So I wrote about my long-term Thai visa and then did a follow up about my extension. I figure that while I am freelancing for work and taking Thai classes for a visa I will track EVERY trip I have to take to Chiang Mai’s immigration office. Why? Because it’s A LOT. And even if you get a Thai education visa, it’s not AS simple as you may think.
Feb 2018: Before I left the States, I applied for a 60 day tourist visa at the Portland, OR Thai Consulate. I mailed in my passports, photos, form, and $40. It was easy and I had my passport back within 10 days. Piece of cake.
End of April: Two months later I extended my tourist visa at Chiang Mai immigration and obtained 30 more days. I was toying with the idea of enrolling in Thai language classes so that I could get a student visa and be eligible to stay in Thailand longer.
End of May: Before my 30 day extension was up I secured paperwork from a school I had enrolled in that would give me a visa. I left the country (as everyone needs to because you cannot apply for an ED visa while on a tourist visa) and went to HCMC, Vietnam. I went to the Thai consulate there and applied for my ED visa.
Beginning of June: I came back to Thailand and knew I had three months on my visa so was good to go until the end of August.
End of June: I went back to immigration and applied for a single re-entry permit so that I could go to Malaysia for a few days while Taylor secured his work visa. However, when I came back I never got my TM30 signed (housing form). Apparently every time you come back into the country you need to go back to immigration and state that you still live at the same address.
End of August: Stood in line for 11 hours at immigration to apply for my visa extension and re-entry permit to go to Hong Kong two weeks later.
September 18: After my trip to Hong Kong I needed to get my TM30 (housing proof) signed by immigration to report that I still live in the same house. I did that early on a Tuesday morning. I arrived about an hour before doors opened and stood in the messy queue (not much structure in this one) and was fourth in line. I was out in less than 30 minutes from the time the doors opened a little after 8:30. Each time I come back into the country after a trip I need to do this within a week to not get fined.
One week later: I applied for a single re-entry permit to go to Ukraine next week to visit my brother. This was at the immigration office at the airport. It’s brutal; it;s hot, there’s no efficiency with filling out paperwork, and it’s much smaller than Promenada. Luckily, I got there at 7:45 AM and was the second in line for re-entry. Although immigration didn’t open until 8:30, I was out of there by 9AM.
End of October: I went to immigration two days after returning from Ukraine to get my TM30 signed as proof that I’ve returned. I arrived around 9am and was #50 in line. It was hectic and awful. They eventually just grabbed everyone’s passports and signed them. I only waited until about 10:30 am.
**Update October 18** I am canceling my ED visa rather than renewing at the end of November. The ED visa is great if you plan to never leave the country. Yet Taylor and I will be out of Thailand most of December and January and so I will not extend. I have finished my Thai language course with the option to retake every book, but it’s not fulfilling and more hectic to continue.
November 20th: I canceled my ED visa. Immigration is giving me until the 29th to leave the country. I will leave and come back on a 30 day tourist visa since I plan to head back to the States for Christmas and won’t need to worry about staying in Thailand until end of January. My time at immigration has come to an end!