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Leaving your boat in Thailand, paying a bond and visa extensions

By SV Wild Fox — last modified Nov 17, 2016 04:54 PM

Published: 2016-11-17 00:00:00
Countries: Thailand

If you clear into Thailand and then want to travel out of the country leaving your boat behind for a time, be careful of the regulations. They are very confusing.

Many people have got to Bangkok airport for an international flight, only to find that they are sent back to Phuket (where most of us clear in) to pay a bond. This means that you (probably) lose your international flight and have to pay for an additional return flight to Phuket.

It all depends on the type of visa you have.

30-Day Visa on Arrival: "Crew" must pay a bond

Most boats check in at Ao Chalong.  If you do not already have a visa you will be granted a 30 day Visa on Arrival.  If there are two of you aboard, one will be classed as captain and the other as crew.  The crew will have an A4 piece of paper (all in Thai) stapled into their passport.  The captain will have a normal stamp marked W30.

It is the crew who must pay the bond of 20,000 bhat before going abroad.  To add to the confusion, you cannot pay the bond at Ao Chalong - only at immigration in Phuket city.  On paying the bond you will be given a receipt and when you leave the country the original A4 page in Thai will be removed from your passport.  Make sure that it is removed or you will not get your bond back!

On arrival back in the country you will get a new 30 day Visa on Arrival, stamped W30.

When you return to Phuket, go to Immigration who by then will have your A4 Thai page returned to them. They will give you a cheque for 20,000 bhat which you then take to their bank and cash for a fee of 200 bhat.  Hey presto, all done.

How do I avoid paying a bond?

1. Do not check-in to Thailand as crew, but instead as a "passenger".

2. Organise a 60 day visa in advance.

3. If you have already checked in as crew, opt to pay a one off, non recoverable fee of BT2,000 to have your passport re-stamped as a passenger.  For many people the convenience of this will out way the cost.

60-Day Visa in Advance:

If you obtain a 60 day visa (which can be extended for another 30 days) before you arrive in Thailand, life is more simple.  Most will obtain this visa in Penang. This visa is a tourist visa and no bond is necessary (your passport stamp on arrival will have the letters TR in the middle and your passport will have a standard white departure card stapled to it).

If you need to extend this for an additional 30 days, go to immigration in Phuket with 2 passport photographs, a copy of your passport photograph page, a copy of the page with your entry stamp and a copy of the visa itself.  Prepare to wait for 2 hours and pay 1,900 bhat.

I took all of my paperwork to the immigration office and asked them to check it.  They confirmed I did not need to pay a bond as I had a 60 day tourist visa.

How to find the Immigration office in Phuket:

Address:- 482 Phuket Road, Talad Yai, Phuket Town
Waypoint 07 52 12 N 098 23.36E

I used Navionics to track it down as my iPad could not find the address. As you face the building with your back to the road, leave the building to starboard.  A door with a queue outside it is marked "Visa Extensions." The next door has no markings.  This is where you pay a bond if you have to and where the officers told me that I was exempt as I had a tourist visa.

Good luck!

Anthony
sv Wild Fox
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