If you happen to be enjoying Thailand too much (it happens!) and your 30 day Thai tourist visa stamp on arrival is not going to cut it, not to worry!
It’s possible to extend your 30 days Thai tourist visa entry stamp with another additional 30 days if you plan on extending your stay.
You don’t even have to leave Thailand, the whole process can be done within the country, perfect hey!
Since late last year Thailand immigration has been trying to shape up things and have introduce some new methods to help support tourism and boost its visitors.
Lots of new measurements have been put in place and I understand all the information surrounding visas in Thailand can be confusing as it changes very frequently.
That’s why, I will do my best to explain how it works.
30 Days by air, 15 days by land for free
When entering Thailand, UK passport holders can get a free Thai tourist visa entry stamp upon arrival for the duration of your stay.
This will cover you whilst in Thailand and won’t cost you a thing.
If you’ve entered by land, this tourist visa stamp is reduced to 15 days compared to 30 days by air.
Travelling by land will add some limitations as 15 days won’t cover much of Thailand, you might wish to apply for an extension.
If you overstay your Thai tourist visa stamp, you will be fined 500 Bhat per a day, it’s important to keep an eye on your departure date.
How to extend your Thai tourist visa Stamp an extra 30 days.
It’s possible to extend your stamp an extra 30 days by visiting an immigration office, you can find 3 of them around Thailand that offer this service. Bangkok, Koh Samui, Phuket and Chiang Mai.
As my closest immigration office was in Chiang Mai, I will use this as my example to explain the process more in depth.
Update on Chiang Mai Visa Extension at the Immigration office
(Update video for you! Things have changed such as the location!)
**UPDATE** From the 20th of July 2015 the Chiang Mai immigration office will move to Promenade Shopping mall, its 10KM drive from Nimman area and will take 20-30 minutes drive in Tuk Tuk, will set you back 200 baht each way.
They have also changed the regulations on the size of the passport photo’s at the new office and they have become more strict, ensure your passport photos are 6×4 in size, the correct size and must have a blue background.
This was a pain as I already had some passport size pictures in my wallet, but they didn’t want to know about them. Luckily (Funny this!) there happens to be a passport photo printing location next to office which will set you back 200 Baht and print exactly what they want.
I found the upgrade office to be more effective and smooth with the whole process, just a challenge to get to as it’s far away from the city.
Extend in advance
It’s important to note that the extension can be added on from the date that your current Thai tourist visa stamp expires, this means you should try to complete the process a week in advance and it will not affect the duration of your stay, the extension will start from the point when your last Thai tourist visa stamp expires.
This means you should not plan on extending it on the day your current Thai tourist visa stamp expires, just in case your extension is rejected you have some time to plan an alternative solution rather than having to rush your exit within 24 hours (not smart).
Saying this, as long as your intention is for tourism and you have followed all the steps correctly and got your application in order and your passport isn’t full of Thai tourist visa stamps, it’s a pretty straight forward process and you shouldn’t have a problem getting it done on the day.
The step by step process to getting your Thai tourist visa 30 day extension
Dress Smart and be polite
Be respectful, this is an immigration office and they will turn you away if they want to, they have the freedom to do so. Guys have a shave, wear a shirt, long trousers, leave your Chang tank top and flip flops at home, dress presentable.
When the Thai national anthem comes on in the office at 08:00am, stand up and pay respect and also be polite to the immigration officers, speak a little Thai, say Hi and Thank you and follow their orders.
I noticed a very rude French man in front of me who demanded that the guy helped him out and he got his line number knocked back, if he was nice this wouldn’t have happened. Be sure to follow these steps to get your document in order to speed up things and to make the immigration officer happy, they like organized people (He said he loved me! Which was a first from an immigration officer, Thailand hey!).
How to get there
It’s very easy to get to, simply Head towards Airport Plaza and its in the middle along the road that links the Chiang Mai Airport and Airport Plaza together, from either point its a 10 minute walk. Cost around 50 Bhat from the old town by Tuk Tuk.
When you enter the immigration compound in Chiang Mai, you should head to the building on the right, then you will see a guy inside who is helping people find the correct forms, he will help you get one of these numbered tickets.
This is what confused me, the immigration office starts at 08:30 but the waiting room is pretty much open 24 hours. At 08:30 am is when the immigration officers start work, they often arrive from 07:00am to prepare for the day. This means if you arrive an hour early people are already there in line. I thought by getting in an hour early I would be at the door waiting for it to be open, but people had already been waiting for a while.
This is because if you arrive late on the previous day, your ticket number is pushed forward into the next day, best to arrive early then you know everything is sorted on the day itself.
It’s also important to be aware and check for National Thai Public holidays as the immigration office is closed.
If you’re able to reach the immigration office around 07:30am you can already pick up your ticket number by showing the assistant your documents are in order, he normally arrives earlier to help assist with your documents, if you have problems with your application form, talk to him not the immigration officers, they won’t help you but he will.
The immigration officers won’t start seeing people till 08:30am which means you can go and get some breakfast, no need waiting for a whole hour. Just make sure you are there for 08:30 start.
Have everything in order
It’s important that before you are seen all your forms are filled out in full and you have everything required ready to present to the immigration officer.
What you will need:
• Visa extension request form (TM7.)
• One photocopy of the inside of your passport
• One photocopy of your entry card and Thai tourist visa stamp with clear date being shown
• One passport size photo (3.5 cm x 4.5 cm )
• 1,900 Bhat in cash
To speed up time you can download the extension request form in advance (They have printed versions there), this ensures you have all the details provided.
There are two pages and the 2nd page you must fill in the full address of where you are currently staying in Chaing Mai, good idea to ask the Hotel/Hostel/Condo for the full address in advance, they require the full address, very important!
Photos and photocopying of documents can be done behind the immigration office for a set fee and this opens from 08:00am.
I had already prepared 20 or so passport photos before I departed on my trip, which can easily be done online for almost free.
You can locate photocopy machines all over the city, mostly costing 1 Bhat per print, make sure the date on the stamp is clear on the copy or it will be rejected.
How long does it take?
By getting your ticket early you should have a pretty good ticket number and won’t take no time at all to get processed.
Wait for your ticket to be called out and when your up head to the front desk on the left to be seen, here you pay your fee of 1,900 Bhat
By following this method and arriving early, I managed to get number 19. At 08:30am when they started processing it took me 30 minutes to be seen then a further 10 minutes to wait for the stamp. Took no time at all. All done for the day, very simple process.