If you need to get a visa extension in El Salvador it’s actually a fairly painless process as long as you have your documents in order. Before you go to the immigration office you’ll need the following:
- Your passport
- Photocopies of the photo page and all used pages of your passport
- Proof of sufficient funds (a printout of your bank statement or sometimes just showing your credit card will suffice)
- Passport sized photo
- US$25 visa extension fee
Additionally, they may ask you for the following so if you have these it’s worth bringing with you:
- Copy of your onward ticket
- Name of a Salvadorean who can vouch for you (it’s usually ok to not know a local who can vouch for you)
- Receipt from you hotel / hostel
Now that you’ve got all your documents (keep in mind that there’s a very cheap photocopy shop right next to the immigration office) it’s time to go to the office, which is located at Avenida Olimpica #3571, San Salvador. The office is open from 08h – 16h and the information hotline is 2213-7800.
To get here from La Libertad / El Tunco, you can take bus #102 into the city. There is a microbus #102 which runs express to La Libertad / El Tunco and is a far better option than the regular chicken bus. Be sure to check the schedule before you head into San Salvador. Surfo’s in El Tunco has the schedule in their office. Get off near the casino or white church, then switch to bus #101. You’ll ride #101 for about 10 min, then get off when you see a Burger King on your right hand side. From the Burger King, walk to the junction, cross the road and the immigration office will be about 20m ahead on the left, opposite a massive white office building.
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Extensions are granted on a personal basis which means you’ll have to sit and speak with an immigration officer. Don’t expect them to speak much English. If you get approved for an extension, you’ll pay the US$25 fee, get a fancy looking voucher/ticket and be given an appointment to come back and pick up your passport in 1-3 days.
To get back to La Libertad / El Tunco, you can catch bus #101 right across from the Burger King. Once you reach the big shopping malls, you can get off there and switch to microbus #102. Or you can take the regular chicken bus #102 to La Libertad, then switch to bus #80 to El Tunco.