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

The Thaiger



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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.


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.

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.


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  1. Avatar


    July 20, 2020 at 4:27 pm

    What will the ‘grace period’ mean for people who will fly out of the country in August or September rather than July 31st?

    I looked at flights exiting to my home country this month. They are impossible for me to take, since they all require transit between two airports in Tokyo – a feat only Japanese citizens (or those with permanent residence) are eligible to do.

  2. Avatar


    July 20, 2020 at 4:33 pm

    It is confusing regarding visa support letters from The British Office as this is the reply I received when asking about a visa letter from them.

    “Foreign & Commonwealth Office – Consular Service

    Thank you for your enquiry of 15/07/2020 19:53 .
    The Thai government has announced that visas of all types expiring on or after 26 March 2020 will be granted a further automatic extension until 31 July.

    You do not need a supporting letter from your Embassy. Interpretation of the law may vary in different areas. You are therefore strongly advised to check with your local immigration office that your visa will be automatically extended.

    There has been no formal request from Thai Immigration Bureau for Embassies to issue visa extension letters to support the extension of visas after 31st July. We are awaiting further announcements from Immigration Bureau with regard to automatic visa extensions after 31st July. “

  3. Avatar

    rinky stingpiece

    July 20, 2020 at 4:54 pm

    I don’t understand why they make something that should be so simple, so difficult.

    Surely it makes sense to have a whitelist of reliable, credible countries whose citizens are lot easier to deal with, than clump everyone together and have massive queues of people.

    In the UK you have the concept of “Indefinite Leave to Remain”, which means that people don’t have to come back to these offices again and again to complete administrative procedures that seem to have no effect on anything.

    Why not just make all or many VoA countries on a “one-off” long-stay assessment list?
    If they are all from countries with modern admin systems for tax and id, they should be easy to trace in a more cooperative way, and free up staff to deal with the “less consistent” countries’ visitors.

    Really, Thailand and countries like the UK, Canada, Australia, NZ, and even the USA would both benefit from a new Amity Treaty to make life simpler for their citizens in Thailand, and Thai citizen in those countries.

    Moreover, it’s bound to have trade and knowledge transfer benefits.

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