Asia Business Channel

Thailand will extend all foreigner visas to late-September


After some confusion about the legal status of foreigners stuck in Thailand because of the coronavirus lockdown after July 31, Thailand’s immigration department has clarified that another automatic visa extension for all types of visas will be granted until September 26 without the need to visit an immigration office.

The automatic extension extends the government’s pandemic-induced visa amnesty to six months and means that any foreigners whose visas had expired as of March 26 – when the initial amnesty became effective – will be permitted to stay until September 26 without having to formally apply to immigration authorities for their visa extension.

However, immigration authorities in their announcement said that they expect this to be the last automatic visa extension and that the estimated 400,000 people holding short-time tourist visas of one to three months, as well as people holding non-immigrant visas, visas on arrival and previously visa-exempt foreigners will have to leave Thailand by that date.

The government’s announcement said that people who can get new visas to stay in the country after September will include foreigners married to Thai citizens or with a Thai family, as well as work permit applicants and holders, potential or actual students and the sick.

These people however, will need to present voluminous documentation to justify their demand for new visas, including letters from their embassy to verify their status, or a medical certificate and proof of medical insurance in case of illness.

In the event that a destination country remains locked for returnees, or there aren’t airline flights operating to that country, then a verification letter from the visitor’s embassy in Thailand is required. Because of the number of people stranded in the country and the amount of effort needed to process these requests, some embassies, including those of the US, Canada and the UK, have said they would not provide these letters and recommend that their citizens leave Thailand.




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