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Phuket Immigration handing out ‘conditional’ 14 day visas, pending investigations

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Confusion reigns. It was predictable and many people, despite months of warnings, have left their visa extensions to the last minute. Meanwhile Thai immigration don’t appear to be making the process easy as The Thaiger has received multiple comments from foreigners visiting the various immigration offices around the country and encountering ‘local’ applications of the published guidelines and, in some cases, demands for additional paperwork.

A note to The Thaiger, we won’t publish the person’s name, from Phuket where a person applying for an extension to their visa has been given something less than the 30 days promised by the government.

“On Monday Phuket Immigration was only giving 14 day ‘conditional’ VISA extensions from the date of application, not from September 26. They announced this was to allow time to “investigate and verify” the need for the extension.

So basically we paid 1900 baht for a 14 day extension. After announcing this many people left as many que numbers were called and nobody came up. They said if that were the case they would come back later in the week.

So we have to go back on October 5 (or a few days later is ok they announced) to see if we’re approved for the 30 day extension from September 26. If not we would be immediately “overstaying” at 500 baht/day.

Thank you
C

Another writer, speaking about the same matter, said that they were still being charged the non-refundable 1900 baht fee for the 2 week extension….

“They still collected the non refundable 1900 baht fee.”

Yesterday a person, who had been living in Bangkok under the auspices of the visa amnesty on a lapsed Non Immigrant B (Business) visa, ended up visiting three different offices to get his paperwork sorted out. This is after first contacting immigration by phone to confirm the particular office to attend. He had a letter from the US Embassy explaining that he would be unable to return to the US at this stage due to lack of flights and the current Covid-19 situation in the US. He made an appointment online, as instructed, and it still didn’t go very smoothly.

The instructions he received….

If your Visa was cancelled during the Covid-19 crisis, and you are currently under the amnesty grace period set to expire September 26, you will need to schedule an appointment online to queue in with the Immigration Division 1 at Muang Thong Thani (near Don Mueang Airport). You will need…
  • Online appointment with Immigration Division 1 
  • Passport 
  • TM 6 Departure Card 
  • 1,900 Baht fee for short term extension 
  • Letter from embassy specifically stating inability to leave Thailand due to lack of repatriation flights and or a high risk of contracting Covid-19 in one’s home nation. 
  • US Embassy letter request can be made online here
  • Portrait photo to affix to short term extension application 3.5 cm x 4.5 cm in dimension

After going to Counter K and Counter J (2 separate buildings), he ended up being asked to go to the Chaeng Wattana office instead, and then was shuffled off to yet another office. Additional paperwork was also requested, beyond what had been asked for. After nearly a full day he ended up with a visa stamp for a 30 day extension in his visa.

He also noted that there is NO ATM around the Mueang Thong Thani immigration offices and our reader had to take a 60 baht motorcycle taxi ride to get cash.

Probably worse, he said that the Immigration officials (clearly overworked at this time), were “extremely rude” and that the facilities (apparently temporary) are “less-than-adequate”, especially the Counter K, which was basically a parking garage with seats… no fans.

Additionally, contrary to the clear advice on the Thai Immigration website, most people getting their extensions were from the date of their visit and NOT the end of the September 26 amnesty.

Phuket Immigration handing out 'conditional' 14 day visas, pending investigations | News by Thaiger

The moral of this tiny microcosm of stories is that it’s probably the busiest week for Thai immigration in history. The officials will be stressed and stretched, there will be long queues and there will be confusion. We should also mention that we’ve had a few foreigners contact us saying that things went very smoothly for their extensions, so well done to all concerned in those examples!

Be prepared, take ALL your paperwork, expect to asked to produce more evidence, make sure you have all your photos and copies of your passport, TM 6 departure card, plus filled-in applications before you head to the Immigration offices.

 

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26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. Mark

    Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 8:51 am

    So I take it these wanting via extensions have verifiable plans for visas or returning home country? If not they are lucky to get 14 days extra !

  2. Dave

    Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 9:29 am

    still too complicated. I will return to Phuket when everything is normalized. Thailand is my second home

    • Robert

      Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 9:54 am

      “Normal” Not sure that will ever happen again. There hasn’t been a case of Covid transmitted internally in Thailand for over two months, but we are all still wearing masks.

  3. Geoff

    Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 9:37 am

    Very helpful article. Thanks. Btw, the Meung Thong Thani office is near the Impact Centre, exhibition centre miles away from DM airport.When I visited in February it was the same. A car park with plastic chairs. And very grumpy staff. Not surprising. It’s a .. hole.

  4. Terry Boyle

    Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 10:06 am

    The amnesty ending date of Sept26 has been known for quite a while .. People chose to ignore it and sit on their ass until the last couple of days , causing a rush on immigration offices .. Now they complain about the conditions , the confusion and the staff .. They helped cause the problem so put up with it !

    • Whiro

      Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 10:11 am

      Totally agree with you. They made it very clear when they generously extended it to Sept 26.

    • Gary

      Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 10:47 am

      I hope the genuine ones with problems get a satisfactory result, but also, they let us stranded retirees out of country back home very soon, nearly 6 months now. Thailand is my first home.

      • Junkman

        Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 12:09 pm

        Most of the genuine one’s don’t have to leave Thaiand to renew their visa’s and arent subject to Sept 26th deadline. It’s the other visa holders (tourist visa) who most likely are having issues and trying to take advantage.

    • Robert

      Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 9:57 am

      And remember “we are guests in their Country” act like it, please

    • harry1

      Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 12:32 pm

      a bit harsh terry where the compassion, those stranded for months have little money and even now have no idea when they can fly out ,this has been handling poorly expecting to give a extended 14 days vis for 1900 baht were is there understanding.the west helped thailand in their moment of time back in 2014 with the tsunami, children gave their pocket money ,people organised event to raise money to help the people of thailand. reciprocation would be helpful

    • Josh

      Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 8:47 pm

      Well yeah they’re going at the last minute. What’s the point of going at the beginning of September and getting an extension until the end of September and then having to go back again while it’s packed anyway? It would be a waste of 1900 baht.

  5. Fred glue

    Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 10:29 am

    Why paper work all the time, you land at Bangkok airport, through immigration get stamps, look into the camera (photo taken) on you go. You can’t get a flight in or out of the country. Letters from embesey ,
    For what,,, just take your passport & air line ticket to the counter,,,, at the local immigration office.
    All scans taken of passport etc, use the technology that what it is designed for. Good luck…

  6. Junkman

    Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 11:33 am

    What type of visas are these people on? If they are on tourist visas why are they complaining and why are they still in Thai? They were given 5 months to get their affairs in order.Show them the door

    • Svcoquette

      Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 12:02 pm

      Junkman, we and many others came here on our yachts from Malaysia. On March 18th Malaysia closed its seaports to foreign yachts and as of now they are closed until at least 31 Dec. So there’s nothing we can do and no place to go as all nearby countries, including Thailand, have closed their seaports to foreign yachts. Our yacht is our only home.

    • Chris

      Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 9:19 pm

      You are an absolute wanker. Let me guess, some 50-60 something retiree who feels entitled to be in Thailand, when infact, you are a farang like any other tourist. I work remotely, left all my possesions behind and work 80 hour weeks on my business while traveling abroad. Not everyone has all day to travel around to immigration offices in our tommy bahama shirts and chat up our fellow senior citizens all day.

      • Ron

        Friday, September 25, 2020 at 9:49 am

        Hey, Don’t rag on Tommy Bahama shirts. I’m 66 and I hate chatting up ANYONE.

        • Chris

          Friday, September 25, 2020 at 2:38 pm

          Ron, you’re my kinda guy! Just had to put junkman in his place. He doesnt deserve to wear TB!

  7. Tobias Krantz

    Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 4:24 pm

    Junkman, very appropriate name.

    • Mark

      Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 5:41 pm

      Appropriate krank

  8. Monir

    Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 9:24 pm

    I don’t know why the immigration doing that ? Even they clearly mentioned each extension will be for 30 days and will count after 26’th September.

  9. James

    Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 1:35 am

    I left Phuket on the 23rd August after being there on a free extended tourist visa for 7 months.

    I knew the deadline was In September and so I found a flight back to London.

    There are lots of international flights.

    Thanks Thailand for extending my visa Automatically for free.

  10. Knutson Jorge

    Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 8:47 am

    Everyone waited until last minute as they were hoping to see if the government made another extension like last 2 times.
    They did that too on last minute.
    I been 2 times now to immigration in the last 2 days and left yesterday angry and frustrated as the staff there and the whole thing is just overwhelming!
    Can’t understand why I need to ask my embassy to write me a official letter and then fill out loads of paperwork and wait 10 hours in line to get a 30 days extension…
    I own a property here and car and have a business visa …
    But need to fly out of Thailand every 90 days of course… so I needed to renew…
    I kind a had enough of this nonsense and I’m planning to leave Thailand for good now….

    • Cameron

      Friday, September 25, 2020 at 11:22 am

      Knutson, you could have easily arranged a new 1 year B visa last month at immigration without leaving the country, just like several of my European staff did. There have been special rule in place up to Sept 26, like for example, you don’t need to show social security or tax payments after March. It was easy, the usual pile of paperwork prepared by the accountant, and quite a lot of cash in the brown envelope (more than usual), but it was done very quickly and now three people have 1 year visas (no need to leave the country every 90 days) and have also just renewed their work permits yesterday. I think the whole process, from asking the accountant, to getting the new visa stamp in the passport was just 3 or 4 days. Why did it go so easy for them? because they prepared in advance, asked the right questions, and did not wait until the last minute to apply. It sounds like you have left everything to the last minute and now blame everyone except yourself for the mess. I am sure that Thailand will not miss you when you leave…

      • James

        Friday, September 25, 2020 at 7:22 pm

        It does not matter how many cars or properties a person owns in any country. You still have to have a valid visa no matter which country you “live” in.

        I do not know any farang who is allowed to live in Thailand. I only know farangs who have yearly visas not permanent visas so we are all just temporary guests in Thailand anyway.

      • Robert

        Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 10:10 am

        Cameron – preparing in advance is the key. I’m married to a Thai woman and own a house, but we’ve been living in China and visiting every month or so, so no need for long term visa. However, I’ve been stuck here since Jan, due to Covid. I went to the Immigration office on Sept 10 to see about a spousal visa, they recommended a retirement visa as it was easier and required less paperwork. I pulled together and went back on the 14th. They took everything and because of the police and immigration background check, gave me a receipt and said to call on the 18th to check. I did so and everything was approved. In total all three visits, I spent maybe 4 hours at the office and I’m good to stay now.

        Preparation is everything. And remember we are guests in their country, if people would remember this and act like it we’d all be better off.

  11. Ron disbury

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 9:27 pm

    I just about made it out of Dodge City (London)in early March arrived Bangkok with four days to spare before Thailand closed the Airports, I was here in January and could see what was coming a mile off warned everyone in the UK but no one was listening arrived here on a non-o four days before expiry so when I went down to Phuket with the 90-day stamp made immediate arrangements to upgrade to a retirement on the expiry of the 90-day extension in June everything went very smooth with immigration, having supplied all the necessary paperwork preparation and foresight is the key the winging it days were over 4 years ago but some people still haven’t got the message

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