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Covid Visa Extensions May Cease Soon


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I saw this on today's Richard Barrow's newsletter - though I should pass it on straight away.

Quote:  "A number of people have told me that their local Immigration office refused to extend their covid-stamp saying that it is time for them to go home. This isn’t a national policy and many people are still getting 60-day extension of stays. However, if I was a betting man, I would say that it is doubtful that the Immigration Bureau will extend the deadline after it expires on 27th September. Particularly if the prime minister really re-opens the country in October. So, what does this mean? Well, your 60-day extension this month will probably be the last one offered to you. When it expires at the end of November you will have to leave the country. Sorry about that. I’m just trying to give you a heads up."

Richard Barrow in Thailand - Issue #2 | Revue (getrevue.co)

Might be a good idea for those that need another Covid extension, to try and get that done before the deadline expires?

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Makes perfect sense, if in fact they are opening up (somewhat).

I think this is one area that the Thai government (though done in a self-help manner) has been generous with foreigh travelers, by abridging current visa limitations to allow people to extend and extend again.

I was one of those that beneffited from the initial extensions, at the beginning of the pandemic and during that time got my NonImmB O (Spouse) extension...haven't left the country since.

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to be honest they have served their purpose and people need to get on a long term visa or extension of stay, if they want to stay here as more than a tourist/ holiday maker. they may be a group of people from some countries that have a problem returning home, Australia comes to mind, but that is a problem for Australia to sort out,

yes Covid extensions have replaced border runs, but you could only do that 2 times when the borders were open, but its been 18 months now, plenty of time to get on a correct long term solution

i'm sitting down so no need to be gentle

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They must be thinking that with the countries supposed re-opening in October that those on a Covid extension can return to whence they came from or head to another country nearby to obtain a Visa such as an "O" or one of the other categories to fit their needs.  Funny thing is that unless the requirements are lifted for quarantine etc....no one will be leaving to return anytime soon. Yet if they do not have the requisite permission to stay then they unfortunately need to be moving on.  It would have been so easy had they created a border type bounce by entering one of the Airports, that has arriving international travelers, and making a fast track lane. This would have allowed one to walk into the arrivals area, and have IO desks specifically created and separated from all others for those folks to make a walk around and then return with a stamp in their passport. It is what I used to do when I had an ME visa for being married to a Thai, and I would enter Laos via the friendship bridge, walk into the shopping area behind the IO station there, buy my needs, and then back across the bridge and back into Thailand. Ergo a border bounce.

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7 minutes ago, ThailandRyan said:

Ergo a border bounce

Border bounces have been disallowed for a few years now.  You MUST spend at least 24 hours outside the country before coming back in, and you only get two in a calendar year.

I used to work in other countries, and sometimes came home to Thailand for 3 to 5 months between gigs.  The border bounce was how I stayed in the country.

But when I worked in northern Malaysia, I was limited to how many times I could come home to Thailand, by that stupid 2-a-year rule.

 

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3 hours ago, MrStretch said:

Border bounces have been disallowed for a few years now.  You MUST spend at least 24 hours outside the country before coming back in, and you only get two in a calendar year.

I used to work in other countries, and sometimes came home to Thailand for 3 to 5 months between gigs.  The border bounce was how I stayed in the country.

But when I worked in northern Malaysia, I was limited to how many times I could come home to Thailand, by that stupid 2-a-year rule.

Not true, as I have many friends who live in Udon Thani, and every few months prior to Covid, they were on a Non Imm O ME visa, they would head to over the border to Laos, do some shopping with the Thai wife., and then return that afternoon with no issues.  The Thai wife of course never had to show anything but their Thai ID card as they could go and come across the border as needed.  I think your confusing this with a 30 day visa on arrival folks would get and then play the border bounce game. I was never kept to a minimum number of entries with a ME (Multi Entry Visa), I went and came annually up to 6 times between work and returning here to be with my family. I did this until my divorce in 2019 just prior to Covid and only then Did I convert my Non Imm O-A ME visa to an extension of stay.  Believe what you will but I cam and went like I said and my friends did prior to Covid for well over a 10 year period as I was still working unlike now being retired.

Edited by ThailandRyan
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Why not allow the Covid extensions to continue? Thailand wants money coming. Those people getting the 60 day extensions do that.  These are still exceptional times for people returning to their own countries and for Thailand's economy. Large scale tourism isn't coming back to Thailand any time soon. Maybe take what you can get from people have been here for a year or so already and caused no problems.

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14 hours ago, AussieBob said:

Quote:  "A number of people have told me that their local Immigration office refused to extend their covid-stamp saying that it is time for them to go home. This isn’t a national policy and many people are still getting 60-day extension of stays.

I would suspect that those having been refused a further 60 day Covid extension is due to the fact they have attempted to apply to early.

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I'd rather wait for an official announcement rather than speculation.

Currently Australians I believe would have problems returning as Australia has a quota for returning nationals.

Many have managed to remain in Thailand surviving on their monthly state pensions, but with Thailand on the red list of so many Countries, returning home and forced expensive hotel quarantine just isn't a viable option on a limited monthly pension.

What of those with Thai family/spouse who previously held the Non Imm O ME Visa obtained locally at the Thai Consulate, Lao, who due to closed borders haven't been able to renew their Visas and have only been allowed to stay by virtue of the 60 Day Covid extensions.

For those who can't meet the financial requirements to extend their stay for a further year based on retirement or Thai family/spouse, such a last minute move by the Thai Government to suddenly end the 60 day Covid extensions whilst borders are still closed and without due warning, would be a jackpot 'lotto' for the agents.

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7 hours ago, Faz said:

I would suspect that those having been refused a further 60 day Covid extension is due to the fact they have attempted to apply to early.

Could be, or they went in to ask will they be extended.  Either way, I think they might not extend it this time, so for people staying there, it might be a good idea to at least think about what other options they have going forward - maybe talk to an Agent?. 

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17 hours ago, Metaluna said:

Why not allow the Covid extensions to continue? Thailand wants money coming. Those people getting the 60 day extensions do that.  These are still exceptional times for people returning to their own countries and for Thailand's economy. Large scale tourism isn't coming back to Thailand any time soon. Maybe take what you can get from people have been here for a year or so already and caused no problems.

Too logical - that wont happen. They will decide time is up and refuse to extend again despite logic, or they will think about all the negative international publicity and decide to extend. As Fax says - it is speculation, but Richard has been right before (and wrong). At least think about things and have a Plan B is my advice. If anyone is in that situation and waits until all the panic happens, then they will be worse off than if they did a little planning and got some advice. Forewarned is Forearmed.  

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18 hours ago, Metaluna said:

Why not allow the Covid extensions to continue? Thailand wants money coming. Those people getting the 60 day extensions do that.  These are still exceptional times for people returning to their own countries and for Thailand's economy. Large scale tourism isn't coming back to Thailand any time soon. Maybe take what you can get from people have been here for a year or so already and caused no problems.

In 2020 during the first 6 months that border-restrictions were imposed, Thai Immigration made it very difficult for those at the end of their permission to stay to extend that stay.  And in the usual Thai chaotic way, there was no nation-wide consistency in the requirements imposed by local Immigration Offices for extending your stay and those requirements differed widely depending on where you applied.  As a result they actually chased out many foreigners that wanted to stay longer (e.g. the ones that made use of the ME Non Imm O Visa and had to make 3-monthly border-runs).   All this, while the TAT. alarmed by the falling tourist entries, started launching campaigns to attract tourists (all foreigners are 'tourists' for TAT even if their intent is long-term stay).

It dawned very slowly on the always inward-looking Thai Immigration officials that very little new tourists/long-term stayers were coming in, and when finally that penny had dropped - maybe with some pressure from TAT and the cabinet - they introduced the 60-day covid-extension option.  In the beginning they even imposed some impossible administrative burdens on getting that one (they never learn), but most probably Imm Office 'management' interfered and had to re-educate the local 'be tough on foreigners' Imm Offices to be more welcoming. I even remember end 2020 the nation-wide Thai Imm Office chief visited local offices to personally bring a 'Be Nice to Foreigners' message.

Bottom line is indeed that with large scale tourism not coming back anytime soon, in spite of all the Grand Initiatives to attract tourists/long-term stayers (but sabotaged by their now ever-changing 'requirements' for those tourists showing an interest), it would be utter stupidity to end the current 60-day covid-extension option.  That would force  all those making use of that option to exit Thailand, and with current border restrictions and quarantaine rules it is doubtful that they simply would come back on a 'legit' Visa.  So imo - and if Immigration has any sense in its bureaucratic body -  they will prolonge that 60-day covid-extension option until border and quarantaine restrictions are eased (i.e. allowing a quick same day border-run with minimal hassle).

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1 hour ago, AussieBob said:

Could be, or they went in to ask will they be extended. 

From the experiences I've previously read, Immigration offices wouldn't grant a further 60 day extension until the last 14, 7 or in the case of Bangkok 3 days before your existing permission of stay was due to expire.

Hence if they weren't within the window, Immigration refused the extension applications for that reason.

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Non Imm O ME visa

20 hours ago, ThailandRyan said:

Not true, as I have many friends who live in Udon Thani, and every few months prior to Covid, they were on a Non Imm O ME visa,

Yes, they had a visa.  Not really a "border run", now.

If you didn't have a visa, then you would have to be out of the country for 24 hours, and they reduced the stay from 30 to 15 days, only twice a year.

Completely different situations from what I described.

9 hours ago, Faz said:

I would suspect that those having been refused a further 60 day Covid extension is due to the fact they have attempted to apply too early.

Which is really counterintuitive because this last "extension" announcement encouraged foreigners to apply early to avoid lines and congestion (of course leading to Covid spreading possibilities) at immi offices.

Left hand...right hand.

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13 hours ago, Faz said:

I'd rather wait for an official announcement rather than speculation.

Currently Australians I believe would have problems returning as Australia has a quota for returning nationals.

Many have managed to remain in Thailand surviving on their monthly state pensions, but with Thailand on the red list of so many Countries, returning home and forced expensive hotel quarantine just isn't a viable option on a limited monthly pension.

What of those with Thai family/spouse who previously held the Non Imm O ME Visa obtained locally at the Thai Consulate, Lao, who due to closed borders haven't been able to renew their Visas and have only been allowed to stay by virtue of the 60 Day Covid extensions.

For those who can't meet the financial requirements to extend their stay for a further year based on retirement or Thai family/spouse, such a last minute move by the Thai Government to suddenly end the 60 day Covid extensions whilst borders are still closed and without due warning, would be a jackpot 'lotto' for the agents.

I just read in today's Guardian that there are currently around 32,000 New Zealanders who wish to return home on a waiting list for the limited number of quarantine places available.

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Many have the view that if someone uses a Non O ME visa it must be that they cannot meet the financial requirements for an extension of stay on the basis of marriage.

That is not always the case.  I spent twenty years here without ever applying for an extension of stay in country.  I have ample funds to apply in country on the basis of marriage or, now that I am eligible, on the basis of retirement but I chose not to do.

The main reason why is because I consider the documentary and other requirements to apply in country on the basis of marriage incredibly burdensome.  By contrast the process for obtaining a Non O ME is much simpler and involves a lot fewer documents.  In every case there is a clear and rational basis for the documents they request for a Non Imm O marriage visa abroad whereas by contrast some of the things they ask for in country are, in my view irrelevant and/or unreasonably intrusive.  I also quite like the trips outside Thailand every 90 days.

But why not a retirement visa some will ask.  The documentary requirements are much simpler.  The reason I do not do that is because I would prefer to retire in my home country whereas my wife would prefer to retire here.  If, in time, she came round to my view I believe that liberating money from Thailand would be a challenge.  Why therefore throw another 800K into the pot only to have problems repatriating it.  We don't actually need the 800K to live on as we generate sufficient income in Thailand. 

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2 hours ago, Changnam43 said:

Many have the view that if someone uses a Non O ME visa it must be that they cannot meet the financial requirements for an extension of stay on the basis of marriage.

That is not always the case.  I spent twenty years here without ever applying for an extension of stay in country.  I have ample funds to apply in country on the basis of marriage or, now that I am eligible, on the basis of retirement but I chose not to do.

The main reason why is because I consider the documentary and other requirements to apply in country on the basis of marriage incredibly burdensome.  By contrast the process for obtaining a Non O ME is much simpler and involves a lot fewer documents.  In every case there is a clear and rational basis for the documents they request for a Non Imm O marriage visa abroad whereas by contrast some of the things they ask for in country are, in my view irrelevant and/or unreasonably intrusive.  I also quite like the trips outside Thailand every 90 days.

But why not a retirement visa some will ask.  The documentary requirements are much simpler.  The reason I do not do that is because I would prefer to retire in my home country whereas my wife would prefer to retire here.  If, in time, she came round to my view I believe that liberating money from Thailand would be a challenge.  Why therefore throw another 800K into the pot only to have problems repatriating it.  We don't actually need the 800K to live on as we generate sufficient income in Thailand. 

You are dead right. Bloke I know got a Non-O Marriage while here in Australia and it was fairly easy and certainly very clear what was needed. When it came to the annual 12 month extension when he moved to Thailand, it was far more complicated - and as clear as mud. Did what one IO said, and when he went back there was more to do. He basically had to re-apply to stay in the country another 12 months, even though he had previously passed all the requirements when in Australia - and it was approved in Australia quicker than in Thailand.  

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I think it depends on how well organised you are and of course having your own printer saves time.

The majority of document copies you need are all in your Passport. I take multiple copies of each once in a blue moon, then the following year all I need is an updated Kor Ror 2 and updated Passbook/Bank statement. The most annoying aspect I find is the repetitiveness of supplying the same document copies over and over again each year, just a total waste of paper in this computerised age.

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12 hours ago, Faz said:

Andrew Barrow appears to have been misinformed.

Thanks Faz - good news.  Richard Barrow actually, but all good we all know who you meant 🙂

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