How do I get a long stay extension from Thai Immigration? The answer to this and other questions was provided at the Sunday, June 3 meeting of the Pattaya City Expats Club. Master of Ceremonies Richard Silverberg introduced fellow club member Darrel Vaught, noting that he is the club’s resource person for information about Thai Immigration matters.
Darrel began by saying that he did not believe anyone could be an expert on the subject, but that he did his best to keep informed on the requirements and procedures at the Chonburi Immigration Office. First, he noted that English translations of the Immigration Act of 2522 and Thai Immigration Police Order No. 777-2551 are available on the club’s website along with the answers to most questions on Thai Immigration matters. Darrel said he would be discussing the procedures currently followed at the Chonburi Immigration office.
Pattaya City Expats were fortunate to have Board Member, and Newsletter and Website Editor, Darrel Vaught to detail the vexed area of obtaining visas and other immigration issues that falangs will have to deal with when seeking to live in the ‘Land of Smiles’.
Darrel mentioned that the club’s website has a wealth of information that should answer most people’s questions, whether they plan to visit or want to live here. Before covering the frequently asked questions, Darrel pointed out the different ways to enter Thailand and if and how long the foreigner can stay depending on which they use. Further, to obtain a long stay extension, you must enter Thailand with a non-immigrant visa received from a Thai Embassy or Consulate. However, there are a couple of exceptions. If you qualify as a retiree, you can obtain a non-immigrant “O” visa in Thailand from Thai Immigration. If you are a former Thai national or your parents were Thai nationals, you can extend your stay without having to have a non-immigrant visa. Not everyone can get a long stay extension. Although you may have a non-immigrant visa, you cannot get a long stay extension unless you qualify for one of the categories listed in Police Order No. 777-2551.
Darrel then provided answers to some of the more frequently asked questions about long stay extensions and related areas such as address reporting and re-entry permits. He first covered the question asked by many that want to retire and live in Thailand. That is whether it is better to get a non-immigrant “O-A” visa in your country of residence or applying for a non-immigrant “O” visa in Thailand. Darrel then pointed out the pros and cons of the two methods.
Pat Koester announces the sign up sheet for a trip to some of the older cultural sights of Samut Prakan, while MC Richard Silverberg looks on.
He then provided answers to other commonly asked questions. These related to extension renewal, switching the method used to meet financial requirements if any, and what happens if your passport will expire before the next renewal anniversary date. He also commented on re-entry permits such as when they expire, single vs. multiple entries, getting one at Suvarnabhumi Airport, and consequences of leaving Thailand without one. Other areas he covered were the ability of a spouse or relative of the holder of a long stay extension to also get a long stay extension. He pointed out that for a non-Thai spouse or qualified relative to “piggy back” on their spouse or relative’s long stay extension, they must have entered Thailand on a non-immigrant visa and have documentation showing their relationship.
Darrel concluded his presentation by answering one of the most often asked questions, which is about what to do if you are going to be out of Thailand when your next 90 day address report is due. The answer being that the report is required only if you are in Thailand 90 consecutive days from entry or from your last address report. Consequently, if you leave Thailand before it is due, no report is required. Your next report will be due 90 days from the date you return if you continue to remain in Thailand.
After Darrel answered several questions, Richard updated everyone on upcoming events and called on Pat Koester to talk about a one day trip she is organizing to tour the Ancient City and the Erawan Museum. Richard then updated everyone on upcoming events and called on Roy Albiston to conduct the always interesting and lively Open Forum where questioned are asked and answered about expat living in Thailand; Pattaya in particular.
The Pattaya City Expats Club meets every Sunday at the Amari Orchid’s Tavern by the Sea Restaurant. Read more about the club’s activities on their website at www.pattayacityexpatsclub.com.