The confirmation came today as the Immigration Office in Phuket Town was flooded with foreigners seeking to extend their stay in the country, ahead of the amnesty ending on Saturday.
The queue to enter the Immigration Office spilled out to the area set up in front of the main building, with officers stationed there to process applications instead of overcrowding the office inside.
Meanwhile, the queue of cars lined up in the Drive Thru backed up to the street while officers worked as quickly as they could to process all applications filed.
Some of the foreigners said they had arrived at the office in the morning, and were still there at 3pm this afternoon. However, one foreigner explained that filing his application had been delayed because he forgot some of the documents required.
Any foreigners whose permits-to-stay remain expired from Sunday onwards will incur the standard penalties of B500 a day fine. Also, any foreigners caught overstaying in the country by more than 90 days may face being blacklisted.
Pol Col Pakpong Sai-ubol, deputy spokesman of the Immigration Bureau, has warned, “Overstaying the tourist visa is punishable by both a jail term and fine under the Immigration Act.”
Col Pakpong also warned out that more than 150,000 foreign nationals still needed to have their tourist visas renewed by Sept 26 or face a charge of overstaying.
Phuket Immigration Deputy Chief Lt Col Udom Thongchin told The Phuket News today,
“With five days left to extend their visa, according to our records there are in total 1,641 foreigners on tourist or long-stay visas who still have not come to our office to extend their visa.”
Lt Col Udom pointed out that many foreigners have left it to the last few days before coming to the Immigration office to extend their visas.
“Since last week, we have been processing about 190 applications a day,” he said.
“The final day for submitting applications [before the penalties come into effect] is this Saturday (Sept 26),” he said.
“So this Saturday, we will open our office to serve foreigners at 8:30am in the morning and we will stay open to process all applications submitted on that day, even if we have to work until midnight,” he said.
“But after Sept 26, foreigners will be fined B500 a day if their visa has not been extended,” he warned.
“Honestly, we do not want to charge them, but we must follow the law. Please come to have your visa extended on time,” he urged.
Another Immigration officer The Phuket News spoke with strongly urged foreigners to make sure they bring all the documents required in order for their application to be extended.
“Today there are a lot of foreigners here to extend their visas. Many of them did not have some of the documents needed, which made it slower to process their applications and issue their extensions to stay.
“If people have all the correct documents, it will help us to work faster and better,” the officer added.