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UPDATE: Confusion over Covid-19 tests for visa extensions

Caitlin Ashworth

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UPDATE: Khaosod English removed a story on Covid-19 tests for those seeking visa extensions and replaced it with the article “Immigration backtracks on plan to require Covid-19 test for visa extensions.” They say the previous report sparked uproar among expats and immigration police spokesperson has since apologised for the misunderstanding.

Original article…

Confusion reigns today over whether Covid-19 tests will be required for visa extensions. While The Phuket News spoke with an immigration official who said “no… you don’t need a Covid-19 test to extend your visa or apply for a work permit”, Khaosod English wrote an article headlined “Covid-19 test will be mandatory for all visa extension”.

The Thaiger also contacted a respected visa agent who said Covid-19 tests are, indeed, now required for applying for both visa extensions and work permits, even renewals.

The Thai Immigration Bureau has not made any official announcement regarding Covid-19 tests. Talk about Covid-19 tests for foreigners was brought up after a rule was published in the Royal Gazette last month, officially adding Covid-19 to a list of dangerous diseases, prohibiting those infected with any of the listed illnesses from entering the country.

Immigration Police Bureau spokesperson Archayon Kraithong told Khaosod English that proof of a negative Covid-19 test will be required for visa extensions, regardless of how long a foreigner has stayed in Thailand. On the other hand, Phuket immigration deputy chief Nareuwat Putthawiro told The Phuket News that Covid-19 tests will not be required for visa extensions or work permit applications.

“We do not require any medical documents for an application to renew a visa, because there are few foreigners’ movements outside Phuket. Most of them live and work in Phuket, and have done so before the new wave of Covid-19… So they do not have to worry about it. Everything is still the same.”

Medical exams are currently already required for most work permit applicants (including tests for Syphilis and Elephantiasis). A visa agent told The Thaiger that Covid-19 tests have been added to the medical examination requirements for work permit applicants. But, on the other hand, Phuket immigration says they DO NOT require Covid-19 tests for work permit applicants.

“We have not received any notices about Covid-19 requirements for processing applications to renew visas. If we do receive any such orders, we will let the public know.”

It isn’t the first time there has been conflicting statements coming out of different officials, in different immigration offices on different days.

SOURCES: Phuket News| Khaosod English

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21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Bucket

    Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 12:29 pm

    Maybe no medical documents needed in Phuket,but Koh Samui Immigration asked for a medical certificate when I did my extension of stay for my non O A visa. Height, weight, blood pressure, blood test, chest X-ray and doctor asking what medication I take. And 650 Baht to pay.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 9:53 pm

      “650 baht to pay” for what / to whom?

      An annual “retirement” extension of stay is 1.900 baht.

  2. Avatar

    Steve

    Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 1:05 pm

    As usual, left hand having no idea what the right hand is doing. Nothing unusual there,

  3. Avatar

    Frank Leboeuf

    Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 1:12 pm

    They do seem eerily aware of what the right foot is doing though, which probably doesn’t help much…

  4. Avatar

    Andrew

    Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 1:24 pm

    Money, money, money….

  5. Avatar

    Denis

    Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 2:21 pm

    Je viens de demander ma prolongation de visa la semaine dernière.
    Exactement les mêmes documents que l’année dernière étaient nécessaires: rien de plus.
    Ils m’ont juste posé des questions sur mes voyages les mois précédents et si j’ai été en contact avec une personne contaminée.

    • Avatar

      James R

      Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 12:35 am

      Denis

      You said

      “I just applied for my visa extension last week.
      Exactly the same documents as last year were needed: nothing more.
      They just asked me about my travels the previous months and if I had come into contact with an infected person.”

      My question is, How would you know if you had come into contact with an infected person?

      Comment sauriez-vous si vous êtes entré en contact avec une personne infectée?

      • Avatar

        Denis

        Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 8:58 am

        I just report about my personal experience.
        It is obvious that i cannot know if i was in contact with a contaminated person.
        I think that the meaning of immigration question is “have you been in contact with any
        identified contaminated person and authorities warned you ?” OR “Have you been in any location where covid cases have been identified ?”

        • Avatar

          James R

          Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 7:40 pm

          Denis

          OK, I understand.

  6. Avatar

    lou

    Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 5:20 pm

    good opportunity to ask for a 3 to 4000 bth cost for the test, better than nothing

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 9:51 pm

      Why a “good opportunity”?

      Are you suggesting that Immigration do a test?

      Absurd.

  7. Avatar

    Andy W

    Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 5:47 pm

    Having been through ASQ just before Xmas, I do hope they don’t require yet another test from me when I extend my 60 day visa to 90 days. It may well be the straw that broke the camels back and I may forget the extension and take my spending money home with me…
    Or maybe not but I’ll certainly try to spend less, just to spite the money grabbers.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 9:56 pm

      You went through ASQ and all the hoops just for a 60 day visa?

      Well, that puts those here saying that nobody would do so in their place.

      • Avatar

        EdwardV

        Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 10:57 pm

        That quip really only works if Andy intended leave Thailand after the 60 days. Even so, it was never about the length of the visa and always about the length of stay. After all the original STV could be extended twice to upwards of 180 days if I remember correctly and still there were virtually no takers. You and I argued about the need for the visa to be at least 90 days to make it worthwhile. Clearly Andy planning to stay past 60 days would lend one to think that is the case.

  8. Avatar

    Issan John

    Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 10:00 pm

    Why a “good opportunity”?

    Are you suggesting that Immigration do a test?

    Absurd.

    • Avatar

      Ken O

      Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 6:14 pm

      I was at immigration today and ask if I need covid test to extend my visa,,the staff say I dont need now, and they say I probably not need it when I will extend it in middle of march.
      Becaus I live here, NOT travel to “red zones” so they say why should I give covid test?
      AND goverment have not say that you need.

    • Avatar

      Ken O

      Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 6:39 pm

      Maybe they do things different in the provinces. But in Buriram we not have any issues with covid test for extend our visa, thats if you live here and not travel to “red zones”

  9. Avatar

    Lars W

    Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 11:49 pm

    Why should a persons health situation with regards to covid be involved in visa matters? I dont get it.

  10. Avatar

    Alexander

    Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 12:57 am

    Outbreak
    Govt Order Everyone Step Feet In The Kingdom Not To Go Any Where.
    Every Single person To Stay Home Avoid Gathering

    Who Stay In Next City To BANGKOK
    Due To Haze Hit BANGKOK in December

    Have To Visit BANGKOK Every week to follow with Embassies
    As Capital And Main City in Thailand

    Stay Home Follow Control Team Disease
    Is Welcoming And Glad To Cut Outbreak
    And Secure All …

    Stranded Both Trader or tourist
    Or visitors Not Agree
    About Visa Policy

    Government Is One In Thailand
    Stay Home Mean Cut The Gathering
    In immigration offices As Hot Point

    Extended Is Amnesty And Rights
    Not Time For Make Files …

    Thank For Unity Decision Maker
    All Accommodation Star Hotel
    Gave us paper For Regulations Royal Thai
    Government To Curb Outbreak
    Not Time For Visa

    Time For review our life for immunity
    Sport And Go Better Future
    Take Class From The Coronavirus

  11. Avatar

    Kenneth O

    Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 6:53 pm

    I try to post again

  12. Avatar

    Anonymous

    Sunday, January 24, 2021 at 11:10 am

    You’re reporting news from some Visa agency dude. That’s where the confusion comes from. Nobody has said anything about COVID tests for work permits. The official order says nothing about that. That’s for people arriving to Thailand and permanent residency visas. That’s what the order said. I can’t believe you would publish something some agency guy said as news.

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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