Re: “What goes on under the table at Chiang Mai Immigration”, have your Say, September 4.
Lungstib writes that officials at Chiang Mai Immigration deliberately restrict the flow of customers on a daily basis so that frustrated applicants revert to “professional palm-greasers”.
Unlike expats extending their marriage or retirement visas, I did not need an appointment on my latest visit to Chiang Mai Immigration, since I was only extending my tourist visa. I did, though, have to wait in line a while. Some disgruntled individuals did indeed leave before being served, complaining to the officials there that the line was a long one, and that not enough staff were serving the customers.
I believe that Lungstib is correct in believing that something fishy is going on at the Chiang Mai office. I know for a fact that many foreigners who want to teach in the city, or in Chiang Rai, have to go in person at an Immigration office and transfer their tourist visa to a Non-immigrant B visa (business and work).
In a way this is good, as it saves the applicant from having to make a trip to a neighbouring country such as Laos. But it still seems strange, since the usual procedure demands a trip over the border for a visa run. Perhaps many schools in the North do not have the ability to help a foreign teacher obtain a Non-immigrant B visa in a foreign country, or it could be that Immigration officers from the northern region are hesitant to extend a Non-Immigrant B visa which was obtained in a foreign country.