Pattaya Immigration Office Thailand

If you are living in Pattaya, Thailand and are getting a student visa you will no doubt have to visit the immigration office usually at the beginning of your Student Visa period and every 90 days check in until your student visa is complete.  Though this article is about going to school in Pattaya the steps are pretty much the same in any area in Thailand.  You just go to your local immigration office in the city you are staying and the process begins.  I will be using Pattaya as an example but you can use it as a frame of reference for wherever you happen to be residing.

After you get the paper work from your school you have to make your way down to the immigration office.  You need all the documents from your school (school will help you fill them out), your passport and at the present time 1900 Baht in cash for the processing fee.  In regards to the Pattaya office expect it to be quite busy as this is a tourist city and many people are extending tourist visas, retirement and business visas as well as student.  Fortunately the student visa line is usually not as long.  When you enter the immigration office you will be greeted by an officer at the counter and tell him you want to do a student visa.  He will assign you a number and you just sit down and wait your turn.  It is a ticket system and you can’t watch when your number is called. Make sure you are looking at the correct queue as the visas are broken down into a number of sections such as student and family, tourist, retirement and so forth.

pattaya immigration office Thailand

When you are called just make your way to the correct desk which will be clearly marked and hand over your papers.  At this point the officer will flip through your documents, check your passport, take a cam photo of you and take your 1900 Baht. Usually no questions are asked here unless you are missing something.  If you forgot a photo or a photocopy the officer will tell you and you can rush outside and get them done at some connecting shops.  However, try to get all this beforehand and be prepared instead; it makes for a smoother process and a happier officer as well.  The immigration center can be very busy and you will often find the employees look tired, grumpy and overall not to happy.  This is not always the case but I can totally understand it.  They have to deal on a daily basis with foreign customers that can’t speak Thai, English and are unaware of a lot of the rules so it no doubt takes its toll on them.  So anything to make their process easier will no doubt help you and them.

Once the officer  is complete she will hand over your paperwork and your passport to another employee which you will also have to visit.  This officer will look over your documents again to make sure everything is in order and give a final okay and stamp and you are on your way.  This is usually where they might ask you some questions in the Thailand language to see if you are actually going to school, they might even get you to read something if you have been here for a long time.  Try not to stress over it, they do not expect you to be fluent but a few words would help.  Of course if this is your first visa then you will not have to worry about questions at all because you have not learned anything yet.  In any case I would be as polite as possible and thank them at each stage of the process.  I am natural polite but I think it will only help you here if you come off as a happy foreigner and not an angry one.

After your stamp is complete you are good to go for 90 days.  You will have a date on your passport that states when you have to come back.  You do not have to come on the exact day, coming a little early is okay.  If you are late then you can occur fines on a daily basis, so best to get in at the right time.  The process for the 90 days check is much the same, the school will give you paperwork again and everything will be exactly the same.  If you have changed your address during those 90 days it is then you will have to provide a new lease and let them know you have moved.  If you move to a new location within your 90 days you do not have to tell them right away, just make sure they are aware of it on your next 90 check in.

Sometimes you will get your passport back right away at the 2nd officer you visit.  Sometimes for whatever reason you have to sit back down and wait until your name is called to get your passport back.  Try to listen carefully for your name, since it is a foreign name they officer in charge of handing out passports might not pronounce your name very well, if you miss it they will call out the passport again.  If you feel there is a problem and you have been waiting a long time you can go to the passport desk and ask if there is an issue with your passport so they can investigate the delay.

SOME GOOD TO KNOW TIPS AT THE IMMIGRATION OFFICE:

  • Check the office hours usually Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm
  • Make sure it is not a Thailand holiday before you go to the office
  • Office usually is closed for lunch, do not come too late in the morning
  • Mondays and Fridays are usually the days that are the most busy
  • Do not show up 15 minutes before closing and expect to be served
  • After a holiday the office can be extra busy
  • Come prepared with all documents and passport
  • Be polite to the officers
  • Be prepared to read and speak some of the Thai Language

SOME COMMON QUESTIONS YOU MIGHT BE ASKED IN THE THAI LANGUAGE:

  • How long have you been in Thailand?
  • Where is your school?
  • Why do you like Thailand?
  • What nationality are you?
  • What country are you from?
  • What is your favorite food?
  • When do you go to school?
  • What time is your class?
  • What is your teacher’s name?
  • Why do you want to study the Thai Language?

These are some of the questions you might expect but they could really ask you anything, but like I said they will not make it too difficult for you.  So in a nutshell that is what you can expect on the day you have to go to immigration to complete your visa process.  It can take as little as 30 minutes if you are lucky and come at a good time, with everything going smoothly.  Or it could take several hours if the queue is backed up and you are not properly prepared.

Pattaya Immigration Office Map

Pattaya Immigration Office Map

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