Bangkok Immigration Visa Extension Report
Did my annual visa extension Thursday at Chaeng Wattana. Non-Imm ‘O’ (marriage). Bullet points first.
– Everybody doing a visa extension is being clobbered with this. Retirement, marriage and whatever a 30 something single Czech would be here on.
– They start off with the normal process, then a system check tells them you haven’t a TM30 to your name, so you get sent to get the form and a queue number for Counter B. Your application is processed to the point of fixing the date to return (marriage extension), but isn’t signed off by the OIC.
– You are told to complete the TM30 process and come back with the documents.
– TM30 is a 3 step process, wife did the report, she got fined 800 baht, no excuses, proceed to section A to pay it, then to the next counter for the payment receipt and endorsement of the acknowledgement of report.
– photocopy the documents, back to visa section with the documents, then passport is sent to the OIC for endorsement of date to return.
– they now want the 400k bank balance to be maintained until you return for the ‘result’, which is the 1 year extension stamp. I was reminded repeatedly to bring the bank book when I return on 25th July. I asked and it was confirmed they only want to see the 400k there, I am free to spend the excess, it doesn’t have to tally with the balance and letter from the bank on day of application.
Now for the details. We arrived just as they opened the doors, but the queue snaking around the hall was still at least 200 in number. A quick look told me that as before, most of them were not there for Marriage or Retirement extensions, many being youngsters likely on student visas, some a little older and likely working here. Nipped down to the bank for the letter. Queue number 15, so had a bit of a wait. They have become very efficient with issuing the letters, but most people were there for general banking and that takes time.
Up to immigration around 0900hrs, queue number 44 and they were at number 16. Not as crowded as last year. A fair number of Westerners there, but not as predominant as in the Suan Plu days. Quite a few Chinese, a sprinkling of Indians and many more who looked like they could be from Myanmar or Cambodia. One day a year is not a statistically significant sample, but the demographic has changed from the old days if this was any indication. The visa extension took only 2 hours, excluding the OIC signature, but the TM30 was a real pain. By the time the wife was sent to get a queue number for counter B, there were 113 ahead of us, and we hadn’t even finished with the visa bit. We ended up staying over their lunch break, even though the visa bit was done by 1030hrs. We finally left at 1430hrs, after the most disagreeable experience in years.
TM30 not sorted out means no visa extension. Waiting for the OIC signature, there was a retired Brit behind us who was telling his friend he would go and talk to the landlord and return the next day if possible.
The 30 something Czech was with a Thai chap from his condo office, so it was a return visit for him. He had sorted out his TM30 before lunch, but he only completed the visa process when we were back waiting for the OIC signature. From the look on his face, things didn’t go well at all.
In case anyone wonders, I have been doing the 90 day report for the same address since July 2008, I have a yellow tabien baan with the same address, and a pink ID for foreigners also with the same address. I have made the effort to get into the system in the faint hope at some point it would count for a 3 or 5 year visa extension like most civilized countries offer once a marriage is deemed genuine. If this experience is any indication, I will die doing annual extensions.
And in case you are wondering, my wife is a successful career woman and I don’t have the heart to ask her to give that up and come home with me to work. As my childhood friend said when he heard all the shit I go through, “come back David, your wife can work here and she will be treated better than you are”. Alas, it is her time now, so I’ll bear with this shit.
A footnote on Section A where the fine is paid, it is the 90 day report section and it was packed. I highly recommend that you either do it online or mail it in, because you will be there for half a day at least if you go in person.