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Visa amnesty, looming July 31 deadline in Thailand

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Visa amnesty, looming July 31 deadline in Thailand | Thaiger

NOTE: This post is not designed to scare anyone, but simply prompt foreigners, currently in Thailand, about the situation with visas. There is a list of all embassies in Thailand at the end of this article.

The Thai government has had a visa amnesty in force that has allowed foreigners to stay in Thailand during the Covid-19 outbreak. It automatically extended all visas until July 31. But that date is approaching fast, and whilst there has been conjecture about an extension to the visa amnesty beyond July 31, NOTHING has been confirmed (despite rumours).

To be clear, the Thai government are not just going to suddenly throw people out of the country. The date for the finish of the visa amnesty has been widely publicised since the announcement of the amnesty. It is the responsibility of each foreigner to be aware of their visa situation, especially if their visa has expired during the amnesty. The Cabinet announced an extension of the visa amnesty for an additional 3 months on April 21 this year.

Whilst there is a lot of confusion, and everyone is waiting for clarification from Thai Immigration, your best step forward is to get as much information you can and be prepared.

So, if you are a foreigner and your visa to stay in Thailand has expired, or will expire, before the July 31 date, you will, as it stands at the moment, be required to get a formal extension or leave the Kingdom. Or renew your current visa if it is ongoing.

We are not in a normal situation where everything operates fluidly and as you have expected in the past. Embassies and consulates are under considerable pressure to help sort out the situations for many thousands of foreigners. Some embassies will be more helpful than others. Don’t expect your country’s embassy to drop everything they’re doing and attend to your situation.

Here are your options which you should be actively considering to avoid deportation, a fine or other possible charges…

• Contact your embassy or consulate (better to email at this time rather than appear in person). Tell them where you are and your current visa situation, and provide contact details.

• If you wish to extend your visa beyond July 31 there will probably be a cost associated and you will need supporting documentation to extend. The Thai Immigration department has already made it clear that you will probably need a letter from your embassy explaining why you need to extend your visa. This will need to be arranged before you apply for an extension with Thai Immigration. If your visa simply needs to be renewed it should be a much easier procedure.

• Check out possible outbound flights to your home country, including connecting flights from the airlines that are currently leaving Bangkok. BE VERY CAREFUL booking any flights immediately as there have been many, many cases of airlines scheduling flights out of Thailand that end up cancelled and leaving prospective passengers out of pocket and an extended wait for a refund. We would recommend contacting the actual airlines to make bookings rather booking through aggregation sites. Your air fares back home could be quite expensive.

• If the Thai government doesn’t extend the July 31 deadline there will likely be queues and delays in the last few days before the visa amnesty finishes. So the earlier you can gets your personal visa situation clarified, opportunities explored and an exit strategy in place, the better.

• If you are required to do 90 day reporting, and you haven’t reported during the amnesty, you should do so – online or in person – before July 31.

HERE is the Australian Ambassador to Thailand, Allan McKinnon, whose advice is largely applicable to citizens from any country.

Bottomline, get as much information possible about your opportunities to leave the country or make arrangements to extend your visa NOW. Don’t wait until July 31.

EMBASSIES IN THAILAND

Here is an up to date LIST of all the Embassies and Missions currently operating in Thailand (scroll down to Page 7 for the alphabetical country listings and contacts).

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Steven

    Tuesday, July 14, 2020 at 4:35 pm

    We are the only covid free safe tourists in Thailand right now. We spend money everyday at hotels, restaurants,shopping centers and local shops, pharmacies,taxi’s,BTS,MRT,and so on.
    We have already had our return flights cancelled, and the airlines robbed our money. Many of our countries are not open for us to return safely.
    Thailand can simply extend the visa’s until we are able to return to our homes.
    How can Thailand be such a cruel country? Why do they want to be known as a cruel place? They will not profit from this action, in fact it will
    hurt the economy even more to force out the only safe tourists.
    And it may very well hurt future tourism as well once word gets out.

    • Avatar

      Johannes senders

      Tuesday, July 14, 2020 at 9:24 pm

      Advice to foreigners requiring visa extensions. I arrived in Thailand in early march on a non-imm “O” spouse visa (then soon to expire). Two weeks before my 90 day stamp ran out I went to Thai immigration in chaeng wattana and got a one month extension in a few hours and returned 30 days later and in less than 30 minutes I got a one year extension in about 90 minutes because I have all the right paperwork. I then got a one year re-entry visa in about 30 minutes and did 90 day report at the same time. I did another 90 day report today at the temporary immigration office near impact in muang thong thani. Which took 20 mins including waiting time….. So stop complaining and just get on with it. Every Thai immigration officer I dealt with has been extremely helpful and polite and very professional. Just be grateful your not in USA or UK

    • Avatar

      shush

      Wednesday, July 15, 2020 at 12:21 am

      To say the Thai economy is at risk if they don’t extend the stay of people overstaying for months and months, is utter rubbish and should be viewed as an inaccurate sob-story argument that is not only false, it’s disrespectful to Thai people.
      There’s been ample flights out throughout the lockdown. Thailand isn’t being cruel, it just gave you 3 months amnesty to get home, most of you overstayers have ignored your own government’s advices, and exploited the amnesty as some type of extended cheap holiday. People such as this, are the worst example of a western visitor. How much faster could The MFA help mixed thai families reunite if they didn’t have concern themselves with overstayers… Thais would of listened to advice they were given on day one, they queue around the block to get repatriated and don’t complain about delays, you lot are the opposite of polite, you’re some type of freeloading begpackers who think they are entitled. The whole concept of the amnesty was to remove congestion at immigration during the lockdown and give you extra time to leave. You all went to the beach. Your argument about putting money into the economy is also garbage, as you’re mainly exploiting cheap rooms from desperate locals. The overstay group is delaying legitimate non-imm O’s from reuniting with their families. You should move out of the way and make room for the legitimate visitors with the big bucks to come in and rebalance the economy. The administrative congestion you’ve created has stopped thousands of mixed Thai kids being able to see their mums and dads. They are reluctant to give more visas to people because of the amnesty and they don’t want legit visitors piggy backing into it. You bring shame to immigration. Why should immigration respect people who ignore the advice of their own embassies and favour exploiting Thailand’s temporary hospitality.

      • Avatar

        You know who

        Friday, July 17, 2020 at 2:10 pm

        Shush makes a lot of assumptions.
        Ample flights? Not for me, not a single flight after mine was cancelled in March.
        Went to the beach? I have never been to a beach in Thailand.
        Thai economy at risk by not extending stays? All economies are at risk now. Any funds spent into any economy is helpful to it’s local.
        Disrespectful of Thai people? Never have been anything but respectful to Thai people.
        Extended holiday? I didn’t come here for holiday to begin with. I’ve been miserable for months and will leave the moment it becomes possible, never to return again.
        Exploiting a cheap room from desperate locals? Not me, I am registered at a 4 star hotel.
        It is terrible that families are separated, I completely agree with you on that as I have been separated from mine these last months.
        I don’t know where your bitterness comes from, but I hope you will find peace in your heart as I hope I can return home as soon as possible.

    • Avatar

      sam thompson

      Wednesday, July 15, 2020 at 11:04 am

      You are correct but don’t expect compassion or empathy with a resulting visa extension, the DOI is not renowned for these traits……after all, it is only a once in a lifetime, highly infectious, worldwide pandemic and an unprecedented disaster……sad but likely to be true because they love red tape and bureaucracy

      • Avatar

        Steven

        Thursday, July 16, 2020 at 12:29 pm

        I don’t mind paying the standard 1900 baht fee for the extension. I am not looking for a handout, but the paper requirements are no longer available through the embassies.
        I cannot get to my home because the border is closed.
        I also don’t want to break any laws, but it will become a catch-22 on July 31.

  2. Avatar

    Zz

    Wednesday, July 15, 2020 at 2:32 pm

    looks like they want to swap healthy farang for sick

  3. Avatar

    Kim

    Wednesday, July 15, 2020 at 8:51 pm

    Unfortunately despite it being my responsibility to make arrangements it’s not that easy. My return flight to the UK is with Gulf Air who don’t have any flights scheduled until 1st August. Thinking that their might be a rush fir flights on the first few days I phoned them yesterday to book my flight for the 1st or failing that the next possible day. I was told they don’t know if they’ll be able provide those flights until they are told by the Thai authorities. They wouldn’t even take my booking so that I could be sure of a seat even if it had to be cancelled. I should phone back at the end of July. So much for making arrangements. As far as I know the airports are open and Qatar at least are flying.

    As for immigration my wife has phoned our local immigration office in Mahasarakham and Bangkok to see if I would be able to get an extension if the amnesty ends and what would be needed. In both cases she was just told to wait to see what happens.

    An extension to the amnesty even if it was say a couple of weeks with a definite end would be best or just say it’s not being extended. It’s the endless dithering that’s the problem.

  4. Avatar

    Guillaume

    Wednesday, July 15, 2020 at 9:44 pm

    I totally agree with you.
    I am disguted
    Thought away the only safe tourist who spend money wont help

  5. Avatar

    Anna

    Thursday, July 16, 2020 at 6:08 pm

    Feeling a bit like in a book Flotsam by Remarque

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Expats

Thailand looks at proposal to make it easier for expats and long-termers

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Thailand looks at proposal to make it easier for expats and long-termers | Thaiger

Thailand is looking to make it easier for expats and long-term visa holders to stay in the country. The Immigration Bureau is hoping to boost investments and the economy once the pandemic is over. The proposed changes could do away with 90 day reporting requirements which have been well-received by expats.

Recently, the online website to report 90 day check-ins has been down, citing maintenance issues. Hotel staff have also been dealing with the TM-30 reporting system being down. Chayotid Kridakorn, a former head of JP Morgan Securities Thailand, told the Bangkok Post that immigration hoops are a key pain point for foreigners working in Thailand.

“We want to make it easier for foreigners to live and work in Thailand.”

Meanwhile, plans to help Thailand recover economically have been detailed in a framework to be proposed to the government’s economic panel in the next month. Improvements to immigration regulations, work permits for foreign experts, and visa applications are on the framework list. Relaxing location reporting requirements for foreign workers which is done through the 90 day reporting, is also slated to be amended.

The framework also will include inducements for foreign investors such as corporate income-tax cuts, relaxed property-holding rules and incentives for retirees and start-up companies. An adviser to Thailand’s Deputy PM, says he aims to bring in 1 million retirees or pensioners over the next few years. He says expats could collectively contribute as much as 1.2 trillion baht to the economy each year. But Thailand’s gross domestic product growth won’t return to pre-Covid levels until the 3rd quarter of 2022, according to the Bank of Thailand.

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Expats

Proposals to get rid of 90 day reporting and ease investment rules in Thailand

Tim Newton

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Proposals to get rid of 90 day reporting and ease investment rules in Thailand | Thaiger

In amongst a sea of bad new over the past week, a glimmer of hope for expats and long-stay travellers. You better sit down…

The Thai government are looking into changing the long standing 90 day reporting for people staying in Thailand longer than 90 days on a long-stay visa. But don’t get out the champagne just yet.

For the last few decades any foreigner staying in Thailand for more than 90 days had to report to Thai Immigration about their current whereabouts. Immigration officials added an online alternative a few years ago but its reliability has been patchy.

As far as The Thaiger can tell, the online reporting has been down for at least 3 months. (Comment below if you’ve had a different experience)

The Bangkok Post reports that the changes form part of a strategy “to boost investment and tourism revenue”.

For hotels that have had to report the arrival and location of any foreign arrivals, the equally unpopular TM30 form, the online posting of this information has also been equally patchy over the last few months (many hotels simply don’t bother – it’s up to YOU to insist they check you in with the Immigration system).

Though there has been no official announcement made at this stage, the desperation for visitors and tourist, that used to fuel up to 20% of Thailand’s annual GDP, is forcing all departments to look at relaxing earlier draconian or outdated paperwork in favour of encouraging more arrivals, during the Covid-era or or after.

Immigration officials have often cited the need to track transnational crime as the reason to maintain its strict, and often inconvenient, rules – 90 day reporting, TM30s and TM 28s.

But none of this has reached beyond proposal stage at the moment but, according to the head of a government taskforce investigating the proposals at the moment, there will never be a better time to bring Thailand’s immigration and investment rules into the 21st century.

Chayotid Kridakorn, a former head of JP Morgan Securities, in now leading a Thai government economic panel to recommend changes that will make it easier for investors and travellers to enter into, and stay, in Thailand, according to Bangkok Post.

Even on their most optimistic guesses, the Bank of Thailand says GDP is unlikely to return to pre-Civd levels until Q3, this year. Many pundits would say this is optimistic, indeed.

Other groups to fall between the immigration cracks, up to now, have included the digital nomads – people who want to work remotely, anywhere, anytime. Their creed is ‘have laptop and wifi – can work’. Most digital nomads have used various visas, and border hops, to keep living and working in Thailand. Under current rules, their work has been, strictly, illegal and a specific visa wold allow the Thai government to better control this huge resource and tax them more effectively.

Mr Chayotid says that Thailand doesn’t “want to be left behind and die with old technology”.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Privatising Covid vaccines – Thai government gives private hospitals the go-ahead to buy vaccines

Tim Newton

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Privatising Covid vaccines – Thai government gives private hospitals the go-ahead to buy vaccines | Thaiger

“About 10,000 people are being vaccinated around Thailand, on average, with 14,000 people being vaccinated each day in Phuket.”

Private hospitals and institutions have been given the official go-ahead to purchase up to 10 million doses of approved Covid-19 vaccines. The purchases will be in addition to what the Thai government is also doing. The major sticking point, despite the approval, however, continues to be the world supply shortage of vaccines, with demand far outstripping current supply.

The CCSA’s Dr. Taweesilp Visanuyothin announced that the Thai PM had approved the privatisation of vaccines but maintained that the roll out of free vaccines for Thais and people at risk would continue at full pace. The Thai government have been fending off accusations that it was blocking the acquisition of vaccines by private companies and hospitals. The 10 million doses approved for private purchases actually allows about 5 million vaccinated people with most of the approved vaccines needing 2 doses.

The spokesperson explained that the Thai government needs to have 40 million Thais vaccinated before they would be able to claim any scientific level of herd immunity. The public health minister said that around 10,000 people per day are being vaccinated around the country, on average. About 350,000 doses have arrived in Thailand and 1.5 million more doses are awaiting delivery for this month, according to the Thai PM.

The order allows the private sector to use a letter of approval from the Thai government to purchase its own supplies separately. Or, alternatively, to purchase directly from the government and resell to customers.

The government’s current order for vaccines is enough for around 35 million people with a local supplier, manufacturing the Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine under license, from June this year.

Dr Taweesilp also urged private companies to target and purchase vaccines from manufacturers other than the vaccine companies the Thai government were already dealing with.

The following vaccines are currently approved in Thailand…

  • AZD1222 by AstraZeneca/Oxford University (2 doses)
  • ARS-CoV-2 (CoronaVac) by Sinovac (2 doses)
  • NT162b2/CORMIRNATY – Tozinameran by Pfizer/BioNTech (2 doses)
  • Covishield (ChAdOx1_nCoV19) by the Serum Institute of India (2 doses)
  • Ad26.COV2.S by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson (Single dose)
  • mRNA-1273 by Moderna (2 doses)

There are also current applications pending from other vaccine producers which will likely be approved in coming weeks.

Many expats have been chasing information about when they could expect to be vaccinated. Despite some promises from the government there has been little concrete information about formalities to register for vaccination at this stage. Meanwhile many expats have indicated they were prepared to pay for their vaccination but were unable to get clarification from private hospitals about when that may be available.

In Phuket the provincial government has promised ALL registered residents, local or foreign, that they would be eligible for government-funded vaccination. There has been a flurry of activity on the island over the past 2 weeks since the ‘Sandbox’ proposal was approved, in principal, for a July re-opening of quarantine-free tourism to vaccinated travellers. There has been queues and waiting lists at the island’s public hospitals every day for the past week. Currently some 14,000 people are being vaccinated every day, on average.

Meanwhile, the events of the past few days – the closure of entertainment venues and bars in 41 provinces, including all the main tourist areas – will force the government to re-consider any scheduled plans to re-open borders and reduction of quarantine times. Travellers are still allowed to visit Thailand, under new guidelines introduced on April 1, 2021.

What you currently need to enter Thailand…

  • Vaccine certificate, either a print out or the original document (or vaccinated travellers)
  • Certificate of Entry issued by the Royal Thai Embassy in your country
  • Covid-19 health insurance with a minimum coverage of US$100,000
  • Booking confirmation for an Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) hotel
  • Negative Covid-19 test issued no more than 72 hours before departure

Anyone considering travelling to Thailand at this time is recommended to check with the Thai embassy in their country first, before making bookings of ASQ hotels or flights.

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