Pattaya City Expats Club – The latest Thai Immigration issues explained

Darren McGarry with Key Visa provides his PCEC audience an update on Thai Immigration issues including a caution to UK passport holders to not wait to the last minute if their passport will soon expire.

Again, it was a large turnout for the Pattaya City Expats Club meeting on Wednesday, October 19, to hear speaker Darren McGarry from Key Visa explain the latest issues involving Thai Immigration. Darren is from the UK and has been a Visa Agent in Thailand for over 18 years.

He noted that his experience allows him to help Expats and others whether it is Visa or other issues involving living or staying in Thailand. He said that although he may eventually retire, it will not be soon as he enjoys his work helping others.

He mentioned various issues where one may wish to use an agent to help facilitate Thai immigration issues they may have and highlighted some these issues. Further, he mentioned, at least at Key Visa, initial consultations with him or his staff are free of charge. Two items he mentioned are of import for those that (1) enter Visa Exempt or on a Tourist Visa and wish to stay longer and (2) are UK citizens whose passports may be expiring in the not too distant future.

In the first instance, he mentioned that the initial permission to stay period granted upon entry can be extended one time at a Thai Immigration Office to receive 30 more days. However, after that stay, if one wishes to remain for a longer period, it is necessary to leave Thailand. This is done by those in the Pattaya area doing what is commonly referred to as a “border run”; meaning a trip to the Cambodian border, crossing over, and returning for another Visa Exempt permission to stay (now 45 days instead of the previous 30 days).

MC Ren Lexander presents Darren McGarry with the PCEC’s Certificate of Appreciation for another informative talk about Thai Immigration issues.

He mentioned that although Key Visa used to arrange such trips, they no longer do so, but Darren or his staff can direct you to reputable firms that arrange such trips. Such runs are no longer as easy as they were in pre-Covid days as the border checkpoints now want a copy of a person’s passport sent in advance which is done by the firms specializing in border runs. Firms arranging border runs take care of all the necessary documents including those needed for entry into Cambodia and it is a one day trip. However, that is not the case if you try to do it yourself. Darren reiterated information that has been recently publicized that currently if a person is not using an agent, they will most likely have to spend a few days in Cambodia before they can reenter. Visit for the Pattaya Mail article on the subject.

For the holders of British passports that may be expiring, he provided a warning – “do not wait until the last minute” to obtain a new passport. This was especially true for Expats residing in Thailand based on retirement or marriage/related to a Thai citizen. Currently it is taking about 16 to 17 weeks to receive a new passport. Thus, if one’s permission to stay will expire before they receive a new passport, then they will have a big problem as they cannot extend their stay.

Ren Lexander interviews Darren McGarry after his talk to the PCEC. To view the video, visit the PCEC’s YouTube channel at:

Upon conclusion of his presentation, he answered many questions from the audience. Then MC Ren Lexander brought everyone up to date on Club activities and called on George Wilson to conduct the Open Forum portion of the meeting – where questions are asked and answered about Expat living in Thailand, especially Pattaya. For more information about the PCEC, visit, where you will also find an informative section on Thai Immigration requirements.

Member Roger Fox enjoys ocean cruises and keeps abreast of the best deals. During the Open Forum portion of the PCEC meeting, he mentioned several bargain cruises coming up and how to find them.