The news was delivered in a message sent directly to The Phuket News in Thai saying: “As COVID-19 is still causing harm and there are many infections around the world, more than 30 million cases, some foreigners have to stay in Thailand, and cannot travel out of the Kingdom of Thailand to go back to their home countries – and they cannot follow Section 35 and Section 37 (5) of the Immiragtion Act 2522 and other related laws [legally extending their permits to stay] before Sept 26 this year…
“So it has been agreed to announce that the Interior Ministry is to use Section 17 of the Immigration Act 2522 to extend the time [for foreigners to] follow Section 35 and 37(5) by allowing them to stay as a special case from Sept 27 to Oct 31. Foreigners who are not able to travel out [of Thailand] and intended to stay after Oct 31 can go to ask for an extension at immirgation for their permits to stay to expire Oct 31.”
Bernhard Stoever, a German long-stay tourist staying in Phuket who published an open letter to the Royal Thai Government on behalf of all tourists still stuck in Thailand, also received a message directly from the Prime Minister’s Office, saying: “Hi, Good news, the government just announced today that foreigners holding tourist visa who wishes to stay can do so until October 31. For those who would like to stay longer than October they can file for visa extension with immigration and do so before Oct. 31 So, good luck.”
Phuket Immigration Deputy Chief Lt Col Udom Thongchin this afternoon told The Phuket News that he was aware that the Immigration Bureau had requested that the ‘visa amnesty’ be extended through to Oct 31.
However, he added that he had yet to hear confirmation that the extension had been approved.
“We are waiting to hear that the Prime Minister has approved the extension. That was supposed to happen by 4:30pm today,” he said.
Lt Col Udom admitted that he had yet to be informed exactly what happens with all the extensions already approved.
“Foreigners who have applied for an extension but have yet to have the full extension stamped in their passport will be stamped to stay until Oct 31,” he said.
As for foreigners who already had stamps in their passport for 30 days from Sept 27, as per the previous amnesty, Lt Col Udom said he had yet to be informed what to do with such cases.
However he added, “They, too, of course will be allowed to stay until Oct 31,” he said.
Asked how he felt about his officers being overworked for weeks making sure foreigners’ applications to extend their permits to stay were being accepted before the Sept 26 deadline expired, to only now have all their hard work rendered pointless by a single decision in Bangkok, Lt Col Udom said, “What else can I do? This is Thailand.”