Expats get online visa extensions

A foreign visitor wears what appears to be a hazmat suit at the immigration bureau office at the Government Complex in Bangkok in 2020. A large number of foreign nationals are turning up to ask for visa extensions after the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted their travel plans. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

The Immigration Bureau (IB) unveiled its Electronic Extension of Temporary Stay (e-Extension) service on Tuesday to make it easier for expats to apply for visa extensions.

Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas, the national police chief, said the e-Extension would enhance visa services as the system lets them lodge the extension request online.

The service covers the whole process including the payment of fees via a dedicated website,

It will reduce the time to process the application from one hour to three minutes, Pol Gen Damrongsak said.

According to the IB, over 200,000 expats seek to extend their visas each year for about a dozen reasons including taking holidays, teaching jobs, studying, working at a state agency or due to family ties.

The growing number of applicants spurred concern about the time-consuming and inconvenient nature of the process.

The e-Extension service will be piloted first for expats living or working in Bangkok. They can file an application online at the website.

However, they must show up in person to verify their identity and get a visa sticker at the IB office on Chaeng Watthana Road.

The IB plans to make the service available at all IB offices nationwide in the future.

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