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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawThailand Immigration LawDoes the Thai Visa Amnesty Actually End Later?

Does the Thai Visa Amnesty Actually End Later?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing the Thai Visa Amnesty. 

I have had a question from a number of folks which is "Doesn't the Thai Visa Amnesty effectively end on Monday the 28th and not Saturday the 26th?" and the folks that are asking me this, it is a rather sophisticated question candidly.

Generally speaking, if you have a Visa in Thailand that expires on a certain date and that date happens to fall on a day where Immigration is closed, now that could be for a weekend for example a Saturday or a Sunday, or it could be a National holiday. In that event they go ahead and allow sort of a grace period to the following business day whenever that would be, to allow you to go ahead and rectify your status or deal with whatever you need to deal with.  So in point of fact, under standard circumstances, if your Visa was to expire as the Amnesty is set to expire this coming Saturday as at the time of this video, then if you had a Visa you could rectify that on the following Monday.

Here is where I see a difference. We have tried to do some research on this and I haven't gotten the clearest of answers but based on our experience, our experts here at the firm and myself and I have been dealing with Thai Immigration on a very personal level as well as a professional level, at a very deep level for some years now, this is my surmise of this whole thing. If you had a Visa that was ending or Visa status, let's be clear; a stamp of some sort with the date on it of September 26th, then yes you could presume that Monday the 28th would be the date at which you would be able to still deal with your Visa issues before being considered in overstay. But as we have discussed on this channel at length in a couple of different videos I have made over the past months, Amnesty is not a Visa. Amnesty is simply a forbearance of applying penalties associated with being in overstay. It is not in and of itself a Visa status per se. Now you are considered not illegal if you will until the Amnesty expires and extinguishes but it is not in my opinion prudent to presume that you will sort of hold over to this coming Monday and be able to deal with something on that day. I do not think that is a prudent course of action. There may be some factual scenarios wherein there may be a set of circumstances where one individual due to they were trying to get something done for example on a Friday, they had some sort of Visa status conferred temporarily and they were able to deal with it the forthcoming Monday notwithstanding the fact that the Amnesty technically ended, but I do not think that treating Amnesty for purposes of the end of the Amnesty the way you would treat expiration of a Visa is a wise or prudent course of action because an Amnesty is not technically speaking a Visa. Again, the way that I read it, it is a forbearance of applying the penalties associated with a Visa. 

So if you have currently not gotten into Visa status as of the time of this video during the week leading up to September 26th, I urge you to do it on or before the 25th because presuming that it will somehow hold over, I do not think is a wise presumption at this time.