You’re hanging out in Chiang Mai and talking to other backpackers. You keep hearing about all of these awesome places to go and amazing fun things to do. But crap! My visa is running out! I have no time to do it all. Let’s extend that visa shall we 🙂
Limits on Extending
The conditions and options for the Tourist Visa in Thailand are constantly changing. So please double check everything you read here. The Immigration Office used to be at a mall outside of town, but since 2018 it has been moved back to its original location near the airport. Please ask your hostel, ask travel places, and ask fellow travelers.
The cost for extending will be 1900THB (~$60usd). This price hasn’t changed since the first time I did this back in 2014.
You can actually do the extension twice. The first time will grant you a 30 day extension from the initial visa end date. The second time will grant you a 7 day extension, but still costing 1900THB. I knew someone who thought they could do a visa run (link to come), but the current regulations don’t allow it for visa exemption entries. So she needed to pay for the 7 day extension in order to finish her Thai Massage courses – OUCH!
What You Need
I let you know how to get all this stuff just below 😉
- TM7 Form
- Download and print here or get a copy at the Immigration Office
- Hostel Address: You’ll need to write the address to your hostel on the back of the form.
- Departure Card Number: You will need to write your departure card ID on the form as well.
- Photocopy of Passport
- Photocopy of Visa Stamp and Departure Card
- Passport Photo (4x6cm) – my blue background worked and I know someone else used a white background successfully. Worst case they will tell you the photo is no good and you’ll have to go across the street to get one (see below)
Be sure to sign all of your photocopies and put your email address and/or phone number on the back of the TM7 form (below your signature).
You can get all the documents you need across the street from Immigration Office at the LPG gas station. They are quite nice only charging 2THB per copy and 200THB for 4 passport photos. I had my passport photo already, but I needed the TM7 form, Photocopy of Passport, and Photocopy of Visa Stamp & Departure Card. I was able to get it all done there with no problem. I’m not sure when they open, but they were definitely open at 7:30am the Monday I arrived. If you think about it, it makes sense for them to open when the Immigration Office opens – all of their business comes from there.
Where To Go
Chiang Mai Immigration Office
Hours: 8:30 – 4:30pm With a lunch break from 12:00-1:00 (so if you haven’t been served by lunch, you’re waiting til they finish lunch). Doors open at 7:30am to start handing ticket numbers to people.
How Do You Get There?
You can get there by riding a motorbike, riding a bicycle, taking a tuktuk, or by taking a songthaew. I think the easiest way is by taking a red songthaew. You can flag one down easily from any main road in Old City. Tell them “I want to go to the Immigration Office” and it should be about 50THB. Likewise for coming back, you can go across the street and flag one down and ask for Tha Phae Gate (the East Gate – pronounced “Tie Pay Gate”) or other location near your hostel (they won’t always know the location you ask for, but they always know Tha Phae Gate).
Process at the Chiang Mai Immigration Office
This is the exact step-by-step/situation-by-situation experience that I had in very shorthand.
Show up -> Get all of your paperwork -> Go to the counter -> Hand over your documents and passport -> Hand over 1900THB for the extension cost -> Receive your ticket (they keep your passport) -> Watch the TV screen for your ticket number -> Go to counter (they ask additional questions) -> Sit again and Wait for your name to be called -> Go to counter and get your passport with the extension stamp in it! -> DONE!!! More time in Thailand 😀
- Get there between 7am and 8am to avoid the wait. Doors open at 7:30am to hand out tickets. They start processing at 8:30am (although when I went I got my ticket at 8:00am, T11[Tourist 11], and they were already at T8. So make your life easy and get there early!)
- Try not to go on a Monday. It is typically the busiest day, however I went in low season on Monday (because I had no other options) and I was in and out in less than an hour after arriving.
- Be careful of holidays like the King’s Birthday and Buddha Day. The Immigration Office will be shut down on these days. Check their website for holiday listings (http://www.chiangmaiimm.com/th-th/download/word/tm7.doc)
It is also closed on weekends.
- Bring a pen – make life easy
I rode my bicycle there leaving at 7:20am. I’m actually leaving later than I intended and I’m getting nervous about how long I’ll have to wait. The only documentation I had was my passport photos (which I had taken at the Chiang Mai Immigration Office 1 year prior :). I got there around 7:50am. They have the TM7 form up the stairs outside of the waiting room so I grab a form and fill it out at the table. I learn that I have to go across the street for my photocopies (I can’t get a ticket number until I have all documentation). I consider waiting in line to try to get a ticket before I get the photocopies…ehhhhh…probably a bad idea (it was). I run across the street, get my photocopies for 4THB!, run back across. It’s 8:05 and now the line is out the door! Great, I’m gonna have to spend my whole morning here. It’s ok, it’s ok, practice that non-attachment from the meditation retreat. I get to the counter, I get my ticket, I’m T11. Hmmm…that doesn’t seem too bad. I check the screens – “Wow, they’re already at T8.” This shouldn’t take long at all. My number pops up and I get asked some questions about where I’m staying and if I have a Thai number. I give him my Thai number and sit back down. I get my name called 2 minutes later. I pickup my passport and 100THB change and the stamp is sitting pretty on the page. Easy done! Out of there by 8:30am!
So let me know how you go. Has anything changed? Did this article help? I’d love to hear it all – and Meander On 🙂