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Covid-19 test NOT required for visa extensions (at least not today)

Maya Taylor




No, you don’t, yes, you do… Expats are scratching their heads over the mixed messages circulating in relation to the latest Thailand immigration requirements, not to mention the announcements (and retractions) published in the nation’s English-language media outlets.

It all began over the weekend, when the nation’s favourite part time travel blogger, Bangkok Post fanboy and School staff in Samut Prakan, Richard Barrow, shared the news that foreigners who wished to remain in the Kingdom would need a negative Covid-19 test.

According to his post, this update to the country’s immigration law was published in the Royal Gazette on December 25, taking effect from January 25. Needless to say, Richard’s post attracted hundreds of comments from the bewildered, the despairing, and the angry, not to mention the usual slew of social media keyboardologists.

Covid-19 test NOT required for visa extensions (at least not today) | News by Thaiger

Twitter/Richard Barrow in Thailand

Yesterday, an article published by Khaosod English also stated that Covid-19 testing would be required for all visa extensions. The story has since been removed and replaced with a retraction, following a statement issued by Archayon Kraithong from the Immigration Bureau.

The story was also picked up by The Phuket News, who spoke to the deputy chief of Phuket Immigration, Nareuwat Putthawiro. He confirmed that his office had received NO such order from the powers-that-be in Bangkok or from regional headquarters in Songkhla. The immigration chief in Chon Buri said something similar.

Archayon’s original statement had claimed a negative Covid-19 test would be a requirement for all types of visa extensions. Within an hour, he was forced to backpedal and apologise for the… well, you guessed it.

“I apologise for the misunderstanding. It will only apply to certain types of visa, most likely the permanent resident visa.”

Archayon says his office is now waiting for the Council of State to provide an interpretation of the update published in the Royal Gazette last month, which saw Covid-19 added to the list of diseases foreigners must be clear of in order to take up residency in the Kingdom. The virus now joins other prohibited ailments such as elephantiasis, leprosy, and syphilis.

SOURCE: The Phuket News | Khaosod English


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  1. Avatar


    Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 10:00 am

    So dont listen to ‘the Nations favourite blogger’ and trust that he know best.

    • Avatar

      Colin G

      Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 10:18 am

      You mean Issan John ? I’m sure he does know best, at all times !

      • Avatar


        Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 11:28 am


        • Avatar


          Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 8:57 pm

          Issan John is all wise and we are all morons.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 7:11 pm

        Rather impossible as I don’t have a blog.

        A minor point here, though …

  2. Avatar


    Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 10:06 am

    This is the equivalent of making Thais take a Covid test to renew their driving license. There is no justification for this, none. It discrimination for the sake of discrimination, that and milking foreigners yet again.

    Time to seriously consider moving, as long as the junta is in power, the hostility towards foreigners will not end. Life’s too short and the world has too many other nice places, more grateful than here for your contribution.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 7:13 pm

      Umm … difficult to be “discrimination” as it never happened.

    • Avatar

      J West

      Thursday, January 21, 2021 at 11:57 am

      The list grows longer, including double price at parks and temples, tourist only menus, bogus taxi meters that spin like crazy clocks, beach chair bandits, jet ski cons, magical motorcycle dents, duplicate insurance policies, 300 Baht “tourist tax”….. pretty soon we’re talking serious money. I’m starting to think there’s something going on. T.I.T….what ?

  3. Avatar

    Happy Tourist

    Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 10:12 am

    Non ? Si ! Oh !!!!

  4. Avatar


    Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 10:50 am

    So everyone who renews their permanent resident visa needs to test? The term “dirty farang” comes to mind.

    • Avatar

      Ken O

      Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 5:17 pm

      I was at immigration today and ask if I need covid test to extend my visa,,the the staff say I dont need,,becaus im here and have not travel to “red zones”
      So no i dont need

      • Avatar

        brian mc

        Thursday, January 21, 2021 at 8:01 am

        very confusing, but i suspect the keyword TODAY is the issue. if i wanted to renew TODAY (by 24th jan), no covid test required. BUT. after 24th jan. it IS required.

        this was what was stated by the OP when it first got in the news. my local immigration, who i find reliable and give a straight answer, echoed what the OP said.

        so, an extra 3k to the cost of a visa and just hope the same paperwork is still valid when going for the wp, else another 3k needed… a weeks salary for your basic government school teacher… thats a few nights out

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 7:17 pm

      Ummm… no, you don’t “renew” a permanent resident visa.

      That’s why it’s called “permanent”.

      🙂 🙂 🙂

      • Avatar


        Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 10:28 pm

        “I apologise for the misunderstanding. It will only apply to certain types of visa, most likely the permanent resident visa.” – Just going by what is in the article John.

      • Avatar

        James R

        Thursday, January 21, 2021 at 12:56 am

        Issan John

        That is correct, 99.9% of you are all there on temporary visitors visas at the whim of the government.

        They might be called retirement visas or work visas etc but the are all temporary.

  5. Avatar


    Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 1:29 pm

    No place is perfect no matter who or how you get fleeced, imho.

    • Avatar


      Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 9:34 pm

      The big hospital brands are missing their foreign cash cow. Probably lobbied the ministry to get tens of thousands of new customers paying inflated prices for tests. They could even make it every foreigner on every visa. After all foreigners are more susceptible to disease and have poor hygiene standards.

  6. Avatar

    brian mc

    Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 7:14 pm

    immigration in nakhon si thammarat have stated the test IS required for visa extension AND work permit as of 24th jan.
    that could mean 2 tests if visa and wp expire too far apart.
    at 3000 baht a pop, its no rice soup (joke).

    if the aim is to prevent the virus entering the country, its a little bit stable door bolted horse to test the people already here and may not have been out of the country since the first round.

    not sure what affect a positive test would have on visa extension. declined?

  7. Avatar


    Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 8:17 pm

    Exactly Brian if positive do they send you home and deny your visa thiers no smoke without fire in Thailand so yet another scam to fleece the tourist cos that’s all you are in this country a tourist with a year stay at a time never forget this

  8. Avatar


    Sunday, January 24, 2021 at 11:22 pm

    book list year 1

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A seasoned writer, with a degree in Creative Writing. Over ten years' experience in producing blog and magazine articles, news reports and website content.

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