Do it right, pay a fine - do it wrong, face jail

Police Colonel Jiraphun Issarankul Na Ayuthaya, Head of the Immigration Bureau in Pattaya, is warning foreigners to be cautious with whom they get their visa extensions. Immigration has received reports that there are certain private companies who do not go through the proper or legal channels when processing visa extensions.

n1.jpg (20511 bytes)Police Colonel Jiraphun Issarankul Na Ayuthaya.

On the 17th of April they arrested three foreigners on the grounds that the visa stamp on their passport did not look genuine. They were British, Syrian and German nationals. The foreigners admitted that they did not actually leave the country when their visas were extended. They said they gave their passports to a private company in Pattaya to do it for them for convenience sake. The service cost six to eight thousand Baht per extension.

Colonel Jiraphun gave a brief explanation of the legalities of foreigners extending their visas:

1. Should the visa expire, the holder should get an extension at the immigration office in Pattaya. In this case the holder of the passport will be fined 200 Baht for each day of overstay, not exceeding 20,000 Baht.

2. In the case where the passport holder hires a company to extend his/her visa for him/her without him/her leaving the country, the passport holder will not be fined for overstay, but will instead be arrested, charged and will have to stand trial.

Colonel Jiraphun continued, saying that 60 day tourist visas and 90 day non-immigrant visas can be extended for the same length of time once more, and that he has the final say whether or not he will extend a visa.