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Confirmed: Embassy letters needed for Immigration ’visa extension’

Confirmed: Embassy letters needed for Immigration ’visa extension’

PHUKET: The Immigration Bureau has confirmed that letters from embassies are needed for short-term visa holders to be granted a 30-day extension to stay under the ‘visa amnesty’ granted by Cabinet on Tuesday.

By The Phuket News

Saturday 25 July 2020, 10:44AM

Clarification: The "automatic visa extension" continues until Sept 26. In order for short-term visa holders to remain in Thailand after that date, they must apply for an extension to stay before Sept 26. For that, they must have a letter from their embassy or a letter from a doctor (in case illness is preventing travel). The 30-day extension, if granted, will become effective from Sept 27.

The Cabinet approved the automatic visa extension for all visa types, previously set to expire on July 31, to be extended until Sept 26. 

A draft copy of the proposal for the visa extension request, which was reported as approved in full, was posted on the main Immigration Bureau website on Wednesday.

“This means that foreigners whose visas had expired as from 26 March 2020 will be permitted to stay until 26 September 2020 without having to apply for an extension,” the Immigration Bureau announcement explained. 

However, the announcement was removed later that day, and now has been replaced by a new announcement explaining clearly that all short-term visa holders who wish to remain in Thailand after Sept 26 due to a lack of flights or other circumstances preventing them from returning home due to the COVID-19 pandemic must present a letter from their embassy in order to be granted an extension to stay after that date.

According to the announcement posted late yesterday, “Short-term visa holders. (TR, TS, VOA) and those granted a visa exemption have to prepare for departing the Kingdom within September 26, 2020.

1.1 In case of illness

- Bring a medical certificate to contact a local immigration office

1.2 In case of having other obstacles such as no flights or having an outbreak situation

- Contact an embassy or consulate for issuing a letter of confirmation and request for a temporary stay and bring it to contact a local immigration office.”


Each permission shall be granted no more than 30 days, the announcement said clearly.

The US Embassy in Bangkok had previously posted a public notice, marked in bold, that it would not be issuing such letters. That notice has now been removed. A public statement confirming whether or not the embassy will now be issuing such letters has yet to be posted.

Australian Ambassador to Thailand Allan McKinnon last week confirmed that the Australian Embassy in Bangkok is now providing letters to assist Australian nationals seeking to extend their visas. At that time it was deemed a prudent precaution.

“While there has been no announcement on the future of the visa amnesty to date, we understand many people have gone to Immigration to extend their existing visas (or to convert their visas) ahead of the deadline.  Many have been informed that they require a letter from their Embassy to do this,” Matthew Barclay, Australian Consul-General to Phuket, told The Phuket News last Friday (July 17).

“It is our intent to ensure that we are not an obstacle in this process.  As a result, we will be issuing letters (at no fee and via email) to those Australians who send their passport biodata page to Consular.Bangkok@dfat.gov.au. People should expect a reply within one to two working days,” he added.

As always, anyone with queries about their visa circumstances should direct these to Thai Immigration, Mr Barclay advised.

Meanwhile, the Immigration Bureau announcement posted late yesterday confirmed that all long-term visa holders whose permits to stay expired after Mar 26 also must submit an application for an extension to stay “from now until September 26, 2020”.

“All types of visa extension will be effective from September 27, 2020. In order to reduce overcrowding, please come earlier,” the announcement read.

Long-stay foreigners whose 90-day notification of residence “having a due date from March 26 to July 31, 2020” must submit 90-day notifications “from August 1-31, 2020 through specified channels”, the announcement added.

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thomas201 | 17 August 2020 - 09:01:08

Has anyone received this letter from the US embassy? I'm planning on working for a school and need a 30 day extension to get a non immigrant B visa.  

thomas201 | 17 August 2020 - 09:00:33

Has anyone received this letter from the US embassy? I'm planning on working for a school and need a 30 day extension to get a non immigrant B visa.  

Kurt | 26 July 2020 - 21:49:25

Letter from a Embassy to  Thai Immigration: "To whom it may concern,... Dear Sirs, our national citizen, Mr X, is as you know not able to leave Thailand due to stringent Thai Covid-19 rules about international travelling. Do further legalise his stay. Why a letter of us is needed to confirm that, all info is in passport Mr X, we don't understand, but ok, here it is. Sincerely Yours.."...

LALALA | 26 July 2020 - 18:35:57

maverik..the article is missleading.. look at picture 2 attached to the article.. PN simply not mentioned the whole content of the announcement in the article itself

Kurt | 26 July 2020 - 09:18:53

So, the foreigner came with visa to Thailand, got a automatic extension, and now till 26 Sept needs a 30 day visa prolongation. All fine.  But I not understand that Embassy letter thing. What has to be the contents of that email letter? For what? All needed info, including a thai visa stamp are in the passport.  

Kurt | 26 July 2020 - 00:05:42

Can imagine many foreign short stay visa holders who already over stayed 'by force majeure', much longer than wanted, not look for visa extension but just want a possible departure by flight, as borders over land are still closed.  So?

Christy Sweet | 25 July 2020 - 18:35:36

"Because of outbreak.."  Yes so give Americans amnesty please as the country appears to be  a death trap and next week I will be in the "higher risk age group" from CoV-19

maverick | 25 July 2020 - 17:18:48

Lalala@ incorrect it’s now changed read the article carefully seems to be a moving target and the changes make sense 

wakeup999 | 25 July 2020 - 16:38:07

While I find the brief summary of this article a bit confusing choice of words, it is clear that Thai Authorities are saying no more amnesty or free visa extension after this...just prepare your papers before September 26 if you want to continue your Thai dream. 

I just wonder why on the 26 and not 30 ???

maverick | 25 July 2020 - 13:39:31

This is because many Europeans and US citizens were hoping for an extended holiday - there are a number of flights out of Bangkok to Europe and flights to US via DOH - which is why US, UK and European embassies will not provide letters. Aussies and Kiwis on the other hand will , as presumably will a number of Asian countries. It will be complicated for Europeans who need to get to Vietnam etc etc 

LALALA | 25 July 2020 - 13:29:11

very clear, if you stay till 26.09 you need nothing, if you want to stay longer you need a letter from your embassy and you get an extension for 30 days beginning from 27.09. What is so difficult with this I do not understand.

Pu Li | 25 July 2020 - 13:06:06

It is what it is. It was never going to be straightforward.

Nasa12 | 25 July 2020 - 12:15:32

And the price for this in immigration free or 1900 bath. 

CaptainJack69 | 25 July 2020 - 11:58:11

But it's still not clear if these letters have to be the 'originals' immigration were insisting on previously. Under that condition the Australian e-mail solution would not be accepted being as they haven't been signed by an ambassador or local consul.

CaptainJack69 | 25 July 2020 - 11:54:29

Ok, at least someone has had the brains to work out that everyone was going to be going to immigration on the same day. 'All extensions will be dated from...', 'please go early to avoid crowding...'. Good.

CaptainJack69 | 25 July 2020 - 11:47:08

Why is a letter from a foreign power needed to explain to a Thai authority that another Thai authority has closed Thai borders? 
Well, if you want things to make sense you're in the wrong country. Hey, 'if you don't like it you can always leave...' right?


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