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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawThailand Immigration LawCOVID-19: Thai Immigration Policy on Permanent Residents Stuck Abroad

COVID-19: Thai Immigration Policy on Permanent Residents Stuck Abroad

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing Permanent Residence in Thailand and we are discussing them in the context of the COVID-19 or Coronavirus outbreak. 

Coronavirus itself as of the time of this video at least, seems to not really be a major issue for now because it appears that the initiatives taken by the Thai Authorities as well as the people of Thailand to "flatten the curve" seems to be working. We are not seeing nearly the numbers with respect to infections and deaths associated with COVID-19.  

That being stated, there are considerations with respect to travel which have to be noted. Those who have Permanent Residence in Thailand are in a position, some of them, where they are stuck abroad. So many people that have Permanent Residence in Thailand are just in Thailand and as long as they don't leave Thailand they don't really have to do much of anything. It is very different from having a Non-immigrant Visa such as a Non-immigrant B Visa or Non-immigrant O Visa. The Permanent Resident who is in Thailand does not really need to keep their status up. Once their Permanent Residence is granted, they are just lawfully permanently resident in the Kingdom and will remain so, so long as they don't go abroad for a prolonged period of time thereby causing their status to be essentially revoked or to extinguish. Those who are in Thailand with Permanent Residence who wish to forestall having their residence revoked, have to get an Immigrant Visa prior to leaving the country and those folks need to return once a year to get a new Immigrant Visa in order to maintain their status. So in a sense, current regulations place a burden on those folks to re-enter Thailand,   touch Thai soil once a year, get a new Immigrant Visa, leave, and that must be done in order to maintain their status.

COVID-19 has created a lot of unprecedented problems, not least of which are being experienced by folks who have residence in Thailand but got stuck abroad and cannot return to Thailand for whatever reason as a result of COVID-19; and one reason is Thailand has basically put a lot of restrictions on any inbound flights, any inbound Immigration to Thailand and it is even having an impact on Thai citizens. 

A recent announcement from Thai Immigration, the Immigration Bureau, I am going to go ahead and put this on screen. The notification is titled: Notification of the Ministry of Interior Re: Special permission for some classes of aliens to stay in the Kingdom dated April 7, 2020. Quoting directly and this is relevant part for this video: "Aliens who are permitted to have residency in the Kingdom and make an evidence of notification for leaving the Kingdom in order to re-enter within one year, the duration of return has been extended for longer than one year. When the situation is resolved, the aliens must return within the period specified by the Immigration Bureau."  So basically, a special dispensation has been made with respect to those who are stuck abroad and even if their Immigrant Visa times out during this period, I urge those watching this video who this pertains to, be very assiduous in keeping an eye on this; be very vigilant in keeping an eye on Thai Immigration. We will try to do videos in a timely manner on this topic but if you return within the window that immigration will probably prospectively give, if you return within that window notwithstanding the fact your Immigrant Visa may have expired, if you can show evidence of that Immigrant Visa upon your re-entry, it appears you will be readmitted with your Residence intact. So this amnesty extends to immigrants in Thailand as well as to tourists in Thailand. As I have done videos on his channel previously non- immigrants probably aren't exactly covered by the Amnesty directly but this is for Permanent Residents only. Those of you who are watching this that are Permanent Residents stuck outside of Thailand seeing the time tick by on your immigrant Visa, don't fret. Immigration has taken this into account but be vigilant and be watchful of the policy shifts and when things reopen here, it is a good idea to get back here in a timely manner in order to maintain Permanent Residency moving forward.