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Tourists to get unlimited 30-day extensions to stay after ‘visa amnesty’ ends

Tourists to get unlimited 30-day extensions to stay after ‘visa amnesty’ ends

PHUKET: Foreigners staying in the country on any form of tourist visa will be allowed to repeatedly renew their permits to stay with immigration for periods of 30 days at a time after the ‘visa amnesty’ ends on Sept 26, the Immigration Bureau announced today (Sept 3).

immigrationtourismCOVID-19Coronaviruseconomics
By The Phuket News

Thursday 3 September 2020, 05:00PM


Immigration Deputy Commander Maj Gen Pornchai Khuntee announced the news at a press conference held at the Immigration Bureau headquarters in Bangkok todat (Sept 3). Screenshot: Immigration Bureau / Facebook

Immigration Deputy Commander Maj Gen Pornchai Khuntee announced the news at a press conference held at the Immigration Bureau headquarters in Bangkok todat (Sept 3). Screenshot: Immigration Bureau / Facebook

Immigration Deputy Commander Maj Gen Pornchai Khuntee announced the news at a press conference held at the Immigration Bureau headquarters in Bangkok, saying that the Cabinet had approved the move.

 

Gen Pornchai explained that any tourists unable to return home after Sept 26 due to illness are to apply for an extension to stay by applying at an Immigration office and presenting a medical certificate to prove they are unfit to fly.

However, those who are unable to return home due to lack of flights or other circumstances in their home country must present a letter from their home country’s embassy or consulate in Thailand requesting that the foreign be allowed to continue to temporarily stay in the Kingdom, Gen Pornchai added.

Foreigners will be granted 30 days’ stay each time, Gen Pornchai said.

However, if the tourist’s circumstances have not changed within the 30 days, they can apply for another 30 days’ stay, he added.

Gen Pornchai did not confirm whether a new letter from the foreigner’s embassy will be required with every application for an extension to stay from the same foreigner.

Gen Pornchai did warn that the visa amnesty for all visa types will end on Sept 26.

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“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,” he said.

“Please contact a local immigration office as soon as possible, in order to avoid congestion [at imigration offices] in the last few  days,” Gen Pornchai urged.

Gen Pornchai made no comments about special provisions being made for expats living and working in the country.

Many expats on long-term permits-to-stay have families in Thailand, but due to the economic crisis brought on by the government’s policies to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are not able to satisfy the Immigration Bureau’s income requirement in ordered to be approved a one-year permit-to-stay.

At this stage, such long-term expats are set to face being granted only a maximum of 90 day’s stay, after which they will be forced to leave the country.

Phuket Immigration Deputy Chief Lt Col Udom Thongchin on Tuesday (Sept 1) urged any foreigners caught out by the income requirement to delay filing their applications to renew their one-year permits-to-stay until Sept 15.

Lt Col Udom said he expected Immigration Bureau superiors in Bangkok to make an announcement by then.

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Svcoquette | 09 September 2020 - 14:07:55

Phuket Immigration office jam packed yesterday. It will only get worse as 26th Sept gets near. Why not allow the Immigration office on the Chalong pier to handle extensions? 

johannesweber | 07 September 2020 - 22:30:47

The immigration office make it hard on us expats .Every summer I return to Germany but this summer I could not because they closed the airport.We cannot make visa run to Malaysia borders re closed so when i contacted the German consulate and asked for one these letter they will not provide ,so I am suppose to fly all the  way back to Germany get O -visa $100,000 in Cov19 insurance and the fly back

Svcoquette | 05 September 2020 - 14:39:37

@FOOT,
We, and many others, are at anchor in Ao Chalong, Stocking up is no problem. Once you leave a country you cannot just anchor and hide out. As I said before Malaysia gave only a12 hr notice on March 17th that they were closing its ports. No chances to leave. We and many other yachts are stranded here.

harald | 05 September 2020 - 12:33:58

is not a unlimited 30 day extension for tourists if you put before conditions helping only a very small part of the tourists and not all at once

Foot | 05 September 2020 - 12:07:16

@Svcoquette
One last question for you that you still haven't answered.  
Why not stock up this yacht of yours and leave to find a place to anchor it?  
You could restock it by paying an island shop to bring you supplies.
OK.  No more questions.  And I am thankful you brought some attention to the ex-pat problem in Thailand.  It does seem that you had many chances to leave.
Good Luck.

Svcoquette | 04 September 2020 - 18:51:42

@Foot
We own our boat and it's our only home We sold everything many years ago when we left the USA to slowly sail around the world, 63 countries so far. So we have no way out and no where to go. Plus at our age we would not think of getting on an airplane until the virus situation improves. Thailand has done an excellent job in this regard, unfortunately most other countries have not. 

Bob1957 | 04 September 2020 - 14:58:34

But when will farang with retirement visa and having own property in phuket be allowed swift return to Thailand? People can’t be left at the back of a long waiting list of people needing to return. Retirement visa holders with own properties 1 can easily self quarantine as they did during phuket lockdown and 2 their return would bring valuable spend investment back to Thailand.  People need answ

Svcoquette | 04 September 2020 - 14:27:27

@FOOT, We own the boat. It's been our only home for many years. We left America and have visited 63 countries so far on our slow sail around the world. So leaving it is not an option. Many other cruisers here in the situation.

Foot | 04 September 2020 - 12:46:53

@Svcoquette
Why not stock up this yacht of yours and leave to find a place to anchor it?  Do you own it?  Or, are you renting?
Why not get letter from your embassy so you can stay in Thailand?
It seems you have a way out.

Christy Sweet | 04 September 2020 - 12:26:55

I doubt the US Embassy  is being difficult to force voters home, when it's easy 
 to vote absentee. I  actually vote by fax to Florida, Trump's home state.

Christy Sweet | 04 September 2020 - 12:22:27

"Hurry up and wait..," reminds me of the army. This decision about long staying expats is not due until 11 days before their  permits expire? On what planet is that reasonable? Simply grandfather everyone in for another 6 months-  why send people home when the economy is sputtering?

CaptainJack69 | 04 September 2020 - 12:17:33

What is this? They know you can get a 'doctors letter' in Thailand for just about anything for a few hundred baht. Why the farcical pretense of driving the last few tourists out? And why the crazy show of force at their press conference? Why do they need a row of guys in full SWAT gear? Who are they trying to intimidate?

Svcoquette | 04 September 2020 - 09:42:11

@FOOT, We came to Phuket in Feb, Malaysia announced the MCO the day before it went into affect, so no time for us to react. Thai Customs has extended yacht import duty deferral for an additional 6 months at no cost and a big Thai smile. I wish Immigration to do the same.

Svcoquette | 04 September 2020 - 09:25:32

@FOOT, Malaysian seaports have been closed to foreign yachts since 18TH March when the first Movement Control Order (MCO) was issued. It's been extended several times since and recently until 31 December. Crossing the Indian ocean is not safe until Feb when the NE monsoon begins. Indonesia ports are also closed. Current SW Monsoon weather not safe for ocean passages even if there was someplace...

itznac | 04 September 2020 - 00:40:12

My wife & I are waiting for permission to enter Thailand as Retirement Visa holders, which lapsed in June. We vacationed in the US & had booked to return on 21Mar, but were unable to fulfill the C19 Protocols. The Thai Consulate in LA informed us that we had to re-apply for a new Retirement Visa., to enter Thailand within 3mths.   We moved to Thailand 10yrs ago & bought a home. When ca...

Kurt | 04 September 2020 - 00:31:15

Of course a 30-day extension.
Thai Amnesty stops on 26 Sept, while international flying is still blocked till 01 October. And it take a few weeks before international airlines resume a bit flying. Considering that Thailand really starts allowing international flights touching down and taking off 01 Oct.

charles | 03 September 2020 - 21:09:01

Good luck if your on an American passport. The US embassy in Bangkok has been told not to supply anyone with a letter . Trump needs them home to cast votes for home most likely  

Galong | 03 September 2020 - 20:15:37

Thank you Thai immigration for being flexible. 

@Svcoquette Yep, Malaysia is banning everyone who isn't Malaysian, even permanent residents! Oh well, Malaysia has always been one step away from slipping back into the 16th century. I'll never step foot in their country again. 

LALALA | 03 September 2020 - 19:33:27

Useless article. This is old news and has been stipulated within the last amnesty announcement around 4 weeks ago. There is nothing new from the cabinet so far which - I agree - should announce something on the 15th, this may include all kind of visas or not. 

Foot | 03 September 2020 - 18:51:45

@Svcoquette
You have been talking of being stranded for a while.  Why didn't you go to Malaysia or other when they weren't closed the past few months?
Or, stock up this yacht of yours and leave to find a place to your liking.
Or, get letter from your embassy so you can stay in Thailand.

Svcoquette | 03 September 2020 - 17:26:37

What about all the foreign yachts that are stranded here? Malaysia seaports are closed until 31 Dec. Indonesian seaports are also closed. Is that reason enough for extensions?

 

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