Updated: July 1, 2016
The day has finally come in which my tourist visa for Thailand has to be renewed. The time has flown by! I remember when I was in the U.S. trying to understand and figure out how to apply for my Thai tourist visa. Do I need a tourist visa? Where do I get a tourist visa? How do I extend my tourist visa when it expires?
In my first post, I describe the process to obtain a double entry tourist visa which allows me to stay in the country for 60 days. So! After it expires, what do you have to do if you want to stay in the country longer? Good question!
You can go to your local immigration office and get a 30 day extension. You can get a 30 day extension, only if you have a 60 day tourist visa.
Going To Chiang Mai Immigration Office
At the time of writing this post, I went to the old immigration office. It has since moved to Promenda Mall. It was 12:30pm on a Tuesday and I was not sure what time they open or more importantly if I would be able to get my extension processed in time before they closed.
Well, there is only one-way to find out. So! I walk from the guest house that I am staying at and find a Songtao which is a modified truck that has seats in the bed of the truck and is a common taxi service that locals use. After negotiating on the price for the taxi, we were enroute to the Chiang Mai Immigration Office.
I had a general idea of where the Chiang Mai Immigration Office is located and we were headed in that general direction so I assumed the driver knew where we were going. After arriving, I got out of the Songtao and paid the driver. The building is really well marked and it is clear where you need to go. I quickly scan my surroundings and see a door that is clearly marked, “Tourist Visa Extension.”
After entering the building, I see a room full of other people that are patiently waiting to get their visa processed. I walk up to someone that is sitting down and ask where I get a number to get in line.
He points to the information desk and I go up and get handed a number and a sheet of paper that I need to fill out. The immigration officer instructs me to get a photo copy of my passport outside.
I glance at the sheet that was handed to me which is double sided and proceed outside and get engulfed in the ambient heat. “Whew!, It is hot out here”, I think to myself. I look around to see any signs for photocopying. BINGO!
I walk over to the photocopy area and wait patiently in line. I hand them my passport and they make the appropriate copies. Following, I get my photo taken and printed off in (4) 4 X 6 cm photos, I only need one for my paperwork.
The cost is 106 BHT for the three photocopies and (4) 4 X 6 color photos which is about $3 USD. After getting my photos taken and printing off the photocopies of my passport I find a seat next to the printer and attempt to fill out the rest of the form.
The form asks for information related to my passport including, issue date, expiration date, issuing location, and other pertinent information. It also asks for your Thai address which I had no idea what the address of the guesthouse that I was staying at was. Fortunately, there was a free wifi signal and I was able to use my phone to look up the address of the guesthouse.
One of the Thai photocopy business workers was very helpful in interpreting the form and helping me fill out all of the necessary questions. The form is in Thai and has English translations but is not 100% clear, so I was very appreciative to get any help.
After getting the photocopies, 4 X 6 cm picture, and filling out the form I walked back into the Immigration Office building. I looked at the number that was in the number queue and it read, “82.” My number is 80. I walk up to the front desk and I am able to get my passport processed. I was nervous that they would ask me to get a new number and I would have to get back in the queue. Fortunately, that was not the case.
In addition to the necessary paperwork, the 30 day tourist visa extension costs, 1900 BHT or $60 US dollars. I hand over the money and paperwork and I am asked to sit down until my name is called.
After waiting patiently for 30minutes, my name is called and I can pick up my passport which has a new stamp. Woohoo! It is important to note that in order to extend the tourist visa next time around, I must leave the country and cannot get it processed at the Chiang Mai Immigration Office or any other Thai Immigration Office within Thailand’s borders.
Lastly, it is important to note that you could get denied an extension for your Tourist Visa or any Visa for that matter and you will not be eligible for a refund. Therefore, it does hurt to be extra courteous and patient with the immigration officers.