A Step-by-Step Guide: How to Get a Thai Visa and Extend Your Visa Exemption

Thai Visa Extension and Visa Exemption

How to extend a Thai visa. Many people come to Thailand and arrive with either of visa or if there from certain countries a visa exempt stamp. Many times circumstances or the situation changes while here and they decide stay longer than they had planned for.

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When visiting Thailand, many tourists are granted a 30-day visa exemption stamp upon arrival. However, for those who want to extend their stay beyond one month, the process to obtain an additional 30 days is relatively straightforward.

Many visitors to Thailand don't realize that they can actually extend their stay.
If you have any plans to stay in Thailand long-term, more than likely you'll have some kind of interaction with your local immigration office.

Besides getting letters of residency to obtain a Thai drivers license or purchase a motorbike, one of the things you might also find yourself it immigration for is a visa extension. The visa extension allows you to extend your visa, or visa exempt stamp, for an additional 30 days.

Note that if you are living or visiting in Chiang Mai you will take care this at the Airport Immigration office or the Central Festival Mall Immigration Office. So in Chiang Mai there are two options - the main immigration near the airport Chiang Mai Immigration Office (open 08.30 – 4.30 Monday- Friday) or a second office at Central Festival shopping mall (located on the second floor, open 09.00 – 5.00 Monday – Friday).
See below for info on the Central Festival Office...

First a few things about Thai Tourist Visas

Tourist visas used to able to apply for a single-entry Thai tourist visa or multiple entry Thai tourist visa. A tourist visa provides visitors 60 days in Thailand starting from the first day you arrive in the country until the day you are expected to leave. With a multiple entry you could come and go during the allowed time. And at the end of the 60 days you can extended the allowed time for 30 extra days for a total of 90 days inside Thailand before having to leave the country. Keep in mind though that this entry can only be extended one time.
As mentioned you no longer will be issued a multiple entry Thai tourist visa. Because as of 13 November 2015, Royal Thai Embassies and Consulate-Generals no longer issue double or triple entry Thai tourist visas. They only issue what they call a Multiple Entry Tourist Visa (METV) which is is also eligible for one 30 day extension.
The METV is a whole another issue that are discussed in another posting. I covered it a lot during our weekly updates when they were first instituting it but I think it deserves its own posting which I'll do at a later date.
Back to the visa extension. You can apply for a visa extension up until the day your visa expires. But once your visa has expired can no longer apply for an extension.
So I always recommend giving yourself a few days before your entry expires to apply for an extension in case something unforeseen happens. Like if your visa expiration date unexpectedly falls on a weekend or a Thai holiday (during which all Thai immigration offices are closed), you won’t be caught out. There will even be times when people trying to apply for visas, other immigration services and extensions will be turned away because there are too many people in the queue.

Requirements and What to Bring for a Visa Extension

When applying for an extension, you have to apply in person and provide the following to the Thai immigration officer:
Passport with a valid visa or visa exempt stamp
Photocopies of the main passport photo page, current Thai tourist visa page, TM.6 departure card, and latest entry stamp. You will sign all these copies a way to do this when in front of the immigration officer. Application for Extension of Temporary Stay in the Kingdom (form TM.7)

On the application you also have to fill in your current address and your Thai phone number so make sure that you know what it is so you will be able to input it into to the TM.7 application form.
The TM.7 forms are available at the immigration office, so it’s not necessary that you print one out and fill it out ahead of time but just in case you do I will put the download link on this page for you.

One thing to keep in mind is that your extra 30 day extension will always be added on to the last day of your permitted entry. So no matter if you apply for an extension one week before your visa entry expires or on the last permissible day to stay in Thailand, you will still receive the full amount of days for your original entry plus the 30 day extension.

Where to Extend a Thai Tourist Visa in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai Immigration Office
if you need to apply for the extension and you are in Chiang Mai you can no longer go to the Chiang Mai Immigration Office next to the Chiang Mai International Airport for visa extensions as of July 2015.
But you can also extend a visa in Chiang Mai at the immigration office at the Central Festival Mall. It’s open from 8:30am to 4:30pm, Monday through Friday excluding Saturday, Sunday, and Thai holidays.

How the visa application extension process works at the Chiang Mai Immigration Office Central Festival Mall
When you arrive at the Chiang Mai Immigration Office, go to the information desk in front of the the office. There you can get a TM.7 form if you haven't downloaded it prior to going and filled it out. There are plenty of places to sit and fill out the form. Don't forget to get your photocopies of your passport and/or a passport photo from the photo and copy shop.

Once the application is completed and you have your copies and passport photo and cash to pay, go back to the information desk and give everything to the clerk. At this point they will check to make sure everything is in order and then attach all the documents together and give you a queue number.
At this point the clerk will either walk inside with your packet and hand it to the officer at the center desk with the “Tourist Visa Extension” sign above it or if they don't, you will take it in yourself and hand the to the immigration officer.
Then all you will do is listen for your name to be called over the PA speaker.
Once called you will usually have to go to another desk and have your photo taken to be entered into the digital immigration database. Then if they're busy you will go back and sit down and wait a little while longer for your name to be called for a second time. This is when an immigration officer will give you a receipt of payment and your passport with an extension ink stamp inside. Always make sure when you're finished with immigration that you check to make sure that you've gotten what you come for. In this case make sure that you received an extra 30 days before leaving.

Central Festival Immigration Office

It is important to be prepared before visiting immigration. Make sure to bring along a proof of residency, a passport photo, and a copy of your passport's bio page. Additionally, it's advisable to have 1900 Thai baht in cash.

Conveniently, there are shops located near both Chiang Mai immigrations where you can get photos taken and make photocopies if needed.  When it comes to proving your residency, there are a few options you can consider.

If you have stayed in a hotel recently, you can use the hotel receipt as proof. Just make sure that the receipt includes the address and phone number of the hotel. Another option is if you are renting a house or staying with friends, you can provide a TM30 form as proof of your residency.

This form verifies your address and is commonly used for this purpose. For the proof of residency you can show a hotel receipt (note the address, phone number of the hotel) or if you are renting a house or staying with friends, a TM30 form.

To comply with the necessary immigration procedures in Thailand, it is important to request your landlord's assistance in downloading the 'Thai Immigration App' if you are renting a house or staying with friends. The landlord will require specific information such as your passport details and the date you checked into their property. Additionally, they will need to provide a photo of their Thai ID and proof of house ownership, which typically includes property registration documents. After successfully booking an appointment through the app, they will request a screenshot of your information. This screenshot should display your full name and current address. It is crucial that the address provided is within the same city or district as the immigration office where you are applying for your visa.

When going through immigration, you will be required to fill out three forms that contain your personal information. These forms can be obtained from a stand located inside the immigration area. After completing the forms, you will need to join the queue where an assistant will verify that you have filled out the correct paperwork. Once verified, they will issue you a queue number for further processing. After obtaining a yellow queue ticket, proceed inside and patiently wait until your number is called.

Upon being called, present all the required documents to the officer who will thoroughly verify them and capture a photograph. Following this, anticipate an additional waiting period of approximately 10 minutes before receiving your passport along with a receipt. The amount of time it takes to complete a task at the office can vary depending on when you arrive and how many people are present. Typically, Mondays and Fridays tend to be the busiest days. If you want to minimize waiting time, arriving before the office opens and joining the queue can be the most efficient option. However, there is no need to arrive more than an hour early as this should suffice in most cases.

Because all the immigration services are not all available at one office in Chiang Mai (the old immigration office near the airport still takes care of holders of Non Immigrant O, ED, and B Visas), when you visit the new Central Festival Mall office, there may be instances where you find only a few people waiting. In such cases, your task will be completed quickly. However, if there is a large number of people, it is advisable to anticipate some waiting time.

It's crucial to consistently review the expiration date of your visa. Remember, you can only extend your visa once, and after a period of 60 days, you'll be required to depart from the country. It's important to be aware that exceeding the allowed duration of your visa is considered a serious offense and can lead to penalties or even being barred from re-entering the country. Always ensure that you adhere to local laws and follow the established procedures. Furthermore, please keep in mind that Thai immigration offices may be closed during public holidays, so it's advisable to verify the dates beforehand before visiting in person.

I hope this information is helpful. If you apply for an extension at Chiang Mai Airport office or at the Central Festival office and it's different than this procedure please let me know so I can update this posting.

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