Sam Thompson

Getting a 30-day tourist visa extension

A trip to the remarkably efficient Thai immigration office


Well, I've finally visited Bangkok's Immigration Office... and I must say, I'm impressed.

I'm currently staying in Thailand on a double entry tourist visa that I obtained in Laos back in November, but one of the stipulations of using that to get a full six months in the country is that you apply for a 30 day extension after 60 days per entry. Naturally, it costs another 1,900 baht just for this 30 days... making the cost of living in Thailand on a tourist visa around 6,000 baht for six months.

But remember: that doesn't include travel costs to get the visa to start with, nor the cost of the border run to activate the second entry.

Anyway, the process of extending the visa was remarkably simple: show up in the highly impressive and ridiculously huge government complex not too far from Bang Khen (about a fifteen minute taxi ride from Sripitum University if you're around Phohon Yothin Road), and make your way to the building in the very back of the complex. Once inside, go to the second floor and look for the signs pointing to the immigration bureau. If memory serves, it's behind you once you're up the escalator if you go into the main entrance.

You'll need a passport picture, a copy of your passport (and visa(s)), 1,900 baht, and a smile. Remember, the agents can pretty much do whatever they want... your job is to not make them want to deny you an extension. Haha

You can get passport photos and copies of your passport on the ground floor (near the building's entrance)... 4 pictures and copies of all pertinent pages of your passport for 100 baht. Not bad considering I forgot to bring mine.

After that, it's easy. Fill out the form the nice ladies at the information desk in the immigration office give you, following the examples that are clearly posted right where you fill out the form. It reinforces the fact that this process, however easy, is a formality to get another 1,900 baht out of you.

Let the ladies check your form, and then you'll be directed into another large room. One of the security officers will check your form and your passport and give you a queue number. For visa extensions, you'll wait right around the corner from these security officers. There are signs clearly marking which area is for which service.

Once called, hand in your form, passport, and money to the agent, wait about ten or fifteen minutes, and they'll call you again with your newly extended visa in your passport. In total, not counting the taxi ride, the whole process took me less than an hour.

I must say, I'm highly impressed with the efficiency of the whole process. It's not something I would expect from a Thai government office, and the process is far more efficient than getting a passport or similar document in the States! The building the office is hosted in is highly impressive too; I don't know I've been in many buildings that are more massive. Nice.

Of course, it's off to Cambodia for a border run in less than a month, but hey... to live in paradise, you've just gotta do what you gotta do.




Comments

Me and my boyfriend are hoping to go to Thailand in the next 2weeks. we have already been there on a triple entry visa for 90 days but, this time we want to go there on a 1 way ticket with a 30 day visa and after that ends we want to hop over to other countries like Cambodia and Vietnam etc. will this be aloud.

By karis, england (21st April 2018)

@Natalie,

Depends on a number of factors as to what you should do. If you haven't already done so, it is possible to get a [tourist] visa extension without leaving. I believe the maximum extension, at least for a US citizen, is still 30 days per single-entry visa for 1900 baht for a total maximum 90 days without having to make a "border run."

If your school/company is sponsoring a work permit, they should be able to get whatever type of visa you have changed to a Non-Immigrant B visa and extend it without leaving, but this takes time. If you're on a tourist visa and have already previously extended it, you do need to leave the country.

If you do leave, and again this is at least true for US citizens as of a few months ago, Laos is the closest land-border crossing country that lets you get a double entry tourist visa; last I checked, Cambodia only grants single entry. Honestly, if you're worried about it, look around online and call some of the companies that specialize in helping foreigners with visa issues. You don't have to buy anything, after all :)

And as @Peter said, the immigration office in Bangkok is still located at Imperial World Ladprao. I was there getting my Non-B visa extended last week, and they said there was no ETA on when they would move back to Chaeng Wattana.

Good luck!

By Sam, Chatuchak, Bangkok (21st April 2018)

Hey guys i am getting so many mixed stories . I have just got a job here in Bangkok,and my visa expires in two weeks. where do i get it extended? ? i hear stories that i have to go to laos or Cambodia??

Any advice will be appreciated

By natalie, Bangkok (21st April 2018)

I can confirm the immigration office in Chaeng Wattana, Government Complex Building B is definitely closed at the moment.
I went there today to check it out (easy for us as we live locally) and the main office on level 2 was indeed closed. There is another office on level 3 which was open, but this one deals specifically with South East Asian visas - for Laotian, Cambodian, Vietnamese, etc. So for now you need to go to Ladprao or another regional office.

By Peter Thomson, Lak Si, Bangkok (21st April 2018)

Maybe its because I had a tourist visa. I have no idea to be honest. It does make sense if you are extending a visa then it should be extended from the date it expires. Maybe I was lucky though.

By Robert Davies, (21st April 2018)

@Robert: Interesting, as always; I just went about two weeks ago (again) for a 90 day report, and they used the day I came in. I think it depends on what mood they're in. haha It didn't take more than an hour for me either; fairly painless.

@BenD: I went to Imperial World on Ladphrao Rd a few weeks ago, and they have the tourist visa extensions there too. According to the BKK immigration website, Chaeng Wattana is still closed... so as far as I know, Imperial World is your best bet. As @Robert said, it's not as bad as it looks when you get in there.... 5th floor, if I remember correctly.

Good luck!

By Sam, Chatuchak, Bangkok (21st April 2018)

Hi,

Thank you for this interesting post.

Do you know if the Chaengwattana office is reopened ?

I have to do a TR visa extension but I don't know where to go.

Thanks for your answers.

Ben

By Ben.D, Bangkok (21st April 2018)

I have just extended my tourist visa another 30 days and they used the date from when my visa would have expired (8th April) rather than today (21 March).
It was a relatively painless experience as well, only took just over an our.
I had to get it done at Imperial World, Ladprao as the immigration office at Chaeng Wattana is still closed.

Thanks for your help.

By Robert Davies, (21st April 2018)

Thank you Sam. It is so difficult to get consistent information. I was told by someone else that they offer the 30 day extension to run from the end of the visa - so for me from the 8th April. Rather than the day you happen to renew it.
Very confusing - but thanks again. I guess I will have to go there myself and find out.

By Robert Davies, (21st April 2018)

@Robert,

I usually wait until the day before to go for an extension; they date your new expiration date based on the day you go in to renew, not based on your original entry to Thailand date. That said, make sure you have all the paperwork you need... I can't count the number of times I've been missing one document. It's 500 baht per day that you "overstay," regardless of the circumstances.

Also note that if you're in Bangkok, the main Chang Wattana office may or may not be operating normally; the last time I had to go in a few weeks ago (for non-B visa 90 day check-in), I had to go to Imperial World on Lad Phrao Road. Check around before you go...

Good luck!

By Sam, Chatuchak, Bangkok (21st April 2018)

Great article Sam. I am on the third and final entry of a 3 entry tourist visa that expires on 8th April. I would like to do what you did and get a 30 day extension.
When do you think is the best time for me to do this?

By Robert Davies, Bangkok (21st April 2018)

You are correct, Philip. I am working on getting a non-B, but I'm afraid I still don't have the paperwork. Because I still have another entry on my tourist visa, I'll be going to Cambodia for another run in a few weeks... after that, I'll see what paperwork I can dig out of my agency. Best of luck there, right? haha

By Sam, Bangkok (21st April 2018)

Dave, I think the non-B visa (extended for 9 months with no visa runs) is what Sam is ultimately aiming for but at the end of the day, your employer needs to play their part and provide with you all the necessary paperwork, etc. I think that might be the stumbling block at the current time.

Believe it or not, there are masses of schools and agencies out there who still don't have the first clue how to get teachers work permits and visa extensions, etc.

By philip, Bangkok (21st April 2018)

Since you are working anyway, why not just get a proper non-B and save the extra trips to immigration and the border?

2000 for the non-B (90 days)
2000 for the extension 9 months
2000 for each subsequent 1-year extension.

You don't even need a border run to change your status. You can do it at that nice, impressive building in Bangkok in about the same amount of time as your 30-day extension and save another 6000 baht by not needing to do a visa run every 90 days.

By Dave, Thailand (21st April 2018)

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