Immigration Run at the New Bangkok Immigration Office

In case you haven’t heard, the immigration office moved from the ever so convenient Suan Phlu location to Chaeng Wattana. If you have no clue where Chaeng Wattana is don’t feel alone.

Let’s put it this way, the route I recommend unless you’re well used to the bus system in Bangkok is to take the BTS all the way out to the last stop at Mo Chit. From Mo Chit just get in a taxi and ask them to take you to the immigration office at Chaeng Wattana. Be sure to specify Chaeng Wattana as I thought my taxi driver was going to get an erection when I asked to go to the immigration office and he thought he was getting a fare all the way to Suan Phlu.

Just tell the driver “Thor Mor Chaeng Wattana” or “Gong Soon Chaeng Wattana”

Ride will be about 10 – 15 min and cost about 100 – 120 baht plus toll road should you choose it. Personally I don’t think it’s that much faster.

If you’re really stuck print out the address below in Thai and hand it to the driver.

ด่านตรวจคนเข้าเมือง
120 ม.3 แจ้งวัฒนะ ซอย 7
ถ.แจ้งวัฒนะ
เขตหลักสี่
กรุงเทพฯ 10210

Here’s a map and some really good info on bus routes.
And here it is on Google Maps

bkk-immigration

There are some signs once you get into the area with all of the other government buildings. It’s way, way, way in the back so if you get a little scared when you see all Thai signs after seeing the immigration sign in English don’t worry, you haven’t passed it.

I was quite surprised not to see more farangs outside but once you pull up there should be two or three waiting for a taxi and you’ll know you’re in the right place.

Be warned, the building is HUGE! You will feel like you’re walking into a large conference facility back home. Follow the signs towards immigration.

Once inside it’s a bit like the old place. They have an information counter where you tell them what you’re there for. They give you the forms to fill out and you walk over to some desks and fill out the forms. Once completed you go to an inside information counter where they check you’ve completed everything and then give you a ticket and show you where to wait for your number to be called.

Unlike the old immigration office they actually separate functions pretty well. I was going for a visa extension on an ED visa and they had a custom section for it. So it’s less like the huge cattle call that they did at the old place.

Overall it’s much, much more efficient than Suan Phlu in terms of how quickly things are turned around. However, it’s still confusing because they tell you to go wait in the purple section and you still don’t know if you should walk up and hand them your passport and paperwork or wait for your number to be called. Making it worse is that they don’t have a number system and they just call out numbers. At least in my section they were going sequentially so at least you avoid seeing 333, 987, 412 on the current number queue and you know exactly where in the queue you’re at. Oh, and they might call out the number in Thai so I hope you can count to at least 999 in Thai.

One of the changes that I liked is that they don’t sit behind a big imposing counter. You actually walk into their little offices and hand them your paperwork. Everything is done right in front of you (checking app completeness and taking payment) and then you go sit back down and wait for your passport to be stamped and handed back to you.

I had two things to complete on this trip; I had to get my visa extension and I needed a re-entry permit. When I finished with the visa extension I went back out to the info booth got the paperwork for the re-entry filled it out, got a new number, was told to wait in a different section, and they did the old give us the passport and your money and go wait thing.

I will say this, I got a visa extension and a re-entry permit in 1 hour and 45 min. At Suan Phlu I’ve waited 2 hours just to complete one task so major, major kudos to the new immigration office for being very efficient.

I still don’t like having to haul myself way the hell out there but if it’s that much faster it might be a fair tradeoff.

Also, keep in mind that this immigration office is not open Sat or Sun. Open from 08:30 to 16:30 M-F and closed from 12- 1 for lunch. Obviously, they’re closed all public holidays as well.

Good luck!

15 thoughts on “Immigration Run at the New Bangkok Immigration Office

  • November 26, 2009 at 2:59 pm
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    Thanks for posting this Handy Info.!

  • December 3, 2009 at 12:23 pm
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    Thanks, very useful post. So do you walk in and hand them your papers or wait for your number to be called first?

  • December 4, 2009 at 8:30 pm
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    You walk in with your completed forms (in my case, tourist visa extension) and they check for errors, then you are given a coloured # (I think mine was green). then they tell you to go around to a waiting area with a bunch of offices where they have different colours corresponding to your ticket. Wait for your # to be called (in English or may be in Thai depending on your luck). You go in an office and talk to a live officer, very pleasant in my case. then you are to wait outside this office, and if all is well you get your visa extension in about 10 mins. This applies to my situation, your experiance WILL vary!!!!! enjoy…

  • December 5, 2009 at 1:47 pm
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    Similar experience, Mando. In and out in a minimal amount of time. Actually much more organized than the old office.

  • December 9, 2009 at 12:25 am
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    How long can I stay in Thailand once I get my passport stamped?

    Venita

  • December 9, 2009 at 9:31 pm
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    Depends on where you’re from and how you come into the country. If you have a typical western passport it’s 30 days via airport and 15 if you cross into Thailand via land. You can also get a tourist visa in your home country (or anywhere where they have a Thai embassy/consulate) which is good for 60 days and they are generally very good with giving you another 30 days if you go to the Thai immigration office before it expires.

    Some people have reported problems with back to back tourist visas. I’ve heard that both Singapore and Laos now warn or refuse to give you back to back tourist visas. In other words, if you get a 60 and leave the country and go to to the Thai embassy/consulate in Laos or Singapore and ask for another 60 day tourist visa they will either warn you that this is your last back to back visa or they may refuse to grant you a visa.

    You can also apply for a multiple entry non immigrant visa (Type O , I believe) which is good for 90 days but if you leave Thailand and re-enter you get another 90 days. You can do that for a total stay in Thailand of 15 months if you plan your exits and entries right.

    But you’re Thai, right? Or have you given up your Thai passport?

  • December 11, 2009 at 1:26 pm
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    @Ruai,

    Thanks for that info. Yes, I’m Thai. I have to give up my Thai passport for some reasons. I travel mostly as a flight crew, it’s easier for me when I travel with american passport b/c all I need is only Chinese visa. With Thai passport, there are some restrictions in some countries. I must have French visa when I fly to europe as a flight crew. For pleasure travel to Japan-I have to apply for a visa even though it is just only for transit. Whenever I visit Thailand, it is usually a couple weeks but I’m planning to stay longer next time.

    Now I know how farangs feel 🙂 Thanks again.

    Venita

  • January 4, 2010 at 5:04 pm
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    Am I the only one to find the term ‘farang’ slightly offensive?

  • January 4, 2010 at 5:06 pm
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    Am I the only on to find the term ‘farang’ slightly offensive? After all, I don’t call them ‘darkies from Asia’ …

  • January 4, 2010 at 5:34 pm
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    Well, farang doesn’t mean whitey either so it’s not a fair comparison. It simply means foreigner and due to Thailand’s history they more or less apply it to only white foreigners. Africans or other Asians are identified differently.

    You have to take into context that Thailand – in general – is very xenophobic. You are either Thai or not. So Thais see the world through that looking glass.

    If a Asian looking person told you that they were German or British or American you would have no problem believing that since most countries have taken in immigrants from all over the world. In Thailand they don’t. As a result Thai isn’t just race but a cultural identity. Anybody who is not Thai is a foreigner. It just happens to be that white foreigners are called farangs.

    Personally, I don’t find it offensive unless it’s intended to be offensive. If someone says “Oh, he’s farang” I don’t take that to be offensive. If they say “Fucking farang” or “Farang . . . [INSERT RUDE WORD HERE]” then I take it as offensive.

    I guess in some ways you could view it as if they called someone a Brit. By itself being called British isn’t an insult but you can add a lot of derogatory words in there and make it an insult if you want.

  • January 5, 2010 at 1:10 pm
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    Thanks for the post — it helped me yesterday, when I had to get a visa extension.

    I’d advise the following as well.

    1) The office reopens at 13h00, after a hour-long lunch break. Go there for 12h30. Near the Food Court, where you can watch lots of leggy young Thainese lasses in uniform, sheer pantyhose and high-heels at lunch time, you’ll find a bureau with a *PHOTOCOPY* orange sign. For 20 TB, get the Immigration File form and have it completed. (You can have your picture taken as well, there : 100 TB for 4 pix).
    When the Immigration Office opens its door @ 13h00, don’t worry about the line-up. Coze all those suckers will have to wait and to complete their own form. You already have a completed one. So you go on, virtually first.

    It took me about 10 minutes to have my passport back with my visa extension.

    One last thing: when you’ll go out of the building, go at the exit at the opposite side of the Immigration Office, and ask the guy with the walkie-talkie to call you a taxi. You’ll avoid the motosai scam of 150 TB for a ride to the Mo Chit BTS…

  • February 2, 2010 at 3:51 pm
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    There is a Bus going from the BTS Mo Chit to the Bus stop Chaengwattana you allready pointed out on the map: Bus No. 503. Tried it allready and it will take ca 20 minutes.

  • April 5, 2010 at 9:50 am
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    Very useful info, ta.

  • May 28, 2010 at 11:44 pm
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    Why do so many think everything is a “scam”? The moto’s charge more than Taxi’s (150 baht moto as opposed to about 110 Baht Taxi) because unlike taxi’s which can pick up fares anywhere they drop off, moto’s can only pick up fares at there designated stations, thus they must “deadhead” (return empty) from Mor Chit back to Chaeng Wattana.
    Why anybody would want to take a moto from C.W. to Mor Chit is another question entirely.

  • May 29, 2010 at 10:18 pm
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    i did take a moto -there were no taxi i could see – to Mo Chit; the kunt was speeding recklessly, scaring the crap out of me !!

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