Time flies, especially when you have nothing else to do then attending 6 hours of Thai lessons a week. After three month in Thailand, it is time to visit the local Immigration Office in order to extend the ED Visa for another three month.
The initial ED Visa is valid only valid for three month. The office is located a bit left from the main entrance of the Chiang Mai International Airport. Easy to find. Three to four weeks before your Visa expires contact your school so they can arrange the supporting documents for you. With those documents, your passport, 2 pictures (2inches), copies of all relevant pages of your passport (page one, the page with the ED Visa sticker, arrival stamp and departure card), you will get a temporary queue number. The office is extremely busy as it serves not only the Chiang Mai area but almost all Northern Provinces, so what I strongly recommend is to get there before 6am and queue up. Even though the office starts not before 8.30am you will find a long queue of people already, Reason for this advise is that they only hand out so much temporary queue numbers in order to assure all numbers will be dealt with on that day. Once they decided having given enough temporary queue numbers you will kindly be asked to return the next day.
Now that you hopefully have received a number it will later be called out and you will have to speak to the officer and explain him/her what you need. Your documents will be checked, if something missing you will be told, you will be given a form to fill in (in my case Application for extension of temporary stay in the Kingdom) and your queue number will be exchanged into the real queue number.
Now you will have plenty of time to complete your documents if needed and wait for your turn. You will be called again with the real queue number. You can follow the queue numbers on the board which will give you some idea how long it might take till its your turn. But don’t walk away too far. There is a copy shop and a coffee shop on the compound.
The officer will arrange your application, you will have to pay the fee and wait again until the big boss has given approval. Later your name and country will be called out and you will be given your passport with the stamp in it. That’s it. Depending on your queue number this can take up to late afternoon. I went there around 7am and left at 15pm. It can’t go much faster i guess. The costs for this kind of extension is ฿1900 /€49.
You may choose a multiple entry or a single entry extension. If you need to leave Thailand during that time you can apply for a Re- Entry permit which you can do right after you received your extension on. The costs are ฿1000 / €27. You will be given a form and queue number (Application fer Re Entry permit into the Kingdom). Hand it all to the officer, pay and they will immediately stamp your passport accordingly (one more pic is required). This would be a bit cheaper if you intend to leave Thailand just once instead applying for the Multiple Entry Visa. Costs of a Multiple Entry Visa are ฿3800 / €98.
Please note that the officers are generally very friendly and helpful. Don’t get upset because of long waiting times. They are doing there best to help but it takes time. They might “forget” about your application if you get rude. Smile, even you boiling inside.
If you are not the type of guy who intends to queue up somewhere at 6pm or even earlier you can outsource this to those many agencies.They will queue up for you, get the real queue number, help you with the paperwork and call you when its about to be your turn. Please note you will always be present in person, regardless of what you need from Immigration! If you hire an agency the officer from immigration just want to see your face and the guy from the agency will do all the talking.