Visa amnesty extension “very likely”. Decision this week.

Only 11 days to go until we reach the end of the current visa amnesty, which has allowed people with expired visas to remain in the Kingdom during the midst of Thailand’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak. But even today Immigration officials say that a proposal to extend the visa amnesty, or some similar alternative, is before the government for consideration.

The cabinet meets each Tuesday and it is understood the proposal will be discussed then.

NO FORMAL DECISION HAS YET BEEN MADE.

Immigration Bureau spokesperson, Chengron Rimpadee, says that the proposed extension, framed as a ‘grace period’, could last up to September 26 and was “very likely”. He noted that there was still many countries with borders closed and was impractical to force ‘overstaying’ foreigners to leave Thailand at this stage.

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As of today, Thailand’s borders remain largely closed to any foreign traffic, with the exceptions of some particular categories who have to go through a lot of red tape as well a mandatory 14 day quarantine, at their expense. Many other countries also have border closures in place, or are restricting their citizens to repatriate at this time.

In response a number of Embassies have said they will provide letters explaining the situation of their citizens to Thai Immigration, including Australia. Other Embassies, notably the US and UK, have already said they will not provide these supporting letters.

The current visa amnesty, that has been extended since April, ends on Friday, July 31, and the extension could be approved as soon as Tuesday, when the cabinet convenes its weekly meeting.

It is understood that the ‘grace period’ would mean an amnesty would continue (up to September 26) but people would need to apply formerly for the additional extension. Details of the paperwork or any fees, have not yet been announced. One way or the other, Thai Immigration will be keen to avoid a repeat of the huge queues of confused foreigners who fronted up at offices around the country just before Thailand’s borders closed in March.

SOURCE: Coconuts.co

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