My Visit to Bangkok Chang Wattana Government Complex to “Renew my Visa”

First, note that I am actually not renewing my visa, that cannot be done inside of Thailand.  I’m doing two things:
  1. Applying for extension of permission stay for 1 year
  2. Applying for multiple entry, re-entry permit
Explanation:
  1. Visa:  permission to enter Thailand, issued from a location outside of Thailand.
  2. Extension of permission to stay:  issued from inside Thailand, does what it says.
  3. Re-entry permit:  issued from inside Thailand, granting permission to re-enter after leaving.
PREPARATION FOR THE VISIT
I spent hours on thaivisa.com trying to get guidance and ideas.
I learned what I needed and decided to get these together in advance.  All except #1 can actually be done at the Chang Wattana offices if you desire.  Given the long lines, I wanted to have it all in hand to get my queue number as quickly as possible.
  1. Income letter from US embassy on Wittayu (Radio) Road
    1. get appointment at https://th.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/ under “notary services”
  2. Completed Form TM 7 “APPLICATION FOR EXTENSION OF TEMPORARY STAY IN THE KINGDOM”  (click to download)
  3. Assorted passport copies
  4. 4cm X 6cm recent photo on white or grey background
  5. Photocopies of passport photo page, visa page, last entry page and TM 6 departure /entry card: also last retirement extension stamp if you have one.
I posted my questions at thaivisa.com and got may useful answers:
I explored using an agent but decided against it.  My notes are at the bottom of this note.  BOTTOM LINE:  I’m not going to use an agent.  I honestly don’t think this will be too useful.
Map to Chang Wattana Government Offices:  https://goo.gl/maps/8EZ6kXrDFuH2

THE ACTUAL VISIT on 2018-02-13

Bottom line:  This took all day and the lines were very slow.  Surprising?  Nope.
I left my condo at about 8:30 and arrived at 9:16.  I took a wrong turn and that delayed me maybe 5 min.  Parked at the North entrance.
Once there I glued my picture onto my form.  Should wait until right before my appointment to do that actually as it makes it hard to fold the paper.
I then got a queue number immediately, did not go to information.
I then asked the desk if I had done my copies correctly.  They pointed out I was missing my initial stamp.
I notice that they stop giving numbers for queues at 15:30 (per the signs).
A guy I was sitting at says Mondays are the worst, Fridays are the best day to come.
09:26 – 14:06 THE QUEUE L (EXTENSION REQUEST SUBMISSION)
I have queue number L67
They were serving number L16 at 9:26 AM
Serving L30 at 9:44
Serving L39 at 10:07 (slowing down!)
L40 @ 10:40
L47 @ 11:21
L50 @ 11:44
Still L50 at 12:00.
Lunch break for the staff until 13:00
L59 @ 13:20
L66 @ 13:45
L67 (me) @ 14:00
Finished with step 1 at 14:06
L70 @ 14:15
SPEED:  37 tickets in 3:15 hours, not including lunch break.  That’s one ticket every 4.5 minutes, being processed by three windows, so one every 13 minutes per window.  SLOW AS HELL.   I think the problem was a supervisor was in a meeting during the first hour or two I was there.
14:06 – 14:43  QUEUE L1 (EXTENSION REQUEST COMPLETION)
So at 14:00 I spoke with the lady and turning in the paperwork.  Finished at 14:06.  Moved to queue L1, same number 67.  At this time I also got C2 queue number 249, because at this point I became concerned I would only complete the extension of stay and not get a new re-entry permit.  I believe the answer is that the old re-entry permit would work with the old permission to stay until I got a new permit, but since I completed all in same day I never fully confirmed this.  The trick was to get a queue number for window C2 as soon as handed my documents in for processing for my extension request to the lady in charge.
L1-60 @ 14:20
Serving L1-61 at 14:34
Finished with Queue L1 at 14:43, EXTENSION COMPLETE
SPEED:  7 tickets in 23 minutes, so one ticket every 3 minutes, similar to the first queue.  Given the supervisor meeting, the hold up is the first queue, not the second.
14:43 – 14:43 (yes, 0 minutes)  QUEUE C2  (REENTRY PERMIT)
My queue number 249.
I was called immediately, at 14:43, right after finishing with L1.  Lucky.
However, I had forgotten to bring form TM8.  Also you have to photocopy the new extension of stay stamp anyhow at this point.
Multiple-entry permit fee was 3800 THB.
Finally finished with paperwork submission at 15:09, as I kept forgetting to copy things and had to go out for the ATM, so two extra trips out of the office for those two things.  One would have been necessary as I said though for the stupid photocopy of the new extension of stay.
SPEED:  BLINDINGLY FAST DUE TO STRATEGY OF GETTING TICKET FOR C2 QUEUE EARLY.
15:09 – 16:20 FINAL QUEUE C2 WINDOW 13 “PASSPORT COLLECTION”
Remember I’m C249.  They don’t call every number here for whatever reason;  probably don’t need to.
C2-209 @ 15:09
Queue 211 at 15:12
C2-212 at 15:15
C2-218 at 15:15 (SIC)
219 at 15:23
220 at 15:42 ouch really?
These were all at window 13, now they are processing in others as well I believe.  So I see C2-245 at 15:48.  Not sure if that is what I think it is… NOPE
C2-221, 222 and 223 at 15:52
225,226 @ 15:59
229 @ 16:00
232 @ 16:03
234, 235, 237 @ 16:06
238 @ 16:07
(There are still maybe 50 people waiting in the area for completion)
240 @ 16:11
243 @ 16:12
241, 244 @ 16:14
247 @ 16:18
249 (me) @ 16:20
SPEED: 40 tickets in 1:10 hours, or 1.5 minutes per ticket.  Again, remember that many tickets are not called, so I would say this isprobably at least 3-5 minutes per ticket.
Took 28 minutes to find the door, then wander around looking for my motorbike, then buy some juice, then actually find my motorbike.
Got on motorbike at 16:48
Home at 17:40
THE LAYOUT OF CHAENGWATTANA GOVERNMENT COMPLEX
Note: there are entrances on North, East, South and West sides.
NOTES ABOUT FINDING AN AGENT TO MAKE THIS EASIER: 
Supawadee Theeratawatkul (Aey)
Lang Suan House Co.,Ltd.
Telephone office : 02 – 652 – 2757
Fax : 02 – 652 – 1842
Office hours : Monday – Friday , 9.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.

This would be ideal, but haven’t heard back yet:

I am lazy so I always use an agent. She gets there early and gets a ticket, I arrive about 9am, sign the prepared papers and wait to be called. She stays on after to get my re-entry permit and couriers my passport back to me. She also does the 90 day report. Cost of service for the year is 5,000 baht. Time cost to me is usually about 45 mins.

TSLTHAILAND.COM:
I called TSL and associates at 4pm on 2018 Feb 8.  That is the same company with the chat below, http://tslthailand.com.  The lady on the phone was named Kay.
She said they will meet with me and send in the forms in advance and then we meet at Chaengwattana and it goes much faster that way.
Price is 12000 baht for their service, though.  That’s about $375 to save maybe a day of work.  That’s a bit chargeout rate! Is it really worth $45 per hour?    I say nope.

Here is the chat transcript from http://tslthailand.com
wealthychef  Howdy, just wondering if you can help me save time and effort in applying for extension of stay and multiple re-entry permit for Thailand. I’m a US citizen.
Bryan Baker Sure. When does your visa expire?
wealthychefI have a non-O retirement visa, expiring end of Feb (Feb 27 I think)
Bryan Baker Ok. Just in time then.
Are you in Bangkok?
wealthychefyes
I know, I was doing it myself. But then found out about you and wondering if spending a few baht for a little service might be a good idea.
Bryan Baker Ok. Would you like to drop off your passport at our office or just send it in?
wealthychefI have an appt with US embassy to get income statement.
Bryan Baker Saves you the hassles that’s for sure. Smart man.
wealthychefHmm… need to talk about how this works first. What is your service about and what does it give me? Thanks
Bryan Baker Ok.
wealthychefYeah, I just don’t want to spend the day at Chiang Wattana
Bryan Baker Actually it would be more like 3 but anyways.
wealthychefCan you tell me the procedure if I use you? I think I know how it works if I do it myself. When I renewed last year it took a whole day.
Bryan Baker Just stop by the office before you go into the embassy and we will prepare the affidavit for you and also take you to extend your visa and multiple re-entry.
Take all the necessary pictures fill out all of the forms etc.
wealthychefI think in this case what most interests me is time savings. How much time will I spend at CW? Do you get faster service somehow?
I do believe the forms are not a big deal for me. I have them on my hard drive ready to go
TM7
Bryan Baker Maybe an hour or two? I am not sure it depends on the day. Also everywhere is busier right now.
The taxi could take an hour it’s hard to say for sure.
wealthychefI can ride my motorbike there, it’s faster by far.
Bryan Baker You will save time that is for sure.
wealthychefCan you tell me how I save time with your service? I don’t quite understand that part. Do you go to the front of the line somehow? 🙂
Bryan Baker Ok well I mean you do seem like you want to do it yourself… I am not saying you can’t. I am just saying this is the service we offer.
Haha your funny. Anything else I can help you with today Mr Cook?
wealthychefSo far it sounds like you fill in the forms and drive me there. Is that about it? Sorry, I’m just trying to understand. Not trying to be a jerk
(at this point the agent disconnected.  asshat)

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