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Coronavirus (COVID-19) & Visa Runs to a Thai Embassy or Consulate

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing Visa Runs and I make a distinction between Visa Runs and Border Runs.  A Visa Run in my opinion is basically usually a plane ride; getting on a plane, leaving Thailand, going to a Thai Embassy or Consulate outside of Thailand, getting a Visa and returning to Thailand. 

So a couple of things with respect to this.  Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has had a substantial impact in recent days with respect to Thai Immigration policy.  Nationals from certain countries, and I will go ahead and read the list, currently their privileges for visas on arrival or Visa exemption stamps have been suspended: nationals from Bulgaria, Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, Georgia, India, Kazakhstan, Malta, Mexico, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Uzbekistan and Vanuatu will no longer be able to get visas-on-arrival to Thailand. Meanwhile, Visa exemptions will be canceled for South Korea, Italy and Hong Kong. So people  with those passports can't just get on a plane without a Visa, arrive in Thailand and be given a 30-day stamp-on-arrival just by dint of their nationality which usually stems from some sort of bilateral or unilateral relationship benefit the Thailand grants to those Nationals. 

So what should we take away from this?  Well we are specifically talking about Visa runs and these are applications at a Thai Embassy or Consulate outside of Thailand and a couple of things to bear in mind is first of all that may be possible. Visas-on-arrival and Visa exemption stamps are a different animal from visas themselves. So presently visas are still available for these nationals but it remains to be seen exactly how the applications for those visas are going to be adjudicated. Some interesting information, in a recent announcement from the Thai Consulate General in Penang, Malaysia. Quoting directly: "Starting from March 9th 2020, passport holders of the following countries need to provide a medical certificate together with a visa application form: French Republic, Federal Republic of Germany, Italian Republic, Kingdom of Spain, Islamic Republic of Iran, People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Republic of Korea and Republic of Singapore.” So folks that are Nationals of any of those countries, if they are applying for a Thai Visa specifically at the Thai Consulate in Penang, need to go ahead and obtain some sort of medical certificate in order to have their visa approved. Now I think that they are going to be wider ramifications for this. I think we are going to see medical certificates at least in the foreseeable future being required for a lot of nationals of foreign countries so be prepared that the Thai Visa application process may be a more lengthy and more document intensive undertaking when compared to applications submitted in times past.