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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawThailand Immigration LawEmbassy Letters for Thai Visas: "Demonstrably Genuine Grounds"

Embassy Letters for Thai Visas: "Demonstrably Genuine Grounds"

Transcript of the above video:


As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing post Amnesty Embassy letters to go ahead and obtain Ad Hoc 30 day stamps for Thai Visa status once the Amnesty ends. 

I have done a number of videos on this topic already. For those who are unaware of those videos, check out our channel; they are basically the videos that immediately precede this one in our feed.

The thing I want folks to take away from this is, it is A) not a foregone conclusion that 30-day stamps are just going to be easily issued once this Amnesty comes to an end. As a general rule, if you wish to maintain long-term status in Thailand following the end of the Amnesty, the best course of action is to go ahead and get into long-term status before the Amnesty ends. We are talking about getting you into some sort of long term category, Non-immigrant category in order to sustain your lawful status past the end of the Amnesty. 

Two recent announcements or pieces of information caught my eye on this topic. The first one came from Thai Examiner, that is and the article is titled: Visa Amnesty to End with 30-day Extensions on Application as the Focus Moves to Long-stay Visa Holders.

This is quite a long article. It is very exhaustive; lot of information. Tip of the hat to Thai Examiner. You folks do a lot of great work up there. I am just going to quote a little bit of this and it specifically pertains to Embassy letters. So one quote:  "New 30-day extensions already approved by the Cabinet but must be applied for on each occasion." So what they are talking about there and we have gone into this in other videos, is that you need to affirmatively seek a Visa and there may be medical grounds for doing so and in that case medical documentation needs to be provided. 

There are also Embassy letters which can be obtained but the Embassy at first was not doing that. I will get into that in a minute or they said they weren't going to be doing it and now it looks like that may be possible but it needs to be noted that it seems that these letters, you are going to have to show cause for getting one it looks to me like. And the Thai Examiner kind of parses this out. Quoting further: "Western Embassies are providing these letters to their nationals but only on valid grounds." Quoting directly: "In recent weeks, all the main Embassies for Western visitors in Thailand have indicated that such letters will now be available. This reverses an earlier position for some. An application for them can be made to the US, UK and Australian Embassies among others online," and this is important, "However such a letter must be on the basis that the applicant cannot procure a flight home or cannot return home on “demonstrably genuine grounds."  I thought that was an interesting turn of phrase by the Thai Examiner. I think it is a well-stated turn of phrase as it shows the gravity on which one needs to look at the way in which these Embassy letters are going to be issued. 

I think presuming that long-term status can be maintained in 30 day increments into the foreseeable future is an unwise move because, okay maybe one 30 day stamp, if you say “I couldn't get a flight home” and you can kind of show it was difficult maybe. As time goes on, that argument is going to stretch pretty thin and I don't think it is wise to presume that you can do that.

Quoting directly from a Frequently Asked Questions posting on the US Embassy website posted 27 August, 202, the question is: "What is the status on the Royal Thai Government's Visa Amnesty?" and there is a lot in here. It is pretty dense. I urge you to go look at that directly, you can Google it but I want to quote this directly: "Visa extension letters from the US Embassy are not required to remain in Thailand between now and September 26th.” so that is the standard Amnesty. Quoting further: “After that date, normal 30-day extensions may be, "may be" available for individuals who can demonstrate "compelling reasons" for not being able to depart Thailand. Those decisions will be made by Royal Thai Immigration Officers on a case by case basis. Please note the Royal Thai Government is under no obligation to extend short-term visas and may end the practice at any time”. So again, I am just trying to convey the gravity of this and the urgency. It is not a foregone conclusion that 30-day Visa stamps are going to be issued in every case and it is certainly not a foregone conclusion that they are going to be continued to be issued on a prolonged basis.  

Those folks who are currently looking at this situation trying to size up their options, if you have an option of normalizing your status before the end of the Amnesty, I urge you to do that as not doing it puts you in a very precarious situation after the Amnesty comes to an end.