I enjoy living here in SE Asia. The pace of life where we are, the lower costs, obviously and the climate are all plus points. We really are living in that rural idyll so desirable to many in the overcrowded West.
To maintain it though, I need to have a valid visa and carry out the 90-day reporting. That’s all no issue and in fact does not take so long to obtain. That is until you suddenly realise you have less than 6 months left on your 10-year passport!
I discovered this when i went to renew my annual visa and they only granted it up to May next year. What is this? A quick check on the passport and I had the answer!
But wait… how to renew the passport? If I fly back to the UK, I cannot them return until |I have the new passport which might take weeks to get back. Can I renew it from within Thailand?
The answer is …’yes’!
I obtained and filled in the application for renewal form, and the payment request sheet (that is just over £118 sterling and comes from my UK account, thankfully). Then I assembled all the required documentation, and lastly, the photographs.
Ah yes… those photos. The criteria is stringent, with all the required measurements down to millimetres! I was honestly stressing out about whether my application would be rejected.
I have made an appointment at the UK Passport Centre in Bangkok, and I knew that any hiccup would result in rejection and another 250km round trip at a later date. I was also aware that the whole renewal process could take up to 11 weeks, according to their website so I had to complete the whole process before may or else I would be in another country with no valid passport.
On the day we drove into Bangkok city (not the most pleasant of experiences) and thankfully parked actually in the office building where the Centre was. We were able to go early for the appointment and I can say the Centre staff were friendly and helpful. There were no issues with my application and 15 minutes later we were out again and my application was ready to go to the UK for renewal.
Although I could no longer travel abroad on it, I retained my old passport with the Thailand visa inside, which was also good news!
I will truly relax once i have the new passport, and a fresh visa stamp in it.
Oh yes…what with Brexit and everything, the new UK passport reverts to the royal blue cover colour rather than the red one of the EU!