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expat online visa extension

Thailand expats are now able to extend visas online

The Immigration Bureau unveiled its online visa extension (e-extension) service in November, billed as making the process less messy for expats and tourists who need more time in the country. 

Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas, the national police chief, said the e-extension would improve visa services by allowing visitors to lodge their requests online. 

The service covers the whole process including the payment of fees via a dedicated website, Thaiextension.vfsevisa.com 

The move is expected to reduce corruption in the system, covering the entire process including the payment of fees. It will reduce the time to process the application from one hour to three minutes, Damrongsak said. 

According to the bureau, over 200,000 expats try to extend their visas each year for reasons including holidays, teaching jobs, study, or family matters. The growing number of applicants has drawn concern about the time-consuming and inefficient nature of the process. 

How does this impact expatriates in Thailand? 

The service will be piloted first for expats living or working in Bangkok, who can file their applications online at the official website ThaieVisa. However, eventually, they must show up in person at the IB office on Chaeng Wattana Road, just like the old system. 

And as before, having travelled for however long it takes through Bangkok’s troublesome traffic, applicants will have to wait in line, as usual, for an unspecified time, to get their visa stamp. In Bangkok, this will still mean that the process will take all day unless you happen to live on Chaeng Wattana Road. 

In the provinces, expats must still make expensive and pointless time-consuming journeys to industrial estates outside our provincial capital, often necessitating an overnight stay. The good news is that the whole process might be reduced overall, for which we should all be appropriately grateful.