How to Extend your Thai Tourist Visa in Chiang Mai
The last time we came to Thailand (back in 2014) we were given an automatic 60 day tourist Visa on arrival. No more. Since 2015 tourists arriving in Thailand (from most countries) get an automatic 30 day Visa.
So what do you do if you want to prolong your stay in Thailand?
On our most recent trip, we arrived in Thailand on March 2nd. We’ve stayed the entire month of March in Chiang Mai. But we’re planning a road trip that will require at least another 2 weeks in Thailand. It’s meant that we need to extend our stay in the country beyond the ordinary 30 day tourist visa (officially a 30 day “visa exemption”).
Luckily you can extend your stay by an additional 30 days at immigration offices around the country. And it’s actually very easy.
Update: As of September 24, 2018, the immigration office moved to the Chiang Mai Immigration Building, at 71 moo 3, Sanambin Road, Suthep, Muang Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai 50200 (near the airport). They’re open 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday to Friday.
What to Bring
– Your Passport
– A photocopy of the Photo page of your passport
– A photocopy of your entrance stamp (from the passport) or current Thai visa
– A photocopy of the TM 6 departure card (the card you filled out when you entered Thailand. Immigration should have stapled it into one of the pages in your passport next to the entrance stamp)
– A Passport Photo (you can have that taken there – that’s what we did)
– A filled out Application for Extension of Temporary Stay. They’ll give it to you there but you can also download it here and fill it out in advance (that’s what we did and it saved a lot of time). Make sure to write the full address of where you are staying including your room number.
– Cash of 1,900 Baht payable as the fee for the extension (ie. $78 CAD or $61 US at time of writing)
– bring your own blue or black pen.
We arrived at the Promenada Mall at 9:45am. Immigration is located on the ground floor of the shopping center, right under Tom N Tom’s Coffee (please note the change of address up top).
We were initially confused about where to go.
– Off to the right, behind closed glass doors, is the waiting room where you’ll eventually end up. Don’t go there for now.
– Off to the left is an office marked “Photo and Copy Shop”. We went there to get passport photos taken. It took 15 minutes and cost 200 Baht for 6 photos (they only need 1 photo so you’ll have lots of extras).
-Between the “Photo and Copy Shop” and the waiting room is an outdoor counter. If you have all the copies and photos that I’ve listed up above you go there and submit them to the employees working there. They’ll take all your forms, your passport, your photo, as well as your money (you’ll get any change back later) and will give you a paper stub with a number on it. Don’t lose it, you’ll need it when you go to the waiting room.
Below: the outdoor counter where you submit your paperwork.
Once you’ve done that you go in the waiting room and sit down. In our case it was just a few minutes after 10 am. The Immigration Office takes care of all different kinds of Visas and Visa Extensions are only taken care of at counter number 4 (marked “Tourist Visa Extension”).
Above: outside and inside the waiting room
It took 45 minutes for our numbers to come up. When your number comes up, you just go up to the side of counter number 4 where the man behind the desk will ask you to sit down. He’ll take a photo of you. Then whole thing takes about 15 seconds. Then you go back to where you were sitting.
About 10 minutes later your name gets called out on the loudspeaker. That’s your cue to get back up. It might be the trickiest part between the Thai accent of the employee and the echo of the loudspeaker. The employee then gives you back your passport with a new Visa in it indicating the new expiration of your stay in Thailand. He’ll also give you any change back on the fee.
So that’s it. The whole process took an hour and 15 minutes for us, including those 15 minutes getting our passport photos.
Note: it can take longer especially before or after holiday periods. I’ve read of waits up to 4 hours.
A couple of notes
– Make sure to extend your Visa before your current Visa expires.
– Try to dress nicely, this is official government business and it always helps to look decent.
– You’re only allowed 1 Visa extension. If we had already done an extension, we would have had to do a Visa run outside the country. In that case, what most people in Chiang Mai do is fly to Vientiane (Laos) and get a 60 day Thai Visa at the consulate there. They then either fly directly back or cross the border near Nong Khai (which makes a really nice visit). If visiting Nong Khai you can fly back to Chiang Mai from Udon Thani.
In case you’re still unsure or nervous: We stayed at the Smith Residence while in Chiang Mai and spoke to a few Expats before going to get our Visa extended. What we heard over and over again: “don’t worry, I’ve never heard of anyone ever getting refused. It’s just a money grab and they have no interest in giving you a hard time”.
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