Thai Tourist Visa Extension (30 days)
As a HKSAR passport holder I am eligible for Visa free to travel to Thailand for 30 days. If I want to stay more than 30 days, I have to extend my Thai Visa which I believed was 30-day extension. Me and my fiancé had read a lot about this Thai Visa extension way back when we actually moved to Chiang Mai. Everyone in the forums or their blogs mentioned that it is easy and convenient to extend the visa for the next 30 days in Chiang Mai as long as you can provide all the required documents to the Immigration Department. So, on Day 28, the day before our 30 day visa exemption expired we had all required documents ready in hand.
Required Documents for the Visa Extension in Thailand:
-1 copy of the Main Page of the passport (the page with your picture)
-1 copy of the departure card (TM6 form; the one the immigration officer attached on your passport during your arrival)
-1 copy of the arrival stamp
-1 Passport Photo (4cm x 6 cm)
-Visa Extension Application Form (TM7)
-Application fee THB 1,900
The Chiang Mai Immigration Office opens at 8:30am till 4:30pm, Monday to Friday, close on Saturday, Sunday and Thai holidays.
We woke up early on our Day 29 in order to avoid the crowd. The Immigration Office is located at the Promenada Mall which is 20 minutes driving from the Chiang Mai airport toward the East. We took a songthaew and took us around 15 minutes from Nimman to get there.
The office is at the basement level of the Promenada Mall (Building A) and above it is the TOM N TOMS coffee shop, it is very easy to spot. We arrived around 8:40am, there were already a few lines for different types of Visa (make sure to ask which line is the right one for you) but it wasn’t that crowded I would say (it was actually much less crowded as we were set to leave so probably no need to rush in the morning to get there). We prepared all copies and forms in advance, but if you don’t have anything prepared before you have reached the Office, there is a paid-service area for you to do the copies(THB 2/copy) and photo taking (THB 200 for 6 photos) and the form is also provided at the counter.
We just waited for 5 minutes then it was our turn to hand-in all forms and documents, we were like “wow, it is pretty fast!” but then the lady who checked my document informed me that for the HKSAR passport holder, I can only extend for 7 days instead of 30 days. That was totally out of our expectation. We planned to extend for 30 days then w will have a short trip outside Thailand and will apply for the Thai Single Entry Visa for staying in Thailand 60 days more. At that moment, it seemed we had to travel a month earlier than we planned. But, we had no actual plan yet and just one day left before we will be kicked out from Thailand.
It was not exactly a visa run because we were actually going to apply a Thai Tourist Visa. So, the day we failed to extend our stay in Chiang Mai, we rushed back home and turned on our computers and started searching for the hotels, air tickets, which country is good for the visa application, location of the Thai consulate etc. and seemed Malaysia was the place for this trip. Malaysia is a country just south of Thailand, more flight options and the fare is economical. Also, we have been thinking to visit Malaysia, this made a very good “excuse” to go this time. Penang is the second biggest city in Malaysia and many people recommended that it is one of the easiest and stress free cities for the application of the Thai Tourist Visa (compared with Kuala Lumpur where we heard they can be problematic), so we booked the ticket to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, fly with Air Asia, and the transit flight fly with Malindo Air to Penang. That night we slept early beacuse we had an early flight to catch next morning at 8:30am.
Transit in Kuala Lumpur
I had been to Kuala Lumpur a few times when I was a flight attendant but I never visited Kuala Lumpur for my personal travel. So, I didn’t have an idea how the airport was structed exactly. As we took the different flights to Penang, we had to go through the immigration and customs in KL and proceeded to Malindo Air check-in counter for the check-in. KL Airport is big and busy, but the direction instructions are not clear at all, we had no idea where to go for the next flight. We just had 1 hour for transit, we were in a RUSH! We went up and down, floor to floor, looking for the Malindo Air counter but no luck for us. Also, it was hard to locate the information desk. Finally, we found one. We have been told that, in fact, there are 2 terminals in KL Airport and the one for our flight was in another terminal and we had to take a train to get there. Ok, let’s go! We rushed to the train station but the thing was we had to pay 2 RM each for the train to another terminal. Oh…but we had no Malaysia cash with us. Ok…another 5 minutes wasted for the currency exchange so that we could buy the ticket to take our domestic flight in another terminal.
It was my first time had to pay for a connecting train between terminals. Are there any other airports like this I wonder? Because it is so inconvenient.
However, this train not just only connects between the airport terminals, it also goes to the City Center. If you take the Airport Express from the Airport to the KL City Center that is 55 RM per person. I kind of understand why they have to charge for the train even just for one stop to the next terminal.
So, remember, if you have to take flight or transit in KL, make sure you have checked the departure hall of your flight and prepared some local cash.
Finally, we reached the counter and got our boarding pass a minute before the counter has closed. lucky us!
Single Entry Visa application (60 days Tourist Visa)
The next morning of our arrival in Penang, we went to the Royal Thai Consulate-general for our visa application. Thai Consulate is in George Town and George Town is around 40 minutes driving toward the north from the Penang International Airport. We stayed in a hotel in George Town and from our hotel to the Thai Consulate was around 15 minutes by taxi and costed 20 RM (fixed fare decided by hotel). The open hours of the Thai Consulate are from 9am to 12noon and 2pm to 4pm, Monday to Friday and close on Saturday and Sunday. We arrived at 9:05am and already a line waiting at counter for the application but it wasn’t that crowded, just around 20 people. At the counter, the staff will give you an application form and a slip of paper with a number which is for the retrieval of your passport next day.
Required documents for the Single-Entry Visa application:
-Original Travel Document (Passport)
-VisaApplication Form (Also provided onsite)
-2 passport-sized photos (3.5 x 4.5 cm)<- But we used the one we took for the extension which is 4 x 6 cm and it was fine.
-1 copy of the Main Page of the passport (the page with your picture)
-Application fee: 150 RM
Little tip here is I would recommend to print out the form and complete it in advance, because there is not enough table for you to fill in the form and it would be easy- peasy just grab the number and then hand in all documents right away to the next counter while everyone else is looking for a place to sit down/ stand to fill in the form. Then after that you can enjoy the rest of the day in Penang. One more thing, on the slip which has a number on it, you have to pick your passport pick-up time, 2pm to 4pm OR 3:30pm to 4 pm (I don’t really know why you would pick the second..). We chose to pick up at 2pm. So, the next day we came back with this slip and retrieved our passport with the Thai Single Entry Visa in it after a few minutes of queuing.
Visa acquired, was extremely easy in the end! We can stay in Thailand for 2 more months!
We used this opportunity to travel in Penang and then a few days in Kuala Lumpur before we headed back to Thailand. Overall I would highly recommend this option, especially if you are interested in checking out Malaysia as we were.
Royal Thai Consulate-General Address :1, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, 10350 Penang, Malaysia
Tel: (604) 226-8029, 226-9484, 228-6784
Fax: (604) 226-3121,226-2533
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org