Thai Immigration has just released a new regulation that will affect people who need to renew their passport before their visa expires. In the past, Immigration would transfer your visa from your old passport to the new one for free. But, this has now changed. Not only do you have to pay a 1,900 Baht fee, you also have to submit all of the documents again as if you were applying for the visa again. Here is their announcement:
According to the New Regulation from August 13, 2013: When submitting application for Visa Extension if the validity of passport of the applicant is not longer than one year left before expiry, the extension of stay will be permitted not exceeding the expired date of passport. After the renewal of your passport of obtaining a new passport, you have to re-apply for Visa Extension by submitting required document and paying extension fee ( 1,900 Baht ). In case of overstay, the fine is 500 Baht per day.
I am going to be one of the people affected by the moving of the goal posts while the game is in play. I renewed my visa back in March and it was stamped “Extension of stay approved up to 30 March 2014”. As my passport will expire at the end of the year, they added “but permitted to stay up to 18 December 2013 due to validity of passport”. At the time they assured me that it is no problem to transfer the visa to the new passport and that it would be free.
I’m hoping I will be exempt as I already applied for my visa before this new regulation started. But, I am not too hopeful. Paying the 1,900 Baht visa extension fee is fine. I am used to that kind of thing now. What is daunting is having to collect all of the documents again to support my application. It took nearly a month last time. I am not looking forward to having to do this again so soon.
UPDATE: According to Lt Col Napat Nusen from the Phuket Immigration, people who have already been given a one year visa beyond the expiry date of their passport, will be exempt from this new regulation.
“Foreigners who already have a permit-to-stay that extends beyond the expiry date on their passport will be allowed to have their current permit-to-stay transferred into their new passport when it arrives.”
This is good news for people like myself who already have a visa but their passport expires before the visa. But from now onwards, if your passport expires in say 11 months you will only be given a visa for 11 months instead of the full year.