Every foreigner who spends any significant amount of time in Thailand eventually gets trapped in some type of immigration time waster. Its’ fashionable for ExPats to go on rants about how inefficient and mindless Thai Immigration regulations and procedures are but, frankly, the U.S. is waaaay worse. Just a short time ago, it routinely took the INS 3-5 years to process a simple citizenship application and, in Los Angeles, you had to sleep on the street overnight just to get an appointment to talk to someone.
Thailand recently moved the immigration office from Sathorn to a new complex in Chaeng Wattana. It’s a huge beautiful facility—worthy of a ruling class which has raped and pillaged tons of money from its’ people for generations and faces no public accountability or consequences for its actions and spending. Driving up to the building one has to wonder how many billions went into the pockets of corrupt contractors, relatives of politicians, and other members of the exalted elites or what some poor Red Shirt farmer thinks when he visits the building and then gets nicked by some corrupt policeman on the way home even when has done nothing wrong and violated no law.
Here is a picture of the building. This building houses a crew of offices and Immigration is on the first floor.
These are pics of the inner courtyard. This area is roofed over, air conditioned, and as big as a soccer field.
Anytime you see a building with a big open space like this, it means that cost was no object and the place wasn’t built by a for profit enterprise.
Because the constructors incurred the costs to create the space and it serves no useful purpose. In this building, it means the owners could have had twice as much usable office space without much additional cost by flooring over this open space and converting it to usable offices. Of course, that means that all the bureaucrats would loss their beautiful view of the inner courtyard. No commercial structure would be built this way.
Therefore, the place must be a government building, museum, etc.
Immigration is on the right just after you walk in.
Here is the entrance to their offices.
It’s set up just like the Sathorn office was only in nicer digs.
First step is to go to the information desk and find out where you need to go.
Here is the inner office where everything is actually processed.
You get a number sit down and wait to be called.
Just like the Sathorn office, there are always some weird farang bopping around. Check out the bald dude in the orange pants. I didn’t know orange and turquoise blue were complementary colors.
I’m guessing he’s from Pattaya, has some visa issue that can only be straightened out in Bangkok, and made a trip up to take care of it.
The bad news is that the office is as congested as ever probably because the computer system, forms, processes, and number of workers is the same in Chang Wattana as it was in Sathorn.
The workers take a break from noon to 1PM so if your waiting in line and don’t get processed before noon, add an extra hour onto your visit.
Also, the office stays open as long as it takes to process everyone who has a number at closing time so you can be there until 7 or 8PM if the line is long that day.
Executive Summary: Nicer digs, everything else the same.