PHUKET: The chief of the Phuket Immigration Office, Col Sunchai Chokkajaykij, has confirmed that his office has received an official order to begin issuing extensions of up to 30 days to foreigners who enter the country on visa-exemption status.
The order, signed by Immigration Bureau Acting Commissioner Sakda Chuenpakdee, is to come into effect from August 29, said Col Sunchai.
“Most foreigners entering Thailand on visa-exemption status are from countries whose nationals are allowed to stay for up to 30 days. Those entering via border crossings from neighboring countries are granted 15 days’ stay in the country,” Col Sunchai explained.
“Currently, both these groups of foreigners can apply to extend their stay at any immigration office, but only for a further seven days.
“But from August 29, these foreigners can apply to extend their stay at any immigration office for up to another 30 days – giving a maximum possible stay in Thailand of 60 days.”
Considering the recent changes to penalties for foreigners who overstay their permits in Thailand (story here), Col Sunchai was apprehensive about assuring the new 30-day extensions will be rolled out.
“There are some considerations that still need to be sorted out, such as whether or not the Immigration Bureau will issue 30-day extensions to foreigners who have been granted visa-exemption stays of only 15 days,” he said.
“But if we receive no further orders, this what we will do.”
Under the current order, from August 29, all foreigners need to provide in order to apply for a 30-day extension is:
1. The foreigner’s current passport plus one copy;
2. Completed application form for a 30-day extension to stay;
3. One photo, passport sized, to attach to the application form;
4. The application fee of 1,900 baht.
“At this stage, foreigners will not be required to present an onward travel ticket, any minimum required amount of funds or even evidence of a hotel booking or travel itinerary,” Col Sunchai said.
“However, this is another issue that is still under consideration.”
— Chutharat Plerin
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