The confirmation came today after a reader of The Phuket News confirmed that on having an application successfully accepted by Phuket Immigration on Monday (Sept 21), the immigration officer stamped an extension to stay until only Oct 5 – an extension of only 15 days.
Under the current ‘visa amnesty’, which is set to expire this Saturday (Sept 26), the Immigration Bureau in Bangkok has announced "No matter when you came to extend your visa, the permission date of all visa types will start counting from September 27, 2020.”
Lt Col Udom today repeated that this does apply to extensions being granted through Phuket Immigration – regardless of the date stamped in the passport.
“The stamp in the passport is to indicate when the foreigner is to return to the Phuket Immigration Office in order to have the 30-day extension approved,” Lt Col Udom told The Phuket News today.
“All applications that have been successfully accepted will be granted an extra 30 days’ stay, and the extension will start from Sept 27,” he said.
Lt Col Udom said that Phuket Immigration is not empowered to issue any extensions to permits-to-stay at this time. Instead, applications must be forwarded to the Immigration Bureau regional headquarters in Hat Yai, Songkhla province.
“This is due to clear instructions we have received from Bangkok,” he said.
“We have no choice in the matter,” he added.
Lt Col Udom also confirmed that any “visa extensions” granted during the visa amnesty would come into effect from Sunday (Sept 27), in line with the announcement made by the Immigration Bureau headquarters in Bangkok.
"No matter when you came to extend your visa, the permission date of all visa types will start counting from September 27, 2020,” he said, repeating the announcement from Bangkok.
Lt Col Udom also confirmed that the visa extensions coming into effect on Sept 27 did apply to all visa types.
“This includes all one-year extensions for non-immigrant visas issued during the amnesty for visas such as a Business visa, Education visa, Non-imm O visa and Retirement visa,” he said.
However, Lt Col Udom expressed his concerns about this policy decision. “I am seriously concerned that come Sept 27 next year, all the one-year permits to stay will expire on the same date, and possibly cause another big rush on applications from foreigners to extend their one-year permits to stay all at the same time,” he said.
Likewise, he has similar concerns about all 30-day extensions granted coming into effect on Sunday, meaning that all 30-day extensions granted will also all expire on the same day 30 days later – Oct 27.
However, 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 also warned that offenders would also be deported to their countries of origin.
The main Phuket Immigration Office in Phuket Town has this week been overwhelmed with foreigners applying to extend their stays in Thailand.
Lt Col Udom noted on Monday that the Phuket Immigration Office is currently processing some 190 applications a day.
In order to help cope with the workload, Phuket Immirgation officers are starting work early, he said.
Also, the Phuket Immigration Office in Phuket Town will be open all day Saturday (Sept 26) in order to process any “last-minute” applications, he added.
"If anyone has a problem in applying for an extension, or understanding the process of them being issued an extension to stay, please come to the Phuket Immigration Office so we can explain," he said
Phuket Immigration Deputy Chief Col Nareuwat Putthawiro last week confirmed that any foreigners staying on tourist visas will be granted 30 days’ extension, but they must present a letter from their home country’s embassy supporting their application.
Immigration Bureau Deputy Commander Maj Gen Pornchai Khuntee also confirmed at a press conference in Bangkok early this month that such tourists still staying in the country will be able to apply for repeated extensions to stay, without any limit on the number of extensions granted.