Double Check your Visa Extension Stamps

May 19, 2015
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About four years ago, I wrote about Immigration officers making mistakes with visa extension stamps. A teacher friend had gone abroad for a short trip. He had a re-entry permit and when he came back, he naturally expected that his visa extension stamp would remain valid. But, unknown to him, the Immigration staff didn’t spot his re-entry permit and gave him only 30 days. He only found out nearly two months later when he turned up at local Immigration to renew his visa extension. He was told that he had overstayed by one month. Luckily for him, this was easily resolved, though he had to return to Suvarnabhumi Airport to get them to write the correct date first.

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When I had my visa extended last year, I was delighted, though a little surprised, that they gave me two years. Normally I would be given only one year at a time. I didn’t really think that it was a mistake as, after all, I know a number of people who have two year visas. Some even more. But in hindsight, it was rather stupid of me for not double checking with them whether it was a mistake or not. To be honest, if I had known it was a mistake, I might have been tempted just to go along with it. After all, surely it was their mistake and I shouldn’t be penalized for it. How wrong was I.

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Just the other week, a friend of mine was telling me about his bad experience at his local Immigration office. He was under the impression that he was going there to do a routine yearly extension to his visa. He was expecting to pay only 1,900 Baht to do this. But, he ended up having to pay an additional 20,000 Baht for overstaying. An Immigration officer during his previous visit had made a mistake. My friend had to pay for that mistake. This naturally made me think about my own situation and to whether my visa extension was really two years long or not. I kept putting off going to Immigration to ask, but then yesterday I got a phone call from the Inspector at Samut Prakan Immigration who I have known personally for a number of years. So, when I went in today, I brought up the subject of my visa extension with him.

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So, apparently, as it turns out, they should have given me only a one year extension and not two. I was really lucky that I had gone sooner rather than later. My extension in the passport originally said July 2016. They have now crossed this out and have written the year 2015 instead. I am really lucky that this was sorted out now before the first year had expired. He made it clear to me that if I had come in next year there would have been a big problem about it. Not only would I have overstayed by a year, I would, at the very least, have faced a 20,000 Baht fine. I could have also faced deportation and maybe even blacklisting. I learned a very important lesson today. I admit I was stupid not to double check. Hopefully by sharing my experience, I may help others from not having to pay a big fine.

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On a related note, the reason that I went in today was to discuss about the website for Samut Prakan Immigration. At present, it is more than 95% in Thai. They want my help in reversing that ratio. I don’t need to translate anything. I can grab most things from the Immigration website in Bangkok. I don’t think they will actually pay me, but I am happy to help them. Mainly because they have agreed to answer any of your visa related questions. So, feel free to send them in and I will LINE the inspector in Samut Prakan. This has the potential of being really good. So please, take advantage of this free resource.

31 Responses to Double Check your Visa Extension Stamps

  1. Markus
    May 19, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    On April 1st there has been introduced an online 90 day report.
    For some it seems to work, for others not (due to thaivisa forum).
    One member got the information from his immigration that only foreigners can use it, who have last entered after a certain date (like 1 JAN 2013 or so), meaning all others that stay here for longer than this date can not use the method (not registered in the system).
    True or not?

    • Richard Barrow
      May 19, 2015 at 9:40 pm

      Most people reported technical problems, like website timing out. Though some people have told me they were able to do it. I brought this up with the Immigration in Samut Prakan today and I was told that Bangkok is aware of this problem and they are working to solve it. Hopefully they won’t take too long. In the meantime you can use EMS if you don’t want to waste in queues.

  2. Ray
    May 19, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    Sounds good! Just came back from immigration myself today for 90 day reporting. Although I did try to do this online and the system did say, all OK please check in later, when I returned to check and entered my ref. Number the system said: status unknown.
    At Immigration today there were lots of foreigners with a simular problem and some where sent back saying it was approved online already! Others, like me, must have been lucky checking in as the system was not updated. Whish to address this to your friend to ask when the system will be up working 100%

  3. May 19, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    With regards to 90-day reporting by mail, it is a requirement that you send your renewal request in 15-days before the expiry date…

    However, though the immigration website states that “Your new form will be stamped as of the expiration date of your old receipt” (http://www.immigration.go.th/nov2004/en/base.php?page=90days), it rarely is.

    About 2 years ago, when I first started mailing in, I lost a week every time; so, when I started to mail it in 8 days before (as opposed to the full period), I was specifically told 15-days. It made no difference.

    Staff training would appear to be the answer, but could you please ask why the clear and repeated discrepancies?

    Thanks.

    • Richard Barrow
      May 19, 2015 at 10:30 pm

      Thanks for this. I did talk with him about the problems people had faced with online reporting. They are working on this. I also asked him if he preferred if people came in person or use the EMS service. He said that some people made mistakes when they sent their documents by the post office. So, to be sure everything is correct, he said it is best to go in your self or send someone to go for you. But, I will sit down with him to write the steps about exactly what you need to do if you want to send the 90 day report by EMS.

  4. Tom & Rene Springall
    May 19, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    My kids have been in Thailand for 3 years now, and I found out from my wife that she has never carried out the 90 day reporting for them. Given they are too young to do it anyway – are they in some way exempted (which would be sensible). I cannot get the online system to work so I wonder whether this may be the reason why? When do they start to have to do it if there is a kids exemption?

    • Richard Barrow
      May 19, 2015 at 11:06 pm

      What are their ages?

      • Tom & Rene Springall
        May 20, 2015 at 6:11 pm

        Hi Richard, they are aged 8 and 10 years. I actually went yesterday to immigration yesterday for other reasons, and the immigration officers responsible for issuing the permit to stay for me as the childrens guardian told me that they did have to be reported every 90 days, but that I should do it online and not to bother queueing (and the queue was huge).

        • Richard Barrow
          May 20, 2015 at 10:09 pm

          I just got the answer back from my local Immigration. He said no need until they are 15 years of age. Good luck with online reporting!

          • Glenn
            May 21, 2015 at 5:26 pm

            Is it true that kids under fifteen years of age can stay in the kingdom without visa?as I know they are over stay in that case, but there is no penalty or fine for them, am I right sir?

  5. Ben
    May 19, 2015 at 11:23 pm

    I’ve heard, if you want to make a PR, you need to have a university degree. As I am planning to do that, can you check if this is correct? My degree is from a business school and not university …

    • Richard Barrow
      May 19, 2015 at 11:42 pm

      What’s a PR?

      • Ray
        May 19, 2015 at 11:49 pm

        Permanent residency

        • Richard Barrow
          May 20, 2015 at 10:11 pm

          There is more than one category that you can apply under for PR. So, answer not simple. They have a lot of detailed info on their website if I remember right.

  6. Willaim Rohwer
    May 20, 2015 at 2:49 am

    So is it true that soon all the visa hurdles can be done online and you will not have to go into the visa office? I have been hearing rumbles about this. Truth or fiction?

  7. Chris
    May 20, 2015 at 3:35 am

    However, a Thai work permit may be for two years to an Alien. True or false?

    • Richard Barrow
      May 20, 2015 at 6:34 am

      Work permits are issued by Ministry of Labour. What I know is that your visa is of more importance and strictly speaking, the work permit should follow your visa dates. So, its a bit pointless paying for a two year work permit if you only get a one year visa.

  8. Jim
    May 20, 2015 at 3:57 am

    Did my 90 day report online for the first time last week. Worked fine. Even got an email a couple days later saying my application was approved.

  9. paul bartlett
    May 20, 2015 at 7:56 am

    have my first 90 day extension my Q is can i go to a different office to renew the next 90 day
    or do you think i should ask next time i go to chachoengsao
    i live in pathum thani but went to chachoengsao reasons i wont go into
    thanks richard

    • Richard Barrow
      May 20, 2015 at 10:08 am

      I have a Non-Immigrant visa and they won’t let me change offices. I have to do it in the province where I work. But things like 90-day reporting, you can do it anywhere if you are away on holiday.

      • paul
        May 20, 2015 at 8:43 pm

        yer thanks il try a week be4 extension expire see what they say at pathum thani immigration no harm in asking i hope????????
        my 90 day extension is on a retirement permitted up to 31 may 2016

        • Richard Barrow
          May 20, 2015 at 10:14 pm

          I guess no harm in trying. Please let me know how you get on.

  10. John Higgins
    May 20, 2015 at 8:27 am

    You should correct your terminology.

    A visa is a document that gives you the right to travel to Thailand.

    These are for temporary immigrants (Tourist Visa and Non-Immigrant Visa)
    Or for permanent immigrants (Resident Visa)
    Some temporary Immigrants are also Visa Waivered.

    A permit of stay is another “document” (stamp usually) , that you get at an immigration post(office or border) that specifies your entitled duration of stay in the country.

    You get permit of stay extensions , not visa extensions.

    The most common form of permit of stay extensions is for those legally working in Thailand. Their permit of stay extension is tied to the duration in their work permit.

    Permit of stay extensions may be “preserved” with a Re Entry permit for when you need to travel in and out of Thailand.

    Folks with Immigrant Visas(Permanent Residents) don’t need to do permit of stay extensions or 90 day reporting (but still need Work Permits for work, can get a 3 year one ).

    PS : I didn’t need a university degree for Permanent Residency , but I was 7 at the time.

    • Richard Barrow
      May 20, 2015 at 10:06 am

      Thanks for the correction. The reason I chose to add “visa” because everyone keeps calling it that. So, by saying “visa extension” I thought I would make everyone happy. Technically it is still an extension of your original visa. But, I will review what I wrote now.

      • John Higgins
        May 20, 2015 at 2:45 pm

        I hear you. Folks have always misused the terms Visa and Permit of Stay (in English and Thai langs)

        “…Technically it is still an extension of your original visa…” , well that’s what a Re-Entry permit is for.
        Your Visa (right to travel to Thailand) may expire , but your Re-Entry permit is what will then be used to travel to and enter Thailand and resume from where you left off with your prevailing Permit of stay duration.

  11. Stew
    May 21, 2015 at 9:32 am

    I really think that the author needs to understand the difference between an extension of permit to stay and a visa before they start talking to immigration about anything apart from what they had for lunch

    • Richard Barrow
      May 21, 2015 at 10:20 am

      I fully understand the difference. Every time I do 90 Day Reporting I have to photocopy both my original visa and the extension permit. Two different things. But most people refer to it as “extending their visa”. I just don’t want to get on a high horse and keep correcting people every time they make this mistake. I just don’t think it is that important. But, thanks for your comment. I understand what you are saying.

    • Paul Hamon
      May 22, 2015 at 7:36 pm

      Obviously you know very little about this author.

  12. Louelle Martin
    February 24, 2016 at 8:50 am

    hi,
    good morning.

    I have questions regarding 90 days. My girlfriend lost her passport last week when she did some check up at Thammasat Hospital. And the thing is that she need to show up for her 90 days this February 26, 2016. We already reported it to the Embassy. and let them know about the lost passport. But regarding about the visa please advice us what to do?

  13. Ian Bradshaw
    May 3, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    Hi Richard,

    I wish to apply for my Non-Immigrant Type O Visa (married to a Thai national). I am currently working in Beijing, China just now and my wife still resides in Thailand.

    I plan to make application for my visa via the Royal Thai consulate in Beijing, but am having a little trouble ascertaining exactly what documents they require and confirmation of the length of the visa.

    Any assistance is greatly appreciated and thank you.

    Kind regards

    Ian

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