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Visa Emergency Extension extended to May 30 this year for stranded tourists

Tanutam Thawan

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FILE PHOTO: if your visa deadline is approaching, visit your immigration offer immediately

Stranded foreign tourists, either genuinely stuck in Thailand since April 2020, or stuck here by choice, are able to stay in Thailand until May 30, according to an order signed by the Immigration Bureau last week. The order empowers local officers to grant a 60 day visa extensions from January 29 up to May 30. The order coincides with the world’s Covid-19 situation getting worse and more countries sealing up their borders.

The order allows for a further 60 day extension for people on a tourist visa beyond January 29 when the previous order expired.

Visit the Thai Immigration website for more information HERE.

Immigration officials have explained the reason for the latest extension is the “ongoing pandemic which has seen many European countries close their borders to non-European Union air traffic.”

The UK has also tightened entry procedures with Covid-19 testing and mandatory quarantine, much the same as Thailand now has in place. The US still allows citizens to return but has barred travellers from the UK and Europe for the time being. Australia has a ban on foreign tourism for now although citizens can re-enter Australia under important circumstances (contact your embassy if you need to repatriate at this time).

Local officers in each province can now issue 60 day extensions on expired tourist visas up to March 30, which will make the order valid up to May 30. Thailand’s Immigration Bureau Chief has announced the further visa extension for stranded travellers and tourists because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, both in Thailand and around the world.

If you need to extend your visa, or your visa deadline is approaching, or lapsed, visit your local immigration office and check you options.

The previous order authorised immigration officers to grant a 60 day extension at any time from September 29, 2020 to January 29, 2021.

Last year, as deadlines loomed for the end of visa amnesties for stranded foreign tourists, nearly all who arrived in Thailand before the start of April 2020, the Thai PM and cabinet acceded to last minute reprieves, despite warnings from senior Immigration Bureau officials to the contrary.

Before the last September 29 deadline, the immigration officials and government left it to the very last minute to decide on a further short term extensions to the visa amnesty and an Emergency Extension for tourist visas. A large chunk of foreigners, many long-term expats, left the country as there had been no hint of a further extension to the visa amnesty. At the time the amnesty would allow people who had applied for earlier extensions to stay until October 31, 2020, and others the ability to apply for 60 day extensions. Read about that HERE.

Adding to the confusion back in September last year were requirements for letters from the applicant’s embassy along with medical certificates, causing confusion and stress for many of the tourists and travellers that wanted to stay in Thailand. Some immigration officers stayed open for extra hours to precess the applications as the deadline loomed, others didn’t.

1,900 baht still needs to be paid for the 60 day extension to tourist visas.

Immigration officials say that there are still 100,000 – 150,000 tourists still stranded and living in Thailand. Before September 29 last year, the officials guessed the number was around 250,000. Earlier, when the first amnesty was applied in April 2020, the figure was estimated to be around 500,000.

For the genuinely stranded tourists and travellers the amnesty has provided a relaxing lifestyle with many heading for the popular tourist zones and taken advantage of the empty beaches, cheap hotels and great weather.

If your visa has lapsed you will likely have to pay a fine for overstaying your visa. Visit your nearest immigration office to sort out your individual situation as being caught on an overstayed visa will result in heavy fines, possible deportation, jail or bans from re-entering Thailand in the future.

Visa Emergency Extension extended to May 30 this year for stranded tourists | News by Thaiger

 

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Fred glue

    Sunday, January 31, 2021 at 12:25 pm

    Plain & simple orders from the kingdom of Thailand. (COVID-19 SITUATION GETTING WORSE)
    People of Thailand & there tourists are in a great position, too the rest of the countries.
    If the tourists are struggling with money in Thailand speak up, don’t bottle it up. Go & talk too someone.
    Ask the local authorities, it’s easy just ask. Don’t do things alone. If you want too talk too someone, just drop me a line on the thaiger forum. Or talk too the thaiger web site. They have got a lot of connections.
    We are all in this bloody trench, don’t matter who you are, it’s well over due that we got back shoulder to shoulder. I am no doctor, but go and see a doctor or some professional medical person, it’s ok too speak back here in Sydney, the virus is here too. But I have got family and friends, that I can talk too. If the thaiger blog could put up a advertising sign in bold letters and numbers, in different languages. So people get be set on the
    right track for some advice , I know the thaiger is not a charity or belevant society. Just too make people, so they are not alone. We will defend ourselves too this virus. Raining here in Sydney, & hot & muggy. Some nice engorging words would not go astray in this moment of time. Thanks, ?????? P.S, sorry about the spelling……..

    • Avatar

      Semo

      Monday, February 22, 2021 at 8:50 am

      Please consult a psychiatrist due to impolsive behavior

  2. Avatar

    murika

    Sunday, January 31, 2021 at 1:37 pm

    in thought for all the foreigners who has been scammed by thai visa service in paying 50k to get an educational visa, after getting message telling them they will be kicked off thailand if they don’t apply quick.

  3. Avatar

    HermannTheGerman

    Sunday, January 31, 2021 at 5:27 pm

    This tourist visa amnesty is only a show. They got everyone out before already.

    In April last year there were talks about a visa amnesty for tourists stranded in Thailand. The talks started when the country was already closed down and most airline connections were cancelled.

    When I tired to extend my tourist visa at the Chiang Mai immigration, I was asking 3 days earlier if I could get my normal 30 day extension and they confirmed. 3 days later when I extended they gave me 7 days and told me to leave Thailand. I could get another 14 days extension with a letter from my embassy and there was no other option for a different type of visa. I have a digital and location independent online visa, a house and a girlfriend in Thailand and still there is no easy way for me to get a long term visa.

    Back in April I had 2 options: Stay in Thailand with a letter from my embassy and to hope the government would announce a visa amnesty. Then I risk to not getting back to Germany anymore and be stuck in Thailand without a visa. Not a good option in my opinion.

    So I took the last available repatriation flight to Germany, while all other normal flights were cancelled already. 2-3 weeks after I came back to Germany they suddenly announced a visa amnesty.

    So they announced it at a time where you can’t travel for 4-6 weeks already. Everyone who could already left the country. I heard stories in the airplane from other people who booked several flights to get backt that all got cancelled.

    So either the government is so very incompetent they needed so long time to find a solution, or they wanted to kick the farangs out, but still look like they are open to farangs by announcing an “amnesty”. I hardly think there are any people that used this amnesty. You can also see this by the amount of tourists that remained in the country when the full travel restrictions were still in place.

    So either this is just a PR stunt, or it is complete incompetence by the government. With this government you never know, maybe they had good intentions (I personally doubt it), but were just too stupid to respond quickly in a fast changing situation like that.

    • Avatar

      Gosport

      Sunday, January 31, 2021 at 6:27 pm

      So sorry to hear that. The longer you stay in a country, the better you handle an unexpected situation. When in Rome, follow the Roman’s, not expats.

    • Avatar

      Marc

      Thursday, February 4, 2021 at 7:28 am

      Hermann sorry that you got trough that ! I know can be very stressful and if you wish to return for long , as you said you have girlfriend and a house , get used to it because yes not all but many are incompetent or just decide to give you hard time so they can put some money on their pocket …

  4. Avatar

    Remo

    Sunday, January 31, 2021 at 5:51 pm

    If somesone wants to get home, he can , though he may have to spend 2 weeks in quarantine after arrival.
    Emirates and Qatar have daily flights to BKK, then you can go almost everywhere from Dubai or Doha.

    So, there is no reason for visa amnesty, only maybe economical, just to keep wealthy pensioners here.

    • Avatar

      Toby Andrews

      Sunday, January 31, 2021 at 11:08 pm

      That occurred to me- keep the paying ferangs here.
      These visa extensions, they are not free are they?

      • Avatar

        Doug

        Monday, February 1, 2021 at 12:52 pm

        You’re right. They aren’t free. They function just like normal visa extensions in the old days, and you pay a fee of 1,900 baht for each application. So technically it’s not really a visa amnesty anymore. It is a special visa extension in that you can apply for a 60-day extension of stay without having to leave the country. You couldn’t normally do that. But you do fill out the normal application forms and supply all the usual documents and pay the usual fee. Then you get an “under consideration” stamp in your password and have to return in approximately 2 weeks to get the final stamp.

  5. Avatar

    Ynwaps

    Sunday, January 31, 2021 at 7:35 pm

    I got an education visa until the end of 2021 and don’t even need to extend it or anything. Don’t know why people are having visa issues again..

  6. Avatar

    James R

    Sunday, January 31, 2021 at 8:56 pm

    I left in August last year having been there on free visas since January last year.

    I left because I wanted to , there were lots of flights to London from Bangkok.

    I stayed that long on free visas because I wanted to, not because there were no flights etc.

    I was happy to have free visa extensions.

    Farangs still in Thailand are there because they want to be, they could have left months ago as I did but decide to stay and make excuses.

    No direct flight to your country?

    You could take a flight to another European country for example and then take a connecting flight.

  7. Avatar

    Mel Burn

    Monday, February 1, 2021 at 9:26 am

    We had to leave at the end of September 2020 – did four trips to the Immigration and they required an embassy letter. Well, we made several taxi drivers happy with huge tips. What amazing morons are in the government.

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