If you plan to stay in Thailand for a while, chances are you’ll become quite familiar with your local immigration office. Of the many services offered there, getting an infamous visa extension is one of them. In this post, we touch on everything you need to know about where and how to extend a Thai tourist visa in Chiang Mai. That is, to extend your visa for an additional 30 days if you happen to be staying or traveling in Chiang Mai Province.
A Note About Thai Tourist Visas
A single-entry Thai tourist visa conveniently provides visitors 60 days in Thailand. And to be crystal clear (and to help you with future travel arrangements) the first day you arrive in Thailand and the last day in Thailand are counted towards those 60 days.
This 60 days can be then extended 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 once.
|NOTE: As of 13 November 2015, Royal Thai Embassies and Consulate-Generals no longer issue double or triple entry Thai tourist visas. Every entry on the new Multiple Entry Tourist Visa (METV) is eligible for one 30 day extension.|
You can apply for a Thai tourist visa extension up until the day it expires. However, you cannot extend your visa once an entry has expired, so be mindful of the date.
To be safe, we recommend giving yourself a few days before your entry expires to apply for an extension. That way, if your expiration date unexpectedly lands on a weekend or a Thai holiday (during which the offices are closed), you won’t be SOL. It’s been known to happen!
Applying a day or two in advance also gives you a bit of wiggle room if there is a hang-up in the application process. We’ve heard tales of people trying to apply only to be turned away because there were too many people in the queue or because the officer handling extensions was not there that day.
|TIP: You can also apply for a 30 day extension on a visa-exempt stamp. It costs the same and has the same requirements as listed below.|
What to Bring for a Thai Tourist Visa Extension
To apply for an extension, make sure to apply in person and bring the following to the local immigration office:
- Passport with a valid Thai tourist visa (to confirm authenticity)
- Photocopies of the main passport photo page, current Thai tourist visa page, TM.6 departure card, and latest entry stamp (sign all photocopies, too)
- Application for Extension of Temporary Stay in the Kingdom (form TM.7)
- One 4cm x 6cm passport photo
- An application fee of 1,900 baht (roughly equal to 60 USD)
Make sure you copy down your current address and your Thai phone number (if you have one) as this information is needed to fill out 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.
Also bring a black or blue pen just in case the office has run out!
|NOTE: No matter when you apply for a Thai tourist visa extension, the 30 days are tacked on to the day after the last (60th) day of your entry. Whether you apply for an extension one week before your visa entry expires or on the last possible day, you will still receive a full 90 days (60 days for original entry + 30 days for extension) in Thailand.|
Where to Extend a Thai Tourist Visa in Chiang Mai
The Chiang Mai Immigration Office next to the Chiang Mai International Airport no longer issues extensions for Thai tourists visa as of July 2015.
Visitors can extend a Thai tourist visa in Chiang Mai at the immigration office at the Promenada Mall. It labeled as a “One Stop Service” and it’s open from 8:30am to 4:30pm, Monday through Friday excluding Saturday, Sunday, and Thai holidays.
The office is located roughly 10 minutes drive southeast from Chiang Mai’s Old City. If you are approaching the Promenada Mall on east-bound Route 1141, the Immigration Office is best accessible through Entrance 2 of the mall. After turning into Entrance 2, directly ahead of you will be a large red Tom N Toms Coffee shop sign. The new Chiang Mai Immigration Office is located directly below that.
Unfortunately, if you take your own vehicle, you will be forced to loop around the building and park in the ground level garage on the other side of the mall before having to walk to the immigration office, which is on the ground floor of Building A.
If you are taking public transportation, simply say “Promenada” to a songthaew, taxi, or tuk-tuk driver and they should drop you off in the front of the mall.
Passport Photo and Photocopy Services
If you need photocopies of your passport and/or a photograph of yourself, these services are available from a small shop a few doors left of the main Chiang Mai Immigration Office “One Stop Service” Center at the Promenada Mall. The glass doors have big white letters reading PHOTO & COPY.
Photocopies cost 2 baht per copy. Six passport photos cost 200 baht. Although the office will not issue only one photo, hold on to the remaining five photos because they will be useful for future visa extensions or applications for re-entry permits or residence certificates.
Just outside the photocopy and passport photo room is a coffee shop on the ground level called Dairy Goat Café. It’s open from roughly 5:30am to 4pm Monday through Friday.
The bathroom facilities are also quite nice. They are a little ways down from the immigration office but they are clearly marked with signs. They are amply stocked with toilet paper and hand soap.
Then of course, there’s the mall for you to explore if you need to kill some time.
Tourist Visa Extension Application Process
Once you’ve arrived at the Chiang Mai Immigration Office, go to the Information Desk outside the glass-enclosed office and grab a TM.7 form. Sit at any of the dozen outdoor tables and fill out the form. If you need to, now’s the time to get photocopies of your passport or a passport photo from the PHOTO & COPY shop nearby.
With passport, completed application, single photo, signed photocopies, and cash in hand, go back to the Information Desk and hand everything over to the representative. They will clip the documents together along with a queue number.
On a slow day, the immigration worker may take your packet inside the building to Thai tourist visa extension desk themselves. Otherwise, walk inside with your packet and hand it to the officer at the center desk with the “Tourist Visa Extension” sign above it.
Relax in a chair and enjoy some air conditioning. Listen for your name to be called over the announcing speaker. Presently, there is no digital number screen to refer to your queue number.
Go up to the center desk and have your photo taken. Sit back down. At this point, you will only have to wait another few minutes for your name to be called for a second time. This is when an immigration officer will return a receipt of payment, any change, and your passport with an extension ink stamp inside. Double check that you received an extra 30 days before heading out, and that’s it!
Now that the services are distributed between the two offices (the old office near the airport still caters to holders of Non Immigrant O, ED, and B Visas), there is no need to arrive at 5am or 6am to get a good spot in line to extend your Thai tourist visa in Chiang Mai.
During one visit to the Chiang Mai Immigration at the Promenada Mall, there were hardly any people there. We arrived in the afternoon around 2pm and saw only two applicants and it took us around 30 minutes to extend a Thai tourist visa in Chiang Mai. On another visit there there many people and it took around two hours.
What’s your experience extending your tourist visa at the Chiang Mai Immigration Office at the Promenada Mall? How much better (or worse) was it than other locations?