During my 10 years living in Thailand, on several occasions I’ve entered the country on a tourist visa, as I was in between jobs so couldn’t get a work permit. While on those tourist visas, I’ve also had to go to the Thai immigration office in Bangkok to extend them as they are originally only issued for a period of 60 days. Luckily, extending a tourist visa in Thailand is actually very easy. As long as you have the correct documentation, of course.
If you too are one of the hundreds of thousands of people who will extend their tourist visa in Thailand this year, make sure you have the correct paperwork with you when you arrive at Thai immigration. If you don’t, you will be turned away and your tourist visa extension will be lost.
Paperwork you will need when extending a tourist visa in Thailand
Your passport – While this might seem to be common sense, I have heard of people who have forgotten to take theirs to the immigration office, meaning they didn’t stand a chance of getting an extension.
Photocopies of your passport – The main paperwork you will need to extend a tourist visa in Thailand is one photo copy of each of two pages of your passport — the page where your original tourist visa and entry permit into Thailand is stamped, and a copy of the page that has your photograph and personal information on it.
Photocopy of departure card – Every time you arrive in Thailand, whether it’s at an airport or a land border, you will complete a departure card that will then be stapled into the interior of your passport to be used when you leave the country. When you go to Thai immigration to apply for an extension to your tourist visa, you must also have a photocopy of this departure card to submit with your application.
You will also find, when your passport is returned to you with your tourist visa extension nicely stamped in it, the information on the departure card has also been changed to reflect your new required departure date. Remember to make a note of it, so you don’t miss the date and end up being in Thailand illegally.
Passport style photograph – You must have a passport style photograph to submit with your application when applying for an extension to your tourist visa in Thailand. The photograph should be 4 x 6 cm, and should show you wearing appropriate dress, as well as not smiling.
Remember, if you look like a slob either in person or in the photograph, Thai immigration will treat you as such. Dress appropriately for your photograph being taken, as well as appropriately for your visit to the Thai immigration office for your extension, and it’s doubtful you’ll have any issues.
Extension application fee – Every time you apply for an extension to your tourist visa, you will also be expected to submit an application fee. For the last decade or more, the extension application fee has been 1,900 baht, or approximately $61.
Completed application form for a tourist visa extension – This form will be given to you at the reception desk when you arrive at Thai immigration. The information requested is minimal, and it takes less than five minutes to complete.
What happens if you forget any of the paperwork? – Unless it’s your passport or your arrival card, you won’t have a problem when you get to immigration and realize you’ve forgotten some of your paperwork. That’s because there are several copy shops on the basement floor of the building (if you’re in Bangkok) that will not only photocopy all your relevant documentation, but they will take your photograph for you as well.
When can you extend your tourist visa? – Several Thai immigration officials have told me a tourist visa can be extended at any time during the last 30 days on the visa and, no matter when you do it, the number of extended days will be added on from the expiration date of the tourist visa itself.
You can also extend it on the day it expires, which you’ll find stamped into your passport itself. Just make sure if you do it this way that that day is not a Thai holiday as, if it is, Thai immigration will be closed and your tourist visa will expire.
You can find out more about paperwork needed for various visas and extensions by visiting the Thailand Immigration Bureau’s website.