We entered Thailand with a 60 day tourist visa already in hand from the Vancouver embassy. If you have a 60 day visa it can be extended for another 30 days for a total of 90 days in the Kingdom. We decided to do the extension as we really want to be in Thailand for Christmas.
Our next stop after Nai Yang is Chiang Mai, a city in Northern Thailand. I asked some friends up there what the process was for getting a visa extension and I was told that it would be no problem but that it would take most of a day to do. The office opens up at 8:30 a.m. but people start queuing at 6:30 a.m.!
So, we decided to apply for the extension early in Phuket Town rather then waiting until we get to Chiang Mai for three reasons:
- I hate having things like this on my mind and would rather just get it over with so I don’t have to think about it anymore.
- We wanted to rent a car anyway so we could do a big grocery shop and thought we could kill two birds with one stone.
- We thought that the Phuket office might be less busy as Phuket seems more of a place for the two-week holidayers while Chiang Mai has more of an expat community.
We rented a car for $30 and headed down to Phuket Town. We sauntered into the office at about 10 a.m. We had our passports photocopied and pictures taken at the office downstairs and then headed upstairs to start the visa application.
Upon entry there were two older Caucasian gentlemen in uniform. We sat down with one while he looked over our passports. He told us we did not have to get visa extensions for our two boys as there is no charge for visa overstays for children under the age of fifteen. Score! We just saved 3800 baht! (123 dollars)
We filled out our paperwork and handed them to one of the three immigration officers on duty. We sat down with him while he looked over our paper work and then gave him the 1900 baht each. We then took a seat in the waiting area. Ten minutes later another officer called our names and we were home free!
From the time we got there to the time we left was no longer than 45 minutes! Easy peasy!
Of course if we had come on another day it is quite possible we would have had a different experience…I have no idea if it is this easy all the time. But from our experience if you need an extension and you are on the Andaman side of Thailand, Phuket town is the place to do it!