This review was kindly written for Dan about Thailand by Mike Bridge who was lucky enough to be first in the queue when getting his annual visa in Bangkok.
“Recently I went through the hoop of getting my annual visa at Bangkok District 1 office. Here is my story.
I live in Pattaya but work for a TV company whose HQ is in Bangkok, hence the reason I needed to make a visit to the biggest office in Thailand dealing with visas, namely Bangkok Immigration District 1.
Our company accountant had prepared most of the papers, however I still needed to go to my local inland revenue tax office to get my PND91 form stamped and signed for the year 2018.
Now last year it took me until 3.45pm to get through to see an officer and I had still got to the queue at 7.30am. Therefore if you want to get through quickly get there really early.
This time I was determined not to waste another day, so I booked into the Delightful Residence hotel , just four minutes drive from the Immigration Office.
Next morning a Friday, I then drove at 4am, and parked near the Immigration Building. If you have not been before it is a vast complex, so best ask a security guard where to go.
I was literally first there, but only by 10 minutes. By 5.am there were at least 50 people outside. One of the female immigration officers then decided to take a picture of the early risers lining up.
At last at 5.40am they then let us into to show our passport and to put our bags through a scanner. We then were asked us to form another queue by the office entrance.
At 7am they started to give us numbers… mine being the coveted 001. The officer even took pictures of me with my passport again!!!
After three hours queuing I was now at last able to go downstairs to the vast shopping mall, to grab a coffee and a snack. Not long as I was told to be back by the main entrance at 8am. They then asked us to join the queue by groups, mine being 1-10. By the time they let us in at 8.30am there were up to 350 in line with more arriving all the time.
Walked quickly, uncool to run, and got first to section M for business visas. After they quickly checked my papers. then got another number.
Five minutes later, myselfand our company accountant were seen by an officer. She took my photo and then asked us to wait, as the boss was in a meeting. (REALLY in a meeting…didn’t she know we were all coming today!!!)
Then at 9.30am 001 was put up on the screen and after another 5 mins they stamped a 30 days visa and told us to return in a month for a full year’s visa.
So, there you have it… even after all our efforts and with all the correct papers, we still must return.
Seems the immigration officers will have more paper work. we will spend more time travelling, missing another work day….it just does not make sense!!!
With all the correct papers why not give a full years visa then and there, and allow a multi entry then as well, avoiding having to fill up space with three separate stamps.
Anyone out there who can explain please do. I am sure many of you are getting the same treatment.
I at least had time to drive back to Pattaya and de – stress out by going to Jomtien Sauna.
The land of the smiles eh??? Phew!!!!”