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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawThailand Immigration LawAre Thai Visa Runs Now Impossible Due to COVID-19?

Are Thai Visa Runs Now Impossible Due to COVID-19?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing COVID-19 yet again, or Coronavirus and we are specifically discussing it in the context of Visa Runs. 

Now I make a distinction between border runs and visa runs. For this video we are going to kind of conflate the two but generally speaking when I say Visa Run I mean a run to a Thai Embassy or Consulate outside of Thailand to get a new actual visa in order to run back into Thailand and take up one's lawful status that that Visa provides. This is somewhat different from a border run. A border run generally is when one runs across the border just to be stamped out then stamped back in. You see that often in the context for example of a 1-year Non-immigrant multiple-entry B Visa or a 1-year Non-immigrant multiple entry O Visa usually based on marriage and it is where people they either have those kinds of visas or perhaps they are on a 30-day stamp or a multiple-entry Tourist Visa and they are simply running cross the border going out and being stamped back in in order to maintain lawful status here in the Kingdom. 

The point of this video is to provide some updated information on where I think things stand currently with respect to the ability to even do this. So let me start with this. A as far as a Visa Run goes I think in Southeast Asia is it is effectively going to be, I hesitate to say impossible but I think that is the correct term. I think it is going to be pretty much effectively impossible for at least the next two weeks maybe a little bit longer, to actually get a new visa issued at a Thai Embassy and then get back into Thailand and by that I mean getting it done rather quickly. People are used to being able to do this in a matter of 4-5 working days. You get on a plane you run to the place you are going to get your visa for example Cambodia. We will use Cambodia as an example but Laos works just as well. So they get on a plane, they go over to Cambodia, they go to the Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh, they apply for a Visa there. They wait a day or two to get the visa back, get back on a plane come back to Thailand.

Well there are a lot of roadblocks in that path now that did not exist even a week ago. So one of the big ones is there are now medical insurance and medical certificate requirements for those who are looking to maintain a Visa or get into Thailand in Visa status. It appears that these are going to be required from both the Embassy as well as the Air Carrier as well as Thai Immigration at the Port of Entry when arriving in Thailand. So all three of those things.

The other thing that is becoming an issue and we are going to do a specific videos on these topics as well but it appears and I am going to quote directly from a recent article from the Bangkok Post, bangkokpost.com, the article is titled: More Border Closures in Fight Against Virus. Quoting directly: "The Interior Ministry has ordered most border provinces to leave only one international checkpoint open as the country tries to block arrivals to contain the Coronavirus outbreak that is causing sharp jump in cases this week."  Quoting further:  "General Anupong has given the Governors full authority to seal off their provinces by shutting all checkpoints if they consider the COVID-19 situation has worsened in their area." Just one more quote specific to Cambodia and I thought was sort of pertinent. Quoting directly: "Only the Aranyaprathet checkpoint will remain open to connect the country that being Thailand with Cambodia.” So as a practical matter the Visa Run any border run have become all but impossible. I would say it is theoretically possible. It appears that there is are single border crossings remaining open and it looks like local nationals  so Thais or Khmer along the Cambodian border;  Thais or Laos along the Laos border and perhaps Thais and Myanmar citizens along the Myanmar border, presumably Thais and Malaysians along the Malaysian border are being able to get through in any case and I think even that has been radically curtailed compared to even again a week ago.

So the thing to take away from this video yeah border runs, visa runs not really going to be possible. We have done other videos on this channel discussing overstay specifically. It appears that some sort of amnesty is in the works for the roughly 500,000 I read in one article, people who are over staying in Thailand or may go into overstay while this Coronavirus issue is upon us; while we are dealing with this either during a shutdown phase or while the immigration borders are effectively sealed.

For the time being it looks like hunkering down is probably the best bet an especially for at least the immediately foreseeable future oh, I do not think border runs or visa runs I going to be a viable option.