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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawThailand Immigration LawHow to Transfer a Thai Visa From an Old Passport to a New Passport

How to Transfer a Thai Visa From an Old Passport to a New Passport

Transcript of the above video:

This is just a quick overview, if you will, sort of a brief discussion of the issues involved with changing or transferring a visa from one passport, one's own passport for lack of better term, and changing it over to a new passport here in Thailand.

So for example, from a standpoint of being an American because I'm an American, you have your old passport which is going to expire in 2017. You live here in Thailand, you have a long-term visa here in Thailand, you want to go ahead and get a new passport, you want to move your visa from your old passport to your new passport. Now to be clear, unlike the United States which allows you to bring in your old passport so you can use your old visa from the old passport to your new passport which is a fairly frequent occurrence.

Thai are somewhat strict about wanting to make sure that new passports has one's visa transferred to into it. So it's been my experience that although they can be sort of lenient or they have this sort of discretionary power to go ahead and say "Oh yeah, I see you have a new visa," to say you're leaving the country or something like this and you got your old expired passport or your old invalidated passport with your new white passport. It's been my experience that it's sort of hit and miss but you can have problems at the airport, they try to deal with that because the immigration, especially the checkpoints in major airports, they're basically designed to quickly process people through as quickly as possible and so-called non-routine matters can slow things down. So for that reason, and this is maybe more for those living long term in Thailand and if that's the case, you really need have your visa moved over to your new passport.

For temporary travelers, it's a little bit different. For somebody who lives in Thailand full-time, getting that visa transferred is a very important thing to go ahead and do. So what happens? You go to the U.S. embassy or take it from the standpoint of the U.S. or if you're British, the British embassy; Dutch, the Netherlands embassy; Japanese whatever. You go to your embassy, you get a new passport. Usually for Americans, it can take a couple of weeks. You go and file your department state forms, present your old passport, they validate it, they have a look at it to make sure you are who you say you are, do their due diligence and then they tell you, "Okay, come back in a couple of weeks." Come back in a couple of weeks, they got your new passport there, they're going to go ahead and invalidate your old one and they'll literally punch holes into the pages of the old passport and stamp 'cancelled' on that passport. And then they're going to hand you your new passport. They're also going to hand you a letter and it's going to be tamped and signed by an officer of the U.S. embassy.

Again taking this from the U.S. I'm sure counterparts in other embassies do something similar. They're going to put a letter with your passport that's basically addressed to the Royal Thai immigration officials and it simply states, "Hey, we need you to transfer that visa over to a new passport."

To go ahead and do that, that requires a trip to the Royal Thai immigration. Their office if you're here in Bangkok, that's going to be a trip to Chiang Watana which is where the immigration office that services most of those living in the Bangkok metro area is located. You go out there, you fill out a fairly basic form, you take the letter in, they go ahead and transfer that travel document from one passport to your new passport. If you've been in a long term status, what they'll actually do is they'll actually put in a sort of a triangle stamp regarding your visa status and sort of gives a general overview of how long you've been in the country, in what status. It's an almost concise version of your prior passport. It has all the information of the duration of your stay, etcetera in the category visa.

It's fairly straightforward but for those who've never dealt with it before, it's one of those things that can be confusing but again, the basic process is go to your embassy, get a new passport, your passport's issued, the embassy is going to issue a letter that says you need to transfer that visa over to your new passport, that letter is issued to the Royal Thai Immigration, you take that to the Royal Thai Immigration, you do some diligence and fill out a couple of things for them, they go ahead and transfer the visa from the old passport to  your new passport and you're done. And from that point forward, your new passport has a new visa in it and for as long as that passport remains valid, your visa is valid, you're in status.