in the day the appointment is the more chance of having a longer wait to be seen on time.
I'm going to have to do it soon though so I'll be watching the updates..

By stegee68, PHUKET (5th October 2017)

Mike raises a good point... which reminds me... TELL YOUR BANK!

I used my old passport as ID when I opened an account with the Bangkok Bank in Samut Prakan. When I needed a new passbook (the one that prints out your transactions) my new passport wouldn't fly in Ratchaburi, so I had to wait till I went back to the original branch to update my details... made all the more difficult because I no longer had my old passport!

Bloody nightmare!

By Mark, A. MUANG (5th October 2017)

I can confirm that your photos don't need to be counter-signed if your appearance hasn't significantly changed. Also, if you're working, a letter from your employer confirming your address also works.

By Henry, Bangkok (5th October 2017)

Don't forget to update your passport details with your phone company head office, lest you ever need to replace your SIM and want to keep the same telephone number, since your passport number has now changed.

By Mike, Bangkok (5th October 2017)

Awesome info for expats... Much better than the tedious rigmarole of sending everything to Hong Kong! I hope it stays this way.

By Mark, A. MUANG (5th October 2017)

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