Everybody who stays in Thailand for a period of time longer than the normal tourists will probably have to visit an immigration office somewhere during their stay. In my case I wanted to extend my tourist visa with a few days. Luckily for me I came across information that this could be done at the local immigration office in Nakhon Ratchasima. This would save me a 4-hour bus trip back to Bangkok so I set out one morning to get this over with.
The immigration office is located about 20 kilometers out of Nakhon Ratchasima; a bit in the “middle of nowhere”. This means that it is almost impossible to reach this place if you do not have a car available. There is local transport going over the main road there but that would still mean that you have to walk a few kilometers to reach the actual office. It would therefore be a smarter choice to hire a taxi for a couple of hours if you don’t have a car.
Once you get out of the city it is just one straight road where it is almost impossible to go wrong. There are even signs along the road depicting how many kilometers to go till reaching the immigration office. The only tricky part is to find the right street to turn into. The entrance of the street is easily visible with 2 huge pots holding up a large sign of the small village, but the first pot it partly covered by a tree meaning you often see the entrance when it is too late. In my case I just missed the entrance and had to do 2 u-turns to get back on track.
Once you entered the right street, into Dankwian Pottery Kingdom, you will only have to follow the signs to find the office. That means that you have to take a right after about 1 kilometer and then the immigration office will be on your left. You can park behind the building.
Inside the office it is very similar to any other immigration office. There will be some students checking the papers and giving you a queue number and then you only have to wait till it is your turn. Since this is a relatively small office there should not be more than 5 people in front of you with 2-3 officers working. Waiting times are considerably shorter then at immigration at Chuang Wattana.
While this immigration office will save you a long trip to Bangkok and has very limited waiting times I am still not happy with how things operate there. I have been there twice and returned empty handed twice also. The first time they redirected me to Bangkok and the second time, when I wanted to extend my tourist visa, they all of a sudden requested a Thai national to be present to confirm my address. When I arrived a day later at the immigration in Bangkok I handed in the same papers and walked out with my extension within the hour. To me it is unclear what they can do at this office and what they cannot do, and they also seem to follow regulations stricter than in other places. Maybe it is best to give them a call before heading over (they do speak English fluently when I was there).
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