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ranong: updating the visa run situation

     I'm not going to waste any time writing this post because I think it's important to inform all you (us) travelers in Thailand about the current situation regarding doing visa runs to Myanmar from Ranong. Summed up, here are the main points. Keep in mind: I received a visa on arrival of 29 days - having entered by plane - for Thailand on my Canadian passport, and I require(d) an extension of at least 8 days before I fly out of the country.
  1. It is not possible to renew your visa by taking a boat over to Myanmar for a few minutes and coming back into Thailand
  2. You must pay 1,900 baht to receive a 7 day extension (no more) on your VOA (if you have a different type of visa, you may receive 1 month) 
  3. You may obtain this visa, like I did, at Ranong Immigration - not at the pier, - more details below.
  4. There is supposedly an Immigration office in Chumphon - open regularly, albeit hard to find; this is not the one at Tesco Lotus -, so you are not required to travel all the way to Ranong like I did (dammit).
  5. If you take the minibus to Ranong bus terminal for 120 baht from beside Farang Bar in Chumphon, you don't have to pay the extra 100 baht for it to take you to the pier - take a pickup for 15 baht instead. Or just get your visa done in Chumphon instead.
I'll recount my experience today and include some more details below.
     I had read countless reports on the internet that say that taking the short boat trip to Myanmar in order to extend your thai visa for 15 days is still possible, however when I arrived in the port of Ranong I was turned away at the Immigration Departure desk (when you enter the port, on the right). It seems the situation has changed only recently and there is no updated information available - even the tourist information desk and the hostels in Chumphon seem to not be aware of these changes yet. Upon their advice and after doing some research on the web, I set off on the day trip to Ranong. I took the hourly minibus (located right next to Farang Bar) for 120 baht and arrived at the pier approximately 2 hours later, where I was redirected to Ranong Immigration. I met many other foreigners there who were stuck in a similar rut as I (and who had also thought that it would be possible to do a visa run). I payed 1,900 baht for a 7 day extension on my VOA, after the expiry of which I will be overstaying and will need to either do a visa run in Malaysia or pay 500 baht per each day overstayed. The process didn't take more than an hour at most (at noon on a Wednesday). The application is submitted along with the fee, your passport, 2 photos and a photocopy of your passport. The latter two can be done on site for 80 baht and 5 baht respectively.
     Hope this helps. If you've got any questions or updates on any of the info I've posted above, leave a comment or message me privately. 
Good luck!

4 comments:

  1. "You may obtain this visa, like I did, at Ranong Immigration - not at the pier". What visa are you talking about? Ranong Immigration gives out visas? I thought that was done by embassies or consulates. Why did you need a visa even if you had a VOA? Why did you go to an international border for a VOA extension not a local immigration office in Thailand like everyone else? Why did you get a VOA at all? Can Canadians not get a 30 day visa exemption when entering via air? Why did you not just pay the overstay fine? Between all your expenses and doing a long day of travel it would have only cost you about 1500 baht more than the extension fee and you could have relaxed all day. Thanks for posting. I am not an expert by any means so please help me with these questions. Thanks

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  2. Hey there, my 29 day VOA was running out, so I was hoping to cross the border into Myanmar and then come back to Thailand to get an extra 14 days extension. So yes, Canadians do get 29 days VOA when entering by air but as I was staying in Thailand for 37 days I needed to get it renewed. If I had paid the overstay fine without extending it, it would have cost me 4000 baht (500 baht per day, for 8 days overstayed). I could have gone to a local immigration office, yes, but I was hoping to do the cheaper cross into Myanmar and back. I'm no expert either, just recounting my experience. Many other travelers that I met there were confused and appalled at the recent changes as well, I just wanted to give a heads up. Hope that clears things up a little! Sorry for any confusion

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  3. It is NOT a visa or a Visa on Arrival. What you were trying to obtain was a Visa Exempt stamp. No visa that you obtain from a Thai consulate/embassy outside of thailand prior to arriving. Instead, the VE is just the permission to stay stamp (usually 15 or 30 days for most countries).
    The border run crackdown has passed. It is more or less back to normal. But immigration border offices all over Thailand are getting more stringent about multiple back-to-back visa exempts. I'm not sure if it is 3 or 4 back-to-back visa exempts. You should consider a SETV (single entry tourist visa) at a nearby consulate to breakup the pattern.

    I've had no problems, but I've always had non-immigrant visas. But the days of overstaying long term, unlimited visa exempt stamps, and unlimited back-to-back tourist visas are coming to an end. You'll need to qualify for either a Multiple Entry TV from your home country, or get a non-imm visa. The common reasons for non-imm is owning a qualifying business, employment, work permit (B), going to some type of school, training, or religious studies (ED), Visiting Family, retirement (O, O-A).

    And of course you could also get a Privileged Entry visa or Elite visa. It is pricy (500k baht), but you could get up to 6 years out of it.

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