I had to renew my British passport in Bangkok this week. As it was different from my last time, I thought I would share with you the steps that I took to do this. It was all very straightforward to do and I had my new passport back within three weeks. To renew your British passport, you need to first book an appointment by sending an email to BangkokHMPO@vfshelpline.com. In your email, include your first name and last name and three alternative dates and times from 8:30am to 4pm, Monday to Friday except for public holidays. You will receive an email confirming your appointment.
In the same email, they will caution you about following advice in blogs about how to renew your passport! They suggest you check this link if applying from abroad for a new passport: https://www.gov.uk/government/
Not everyone will be the same but my checklist was as follows:
✅ Two recent passport photos. They are fussy about this and so make sure you follow their guidelines. There’s a shop on the ground floor of Trendy that does this for 200 Baht. More expensive than elsewhere but as they ask you for your nationality, you will know for sure it will be correct for a British passport. As it was a renewal, and my face hasn’t changed much, I didn’t get anyone to sign on the back of my photo.
✅ Your old passport.
✅ A color photocopy of every page in your passport. Yes, every page. Best to get this done locally as it will be more expensive at the Trendy building. Or you can get it done at work like I did for free on a color printer.
✅ Evidence of identity and address. For myself, I showed my passport as the photo identity and I gave them a color photocopy of my Non-B visa as proof of address. Yes, I know, weird. In the link above they list other ways but this was the easiest way for me. Whichever method you choose, the address has to be in English. My Thai driver’s license has my address in English on the reverse and so I could have used that.
You can download the passport application form in advance from their website (see here) or just fill one in when you get there. There is also a form for payment details. You have to decide how many pages you want in your new passport. The choice is a 32-page or 48-page passport. I don’t travel abroad much, but Thai Immigration is a bit stamp crazy and my 32-page passport filled up within eight years. For the payment, I used my Bangkok Bank credit card details rather than one issued in the UK.
The Trendy Office Building is a short walk down Sukhumwit Soi 13 on your right (see map). If going by Skytrain, you can either get off at BTS Nana (5-minute walk) or BTS Asok (7-minute walk). I prefer the latter. The VFS office is on the 8th floor. Go in, turn right and walk towards the back. If there’s a long queue for the express lift (like below), just take the lift on the right by the Dental Clinic. There’s usually no-one there but it stops at more floors.
At the VFS office, you will see many Thais here. As they are applying for visas for various countries, you can usually ignore any queues outside and inside. Go through security and turn left ignoring the main counter. There’s a small desk by a door for HM Passport Office. There will be a list of people with appointments. Sign your name and they will let you in. As a foreigner, they will know why you are there. So, don’t worry.
If you have all your documents in order, you will probably be in and out within ten minutes or so. About three weeks later, you will get an email to say that your passport is ready to collect. You don’t need to book an appointment for this but you have to go within 30 days and during office hours. This is Monday to Friday and from 9am to 3pm. If you cannot go in person, just sign a power of attorney form stating the name of the person who will be collecting the passport on your behalf. Take with you your old passport (which they will cancel by cutting the corner off) and your receipt. Make sure you check the details in your new passport before they cancel the old one. They will also give you a letter to give to Immigration. You must have this to transfer your visa stamps.
Once I had my new passport in hand, I next headed to Immigration to have my valid stamps transferred over. You don’t need to rush there as I did, but I wanted to finish everything within one day. The procedure here is very simple. You will need to photocopy and sign the photo page of both passports. Then photocopy every page in the old passport that has a stamp. These photocopies need to be signed too. You also need to fill out a form with details about your old and new passports. Then, present all of this and the letter that you got from the British embassy to the Immigration officer. I was finished within about 15 minutes. The best thing of all, it was free to transfer the stamps.
The only thing I need to do now is to register my new passport at my local bank. If you didn’t know already, when you get a new passport, you get a new passport number. So, basically, any place that you used your passport to register for something, you need to go back and tell them. Again, there isn’t a rush and in fact, I didn’t do it for a few years last time. It is only a problem when you need to do something and your passport numbers don’t match. You will then need to take your old and new passports with you.
If you have any tips of your own or something has changed since I wrote this on 8th June 2019, please post in the comments below. Thanks.