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Thai Chamber of Commerce urges visa amnesty to be extended after today’s deadline

Tanutam Thawan

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The Thai Chamber of Commerce is urging the government to extend the visa amnesty for the country’s 400,000 tourists after today’s deadline but has so far been turned down. The move comes as such provinces like Chiang Mai’s immigration office sends messages giving tourists until Monday to sort out their visas (which is under the law as Saturday, the final day of the visa amnesty, is usually closed).

“For the foreigners that visas will expire on September 26, 2020, if come to continue the visa on Monday, September 28, 2020, no need to pay for overstay. If you haven’t been able to sort through the queues and online bookings for an appointment, you also have Monday (at any immigration office) to get things sorted. Many of the country’s immigration offices are open today. Good luck.”

TCC chairman Kalin Sarasin says they have repeatedly asked the Immigration Bureau to extend the amnesty by 90 days but have been met with unclear answers as the deadline for sorting visas hits today.

“We were told that this agenda was in the process, but there’s been no progress so far.”

Kalin says the deadline will bring even more chaos to those who await flights out of the country as they are not yet fully allowed. Furthermore, such provinces as Chiang Mai attribute stranded tourists as helping generate revenue at a time when the country desperately needs it. As these tourists need long-term accomodations, they undoubtedly bring revenue to the domestic tourism sector at a time when hotels and other types of accommodations are struggling.

“Instead of blacklisting those foreigners, the government should accommodate them with a more flexible period, particularly when the country cannot reopen for inbound tourists. The uncompromising stance towards visa extension scares tourists away despite the fact that they help drive the local economy in these tough times.”

This week has been the busiest on record for stressed out Immigration officials who have been trying to cope with the last minute influx of tourists and expats whose visas had expired and were trying to extend, or apply for, visas to stay in the country.

Anantorn Hochindarat, president of the Tourism Association of Chiang Mai, says some businesses have received recurring revenue from international tourists which can help a lot when facing difficult times.

Although the profits from such tourists are much lower now, Anantorn says it can help businesses stay afloat. Despite such calls for an extension of visa amnesty, the Immigration Bureau has yet to announce any leeway to be given after today’s deadline.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Svcoquette

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 11:24 am

    Yes extend all VISA s at least 90 days. If you want the extension fees then collect them when we are able and feel safe to leave. The 1900 baht monthly extension fee is small compared to what we spend to stay here.
    The monthly uncertainty is not making us feel welcomed and is a hassle not only for us but for the overwelmed immigration workers. I applaud them for keeping their cool.
    Malaysia has extended all VISA s until at least 31 Dec with a 14 day grace period after that. No hassles, no monthly reporting and at no cost. They are happy for the foreigners they have to stay and feel welcomed.
    Thailand take note. You are losing your image as a welcoming place for foreigners to come.
    A final note: Many of us came on our yachts but all nearby countries have closed their ports so we cannot leave. If you gave us more than 30 days at a time we could schedule major boat work.

    • Avatar

      murika

      Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 12:04 pm

      always asking for hassle free visa for all tourist, but you have to understand that long term visa holders have to do A LOT to stay here, proof of income, proof of residence, reporting their whereabout with tm30, imigration visit to your home and so much more, so it wouldn’t be fair for those who play by the rules to see that people can stay by paying a small fee and don’t have to provide anything else, if the government want to simplify the visa requirement they should start by easing thing for foreigner who really are part of Thai society, living working and paying taxes here, tourist are guests with a guest visa, if they want to stay they can start do like everyone else on long term visa, they can even use an agent if they don’t have enough income or money, and you can afford a yacht, why you guys don’t want to just follow the rules to legitimate your stay instead of complain all the time like babies, would you do that in usa or europe ?

      • Avatar

        Svcoquette

        Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 12:36 pm

        murika, you are right, Thailand should make it easier for everyone to stay during these trying times. We’ve been slowly sailing around the world these past 22 yrs. We chose to stay in SE Asia for a while. We looked into getting long term VISA s in Thailand but chose to get 10 yr renewable MM2H VISA s in Malaysia, no monthly, quarterly or yearly reporting hassles. Like many yachts we come here each Feb for 2-3 months for the settled NE Monsoon weather, to get boat work done and for the warm welcome and smiles here. We always abide by the rules in the 63 countries we have visited so far. It is not our desire to stay here any longer but have no choice as Malaysia, like Thailand, has closed its ports to yachts and the nasty SW Monsoon weather now makes ocean passges dangerous.
        So do we want to stay long term… no, but we have no choice.

        • Avatar

          Whiro

          Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 4:45 pm

          Hope you can leave Thailand safely soon and don’t have to come back.
          This country will not change anytime soon, so don’t come back, go somewhere else.

          Have a safe trip 🙂

        • Avatar

          murika

          Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 8:43 pm

          the government gave an option for all the tourist visa owners, is to pay 1900b one month at a time with an embassy letter or a medical certificate, if your embassy don’t give letter, you go visit a hospital and tell them you have pain in your ears and can’t take a flight, 50 bath and DONE
          payut himself said that no farang stuck in Thailand will have to leave after that German guy in Phuket write him a letter…

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 12:37 pm

        What an unpleasant, selfish, dog-in-the-manger attitude.

        You are apparently on a marriage visa or a work permit, judging by your comment, so Covid-19 has no no affect on your stay.

        That doesn’t apply to those here on tourist visas, so they have grounds for asking for some leeway. You don’t.

        The idea that “they can start do like everyone else on long term visa” would mean that they would have to marry, retire, or work here to do so. That isn’t why they’re here.

        • Avatar

          Svcoquette

          Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 12:57 pm

          Thank you Issan John

      • Avatar

        Shane

        Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 5:22 pm

        “they can even use an agent if they don’t have enough income or money”…..

        So you’re recommending fiddling the system?

      • Avatar

        Stefan Svensson

        Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 6:06 pm

        Free visa for longstay is the way to go, if not, better go somewere else!

  2. Avatar

    David

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 11:57 am

    totally agree, stop putting pressure on us, sell us extention at 1900 baht, Europe is undergoing a second wave of the virus, we have finances to stay, tonight midnight many will be on overstay because their embassy is not not wanted to provide a letter because there are planes.
    planes to direct us towards the virus, no thanks !!
    many prefer to take the risk of being stopped by the police or paying their overstay on the day of their departure …

    • Avatar

      Svcoquette

      Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 2:22 pm

      People arrive and leave not only by plane. A fellow yachtie was refused an embassy letter because he could not provide a cancelled airline ticket.

  3. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 1:16 pm

    This visa mess is entirely the Thais’ fault.
    They state extend your visa or apply for a visa, and when the persons try, there are not enough Thais to do their jobs.
    A shambles!

  4. Avatar

    Paul

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 1:24 pm

    I have extended 30 days by getting a letter from immigration.
    Is there any way to extend to a longer visa now that I have a bit more time? Chances of an amnesty?
    (I do not qualify for marriage, retirement, elite etc…)

    • Avatar

      Jules

      Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 2:45 pm

      Thailand is telling money spending foreigners to leave yet trying to encourage foreigners back. Devoid of any common sense

  5. Avatar

    Svcoquette

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 4:06 pm

    Here’s an idea. Extend all VISA s for 12 months from the date of first entry. This would stagger the need for further visits to immigration for extensions and relieve the overwhelming of immigration vacilities each month. It would also allow tourists here to plan for travel within Thailand. This week to week, month to month uncertainty makes it difficult to do anything but sit and wait.
    Customs has no problem extending yacht import exemptions in 6 month increments at no cost, nice smile and no long lines as the dates are staggered starting from when you arrived.

  6. Avatar

    Whiro

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 5:14 pm

    The Thai Chamber of Commerce !
    You guys are a bit too late. Asking for that on the day it expired?
    Idiots !

    • Avatar

      S.R. Leif

      Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 7:50 pm

      Part of Thailand’s charm. Better to stay Thailand than become just another over-priced, over-regulated, self-destructing, Western country.

  7. Avatar

    James

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 9:24 pm

    You have all had enough free time on your free extended temporary tourist visas, stop moaning and leave as I did after 7 months in August as I saw the very last free visa extension was looming.

    Or simply apply for an appropriate visa such as a retirement visa for example where you put 800k baht in the bank and then you can stay for a year.

    If not then leave as you have no money to spend anyway, Thailand just wants your money not you, bye-bye.

    • Avatar

      Svcoquette

      Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 8:55 am

      James,
      Not all of us have been able to leave. Many yachts have been stuck here as neighboring countries have closed their sea ports. So don’t say “You have all had enough free time on your free extended temporary visas”
      Thailand has also closed its ports to yacht arrivals and departures.

      • Avatar

        James

        Monday, September 28, 2020 at 6:25 pm

        Svcoquette

        In your case I can see you are an exception.

        I am guessing 99% of people can leave if they want to as people traveling by yacht must be a small percentage of people?

        • Avatar

          Svcoquette

          Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at 7:39 am

          James, yes a small percentage. When we checked into New Zealand we were the 640 th foreign yacht to do so that year, more came after. Consider 2 people per yacht on average. With the backlog of yachts in the SE Asia area due to the pirate situation in the Red Sea probably more have come to Phuket as Phuket is the main port of call for foreign yachts. Readily available marine supplies and competent marine technical services are available here and many yachts come here for that and spend much more than the average tourist.

  8. Avatar

    Svcoquette

    Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 8:58 am

    Not everyone came here by airplane as you and the authorities seem to think. Besides yachts many have come by land border crossings and like the yachts cannot go back to where they came from. A person’s passport country should not be the only consideration, where you came from should also be considered.

  9. Avatar

    Rudolph Krakauer

    Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 4:20 am

    What a lovely phrase

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