Just the mention of Pattaya Immigration Department is the sort of thing that can arouse a mixture of emotions ranging from fear to anger to just sheer confusion. There is little doubt that the experience is not going to go down as one of the finer moments of your stay in Pattaya but sadly it is one of things that most of have to experience – usually every 90 days!
Pattaya Immigration is always busy so it is best to get there early. The officers don’t start work until 8.30am but the doors for the office open just after the National Anthem which is played at 8:00am. It is best to go looking as smart as possible and show the officers as much respect as you possibly can – regardless of how you are feeling or their levels on competence. As you first enter there will be a team waiting for you to advise you on the forms that you need and the documents that you SHOULD require (however it should noted that it is likely that you will be required to produce other documents when you see the officer!).
Once you have completed your forms you will be issued with a ticket. The number of the ticket will vary depending on what you require. For example 90 day reporting you will be issued with one number and told to sit in one queue, for visa extensions you will get another number and be forced to sit in another queue.
Once the clock ticks past 8.30am you will gradually start to see the officers trickle in. They will sit at their desk, drink their coffee, discuss the previous night’s football and then consider starting work! When it is your turn to see the officer – be polite. You are likely to be asked a series of seemingly pointless questions and the officer is likely to scowl. This is intended to unnerve you and in days of old when money would change hands (but of course this no longer happens!). If it is simply 90 day reporting it should be very straightforward but anything else and expect to need to come back again the following day.
The key rule to Pattaya Immigration is leave nothing to the last minute. Things take longer than they should and longer than you would expect – accept that you have no choice, the Immigration Officer holds all the aces. So long as you have all the documents (including the surprise ones!) and you are polite you will probably get what you are looking for but again if you don’t losing your temper will only hinder you.
One last comment….good luck!