Should you want to stay in Thailand longer than your visa permits, you can extend it while on Samui. Here’s a rundown of how long you can extend and how to do it.
Which visa you have will determine how much longer you can extend your stay. If you arrived with no visa and only an entry stamp, you can only extend for seven days. If you have a 60-day tourist visa, you’ll be able to get a 30-day extension. Those on non-immigrant visas (such as business or education) can only get a seven-day extension.
So what do you need to do if you’re on Samui? First, you’ll need to go to the immigration office, which is on the outskirts of Nathon, taking your passport as well as a passport-size photo and 1,900 baht. If you don’t have a photo, they can do them while you wait for 160 baht. On entry, go to the counter, get the correct form to complete, pay your money, take a seat and fill in the form. Use the glue stick provided on the counter to add your photo to the form, and then hand it in. And then wait. And wait.
On average, it will take about an hour to process, but there’s a corner where coffee and snacks are sold and you can always bring a book along. You aren’t likely to be told when you passport is ready for collection – there’s a basket in the front, and someone from the back office periodically arrives and dumps a few passports in it. You’ll need to keep an eye open and rummage through the pile for yours. It’s an odd system, but seems to work.
Another service you may require from this office is a re-entry permit. So if you have a 60-day visa, for example, and decide to do a little trip to a neighbouring country during that period, as soon as you exit Thailand, your visa expires – unless you go to immigration first and get a re-entry permit, which basically means you can exit and come back in on the same visa. The cost of a single re-entry is 1,000 baht, and a multiple is 3,800 baht.
What’s important to remember when visiting an immigration office, or any government building for that matter, is to dress respectfully – no skimpy shorts and bikini tops please. You’ll be asked to leave, or at the least, treated with contempt and they’ll look for errors on your form. Unlike what you may see in movies such as The Hangover, Thailand is a conservative country, and disrespecting authority won’t get you anywhere.
Need to do a visa run? Here’s how to do it from Samui.
Thaweeratphakdee Road, Nathon
(About a kilometre past Nathon when travelling anti-clockwise, you’ll see bright orange barriers, indicating the turn-off)
T: (077) 421 069
Open Mon-Fri (excluding public holidays), 08:30-12:00, 13:00-16:30
By Rosanne Turner
Last updated on 13th July, 2013.