Tourists stranded in Pattaya by coronavirus-related border closures and flight cancellations can apply for visa extensions at a new temporary immigration office set up at Pattaya School No. 7 as of April 8,2020.
Set up to relieve the long lines and unsafe crowded conditions at the Chonburi Immigration Office in Jomtien Beach, the makeshift facility will only process extensions of tourist visas and visa-exemption stamps of people unable to fly home. Those on long-term visas or doing other visa-related must still go to the main office on Jomtien Soi 5.
Applicants must bring with them a letter from their home country’s embassy certifying they are unable to fly home, original and copy of their passport, a completed TM30 form, a recent photo and a map showing the location of the applicant’s current residence.
While not mentioned on the flyer distributed April 8, Immigration officials in Bangkok also have required applicants to supply photos of their hotel or residence, both inside and outside, including one showing the applicant standing in front of the building number.
For more than a week, lines outside the Jomtien immigration office have stretched hundreds of meters up Soi 5 with large crowds milling about the offices. The bureau has been lambasted on social media and in the press for creating an environment where social distancing is impossible, possibly leading to a large spread of Covid-19.
Chonburi Immigration chief Pol. Col. Narain Kheungsanook said Wednesday Pattaya School No. 7 is large and spacious and will be organized to provide the proper distancing.
The office will be open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, not all experiences have been bad. A good Pattaya Mail friend writes, “I went last week for my 90 day and they were unbelievably busy and told me to come back this week. I went Monday morning, April 6, and was extremely surprised to see they were not busy at all. In fact, they were not even open… Buddhist holiday. I went Tuesday morning knowing it was going to be a clusterf**k after a three day weekend.
I was there an hour early and the line extended from the Immigration parking lot all the way up to the Post Office near Beach Road. But, the line moved pretty quick and they had an employee checking for the different reasons people were there. While I was still a hundred meters from the office, my passport was taken and I was given a number that said 90 Day Reporting. They told me to come back in two hours. I did and my passport was ready with my 90 day report. I give Immigration kudos for making the best of a bad situation.”