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Immigration to provide 30-day extensions after ‘visa amnesty’ ends, in some circumstances

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The Thai cabinet has approved a number of concessions on the situation for people stranded in Thailand under any form of tourist visa after September 26. The Thai Immigration Deputy Commander announced that….

• Tourists unable to return home after September 26 (the end of the tourist amnesty), due to sickness or are unable to fly, are to apply for an extension of their stay by applying at a Thai Immigration office and presenting their medical certificate certifying they are unable to travel at this time.

• Those who are unable to return to their home country’s because of a lack of flights or any other circumstances must present a letter from their country’s embassy or consulate requesting that the foreigner can continue to temporarily stay in Thailand.

Foreigners will be granted 30 days’ stay each time, according to the announcements.

Gen Pornchai also warned that the visa amnesty for all visa types will end on September 26. (If you have a valid and current visa, the September 26 amnesty is not a concern to you at this stage, although you will need to renew it, as per normal, if it expires after September 26. All current visa holders must also do their normal 90 day reporting after the end of August)

“All long-term visa holders whose permits to stay expired after March 26 also must submit an application for an extension to stay from now until September 26, 2020.”

“Please contact a local immigration office as soon as possible, in order to avoid congestion at immigration offices in the last few days.”

Reading between the lines, it appears that Thai Immigration are now prepared to provide 30 day extensions if you are able to prove that you are either unable, or unfit, to fly back to your home country after September 26. In any case please make sure that you get all the information relating to your personal circumstance as soon as possible.

Any foreigners on tourist visas, or any other type of expired visa, are urged to contact their local immigration office or a qualified visa agent to discuss their circumstances and NOT leave it to the last day (September 26).

WARNING

There are plenty of ads being posted at this time offering magic extensions to visas and opportunities to stay in Thailand after September 26. Please be aware that some of these alleged visa agents are scams. There are also plenty of very good visa agents who will be able to provide you with advice and solutions, at a cost, allowing you to remain in the country.

If you do wish to contact a visa agent at this time make sure you get a referral from a friend, visit their office in person or ask plenty of questions and check their bonafides. Do not start sending money to agent’s accounts until you have seen some paperwork or evidence that they are able to provide you with a legal and professional service. Caveat emptor!

 

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. barry

    Saturday, September 5, 2020 at 10:47 am

    Let’s hope immigration does something (as in allowing for ways of extending stay) for foreigners on expired non-immigrant type B or O-A who are riding out the repercussions of the pandemic like everyone else.
    Current regulations, while fine under normal circumstances, place some people with good reasons to want to stay in the Kingdom in quite a difficult situation, often with no practical option but to leave on the 26.

  2. Jim Pearson

    Sunday, September 6, 2020 at 3:29 pm

    Most agents are legitimate. They have a relationship with immigration. While it’s always good to do your due diligence, it’s unnecessary to start fear mongering. Agents are often used in developing countries to overcome the bureaucracy, for a price.

    Even the agent who was busted for growing marijuana is still in business and happens to be legitimate (though personally I would recommend other agents).

  3. barry

    Sunday, September 6, 2020 at 3:49 pm

    Here’s an idea:

    No more amnesty, extensions, derogations etc, no, introduce something something practical.

    Let’s call it Thailand’s “COVID-19 Emergency Stay Permit”.

    – Make foreigners register for the online to apply for the COVID-19 Emergency Stay permit, then come to their local immigration office to pay and process.

    – To process the COVID-19 Emergency Stay Permit, foreigners need 2 photos, proof of sufficient funds to finance their stay in Thailand, housing info and of course the fees, along with a statement of understanding that the stay permit will be revoked when borders reopen

    – The COVID-19 Emergency Stay Permit is renewable every month or every 90 days (and subject to 90 day reports) until Thailand’s borders are fully reopened

    – The COVID-19 Emergency Stay Permit if offered to *all foreigners* on amnesty, not just tourists, regardless of current / expired visa (tourist, VOA, non immigrant type B, O-A….), as long as they can justify funds to stay in Thailand.

    Problems solved: no more amnesty, no more talk of “stranded/freeloader”, Thai government makes money, fully controls the situation and can communicate positively on the subject (good PR), locals make money, foreigners who have resons to want to stay here are happy, those caught in the gaps (expired non-Bs…) finally have a solution…

    Neat, right? Aaah, if only officials read the Thaiger’s comment sections 😉

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