Time sure flies! I’ve been in Chiang Mai, Thailand for almost a month and a half already and it was time to get my 30 Day Tourist Visa Extension before my 2 months of allowed stay expires.
In this post, I’m going to share my experience of going to the local immigration office and getting my visa extension with you.
Everything went fairly smoothly. I didn’t have to wait in a crazy long line. I filled out everything correctly, and there were only a few minor things that I needed assistance with.
However, I was stressing out the whole time I was there. I guess it’s partially due to the fact that I don’t speak Thai. I’m unfamiliar with the way things are run in Thailand, and I’ve read so much about how unpredictable tourist visa rules can be here.
I also was dreading that the visit to the Immigration Office would turn out to be something resembling a visit to the DMV in Los Angeles – endless hours of waiting, not knowing if you’ll be able to get everything you need done within your visit, and being at the mercy of miserable workers.
I wanted to make sure that I was going to be as well prepared as possible for this Visa Extension trip.
I googled and poured over 3 different websites for information regarding Thai tourist visa extension procedures.
- ChiangMai Buddy – 30 Day Visa Extension Chiang Mai
- Tieland to Thailand – How Extend Thai Tourist Visa Chiang Mai
- The Way of Slow Travel – How To Extend Your Thai Tourist Visa In Chiang Mai
They were quite helpful, but after having gone through the process, I found there to be a few more things I wish I would’ve known before heading over to the immigration office.
Because I’m a visual learner, I kind of wished that there were more photos in the other posts I read.
I wrote this post for those of you seeking detailed information about getting your 30 day tourist visa extension in Chiang Mai, Thailand – with plenty of photos. I hope that it will help make your trip to the immigration office as hassle-free and stress-free as possible.
What is the 30 Day Tourist Visa Extension?
If you’re in Thailand on a Tourist Visa, you can apply for an extension for 30 additional days from the stamped expiration date on your passport.
Example: My passport stamp for Thailand says “Admitted Until March 26, 2016”. If you apply for the extension, you’ll be able to tack on an additional 30 days, allowing you to stay in Thailand until April 25, 2016.
The Immigration Office
The Tourist Visa Extensions are handled by the Immigration Office located inside the Promenada Mall on the east side of Ping River.
Open Hours: Monday through Friday from 8:30am – 4:30pm.
What You’ll Need
Here’s a list of everything you’ll need to apply for your visa extension:
- Departure Card (TM 6)
- Tourist Visa Extention Application Form (TM 7) – You can download the form and fill it out ahead of time or you can fill it out when you get there. They have a whole stack of them available at the outside table.
- Address of Residence, or your hotel address (A business card will do). Note: If you are staying with friends, you have to update your address at a police station to stay legit. When you stay at a hotel, they are required to report your address to the proper authorities.
- Your Phone Number
- 1 Passport Sized Photo. 4×6 (I had brought an extra passport photo from the US and thought that would suffice, but due to the different size requirements, I had to get a new set of them taken at the Photo & Copy Shop next door to the Immigration Office. They charge 2 Baht/copy and 200 Baht for a set of 6 Photos. I’ve heard you can get them taken at other places for cheaper, but it wasn’t worth the hassle. Back home, passport photos cost about $15 for a set of 2 photos. Here it was about $5.75 for a set of 6.)
- Photocopy of the main page of your passport (They will ask you to sign all the photocopies)
- Photocopy of the Thai Visa stamped page on your passport
- Photocopy of your Departure Card
- Visa Extension Fee: 1900 Baht (about $55 USD)
- Pen (There’s a good chance they won’t have pens there, so make sure you take a blue or black ink pen with you)
My Passport and Pen:
Departure Card, Passport Photo that I Thought I Could Use, and Business Card of My Hotel:
Photocopy of Main Page of Passport:
Photocopy of Departure Card and Thai Visa Page of Passport:
Front Page of Visa Extension Application Form:
Back Page of Visa Extension Application Form:
Money, Money, Money:
The Application Process
- Fill out your Tourist Visa Extension Application Form: Fill out your form and get all your photocopies, 4×6 photo, passport, departure card, and fees ready.
- Get in the “Tourist Visa Extension” line: You’ll see two lines formed right outside of the Immigration Office entrance. Get in the line for Tourist Visa Extension.At the end of the line, you’ll find a table with a few staff who will help you with putting together the extension application correctly. They will let you know if you need to correct or add anything. If there are corrections that needs to be made, you’ll either be able to fix it right there or you may need to leave the line, fix the problem, and then get back in line.
- Sit and Wait: Once the application packet is completed and ready for processing, they will ask you to have a seat and wait inside. There are no number tickets to pull. They will call you by name and country of origin. I waited for about 35 minutes.
- Get Your Photo Taken: Once you’re called, go up to the “Tourist Visa” desk. They will take a photo of your face and ask you to sit down again. I waited for about 5 minutes.
- Pick Up Your Passport and Receipt: They will call you up to the desk one last time when everything is finished and hand you back your passport, newly stamped with your extension. They will also hand you a receipt and any change that’s due. (I gave them 2000 Baht when I initially handed them my forms and I got 100 Baht back at the end). Also, when you get your passport back, make sure to check the stamp date to see that everything is correct.
I got to the Immigration Office around 9:10AM and was out by 10:30AM. Total of about an hour and 20 minutes for the whole process. Not too shabby.
Extra Tip: Don’t get frustrated, rude, or angry (in public). Even if things don’t go exactly as you anticipated or as you want, don’t start acting all upset. Thai people don’t take well to this kind of behavior as it’s part of their culture to never show signs of anger in public. I saw one guy who was getting really worked up and flustered because he had to fix something on his application, had to leave the line and come back a couple of times. I saw him stomping around huffing and puffing with angst, he looked like he was about to blow up. I found myself getting nervous for him because I thought there’s a chance they might deny his extension.
The fact is, you just never know if your application will get approved or rejected. It is an “application”. If getting a visa extension is important to you, be on your best behavior. You might even want to think of it as going in for a job interview. Dress nice and put your best face forward. Don’t be a prick, or they might decide that they don’t want you around in their country.
Here are some photos of the Immigration Office @ Promenada Mall.
Your First Stop – Tourist Visa Extension Table:
Main Entrance to Immigration Office:
Waiting Area Inside:
Photo & Copy Shop Next Door:
If you don’t ride a motorbike or drive a car, you may be interested in modes of transportation and costs.
Here’s what we paid:
- 200 Baht – Taxi* ride from Kad Suan Kaew Mall area to the Promenada Mall.
- 200 Baht – Songtaew** ride from Promenada Mall to Thae Pae Gate in Old City (We took a short lunch break in Old City)
- 50 Baht – Songtaew ride from Thae Pae Gate to Kad Suan Kaew Mall.
Total: 450 Baht. Approx. $12.80 USD for two people.
*We got our taxi service through our neighborhood motorbike rental place. Regular taxis were asking 300 Baht and she drove us there for 200, and it took about 20 minutes.
**We found several songtaews parked and ready right in front of the Promenada Mall.
There is a free Mall Shuttle which takes you to and from Old City, but it doesn’t run very often so if you don’t want to wait, your best bet is going to be the songtaews.
From what I’ve read and understand, immigration rules and regulations are ever changing in Thailand.
This post was my experience for my tourist visa extension application on March 11, 2016.
I hope this information is helpful to you!