What to do When Your Triple Entry Tourist Visa Expires in Thailand

By David

Some context:

  • We both entered Thailand on triple-entry tourist visas.
  • Alexis switched to a non-immigrant B visa once she started teaching.
  • I extended two of my three entries at the Chiang Mai immigration office before my tourist visa finally expired on January 17th, 2015.
  • We tried, unsuccessfully, to get me on a non-immigrant O visa.
  • I did a border run to Mae Sai to get a 30 day visa exempt stamp. This granted me until February 15, but we don’t leave for Japan until March 31st. So… what to do?

Option 1: Go to Bangkok to apply for a non-immigrant O visa (Remember: Chiang Mai immigration no longer issues them and you also need at least 21 days left on your current visa on the day you apply).

So many reasons this is not ideal, but mainly:

  1. We’d both have to go to Bangkok which would be costly and mean Alexis would miss a few days of work.
  2. Even though Chiang Mai immigration told me it would work in Bangkok, I have like 2% confidence they would give me the visa given Thailand’s ever-changing and ambiguous rules. Just because one government employee tells you one thing, that does not mean another will tell you the same.

Option 2: Extend my 30 days for another 30 days at immigration, giving me until March 15. I would then have two options.

2A: Live in another country for two weeks until our March 31st flights –> Expensive and I’d be away from Alexis.

2B: Knowingly overstay my visa for two weeks and pay the 500 baht/day fine –> Risky/morally wrong.

Option 3: Don’t extend and just try to get another tourist visa from a Thai embassy in a neighboring country. Again, I considered two options with this route.

3A: Go back to Vientiane. From what I hear, this is the most lenient Thai embassy. I have heard from multiple people that they were granted a second tourist visa here.

3B: Go to Kuala Lumpur. I haven’t heard much about success or failure of back-to-back tourist visas here, but this Travelfish article suggests it should be OK as long as I have proof of a flight leaving Thailand.

Which did I choose? Option 3B: Kuala Lumpur.applying for a tourist visa in kuala lumpur

So I was banking on the Thai embassy in KL giving me a second tourist visa even after seeing I’ve already had a triple-entry tourist visa twice extended as well as a 30 day visa exempt stamp. So yeah, I was pretty nervous.

Is Getting a Second Thailand Tourist Visa in Kuala Lumpur Possible?

From my experience, yes, it is. I just got back on Thursday with a new single-entry tourist visa. Everyone in the KL embassy was super nice and the experience was much more comfortable than the embassy in Vientiane.

For me, going to KL was much preferred to Vientiane because I had already been to Laos’ capital city and didn’t think much of it. The Thai embassy experience there is chaotic and hectic. KL was much more organized and straight forward.

However, if you need a multiple-entry tourist visa, don’t go to KL as they only issue single entry visas.

What Forms Are Needed?

I don’t know that every one of these forms is required, but it doesn’t hurt to be over prepared. I presented them with the following:

  • Application for Visa Form
  • Passport
  • Photocopy of my passport
  • Photocopies of my departure card and previous Thailand entry stamps (if applicable)
  • Two passport photos
  • Proof of leaving Thailand
  • Bank statements from my American savings account and Alexis’ Thai account
  • Photocopies of Alexis’ work visa and permit

Make Sure You Have a Backup Plan

From what I hear, it’s easier to get a visa exempt stamp from airports than it is from land borders. If I had gotten denied a visa in KL, I was hoping this might work in my favor and have gotten a 30 day exempt stamp in the airport.

If that didn’t work either, I would have had to book a flight to Vientiane while I was in the Chiang Mai airport and fly out right away. I’m so glad it never came to this, but can you see why I’m so sick of dealing with visas?

In any case, this should be the end of my Thai visa saga. Hopefully someone can learn something from all this.

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