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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawThailand Immigration LawExtension of Thai Visa Amnesty: Embassy Letter Issues

Extension of Thai Visa Amnesty: Embassy Letter Issues

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing the Thai Visa Amnesty associated with COVID-19 or Coronavirus and the outbreak and the fallout from all of that. We have many videos on this channel talking about that.

There has been an extension of that Amnesty. That Amnesty will take people out to July of 2020 without need to worry about extending their visas. However, as we talked about on this channel, there is some nuance to this. There are a few caveats associated with this whole thing most notably for those whose Visas expired prior to March 26th.  March 26, 2020 is a red-letter day with respect to the COVID-19 amnesty because those whose Visa expired before that date do not fall into the window under which the amnesty was initially granted as well as extended. For folks who were dealing with that between the 1st of March and the end of March, there was a procedure that was kind of ad hoc but Thai immigration came out and said "look, if you can get a letter from your Embassy asking us to extend your status, we will take that under advisement", and in pretty much every situation, I saw that was taken under advisement and they went ahead and extended people's status based on that. When this amnesty came out it created something of an interpretive difference I should say. These folks were distinguished from folks who for lack of a better term "naturally expired" during the window. So there are folks that if you came in on a 30-day stamp and you came in March 15, your expiration date was April 15th, you couldn't get back out of the country, you automatically were in amnesty. You got an automatic extension to 30th April initially and pursuant to this subsequent announcement you are now extended out to July of 2020. 

Folks who would have come in earlier than that and had their visas expire let's say March 25th, had to deal with getting an Embassy letter. We are going to go ahead and put this up on the screen, my staff found this online somewhere. This is an example of one of these stamps. We dealt with some clients that had these but my staff found this online so I have got the graphic. We can just throw that up there okay. So the first thing to understand is when these visas were taken in by the Embassy, they were granted this "under consideration" stamp. This is not unlike what it is like to extend for example extension of a Thai Business Visa. So you get this initial stamp that says "under consideration" and then they will put a date and it says you have to come back. Then, once back it says "Extension of Stay Permitted to..." and then another date. If your second date falls in the amnesty period, it appears that you are subject to the amnesty and you keep rolling with it. If you have only got this initial "under consideration" stamp and you didn't get yourself sorted out, you need to go down to Immigration and get that sorted out, get that stamp so you are clearly in the amnesty. In some cases they are taking the position that those people don't fall under these amnesty rules. So some offices are doing things one way, some are doing them a different way because this doesn't strictly speaking fall under the letter of the Amnesty itself because these folks expired prior to March 26th. So if you have this status, it is probably a good idea for you to be a little bit extra vigilant and it is unfortunate. I do I feel for you. I have heard from people that called in. I have heard from people by email that have been having to deal with this; I do feel for you. It is really unfortunate that this accident of timing is causing you to have to deal with some extra work as opposed to somebody who just sort of for lack of better term again “naturally expired” during the amnesty window. It is a qualitatively different thing and I do feel for you. It really is not a fun position to be in but I am making this video. Those of you who had to deal with this stay extra vigilant, stay on top of this. Keep on top of the news. You may want to be in contact with your local Immigration Office fairly frequently to make sure that you are not doing anything that is causing you to fall out of status. 

So again, we went ahead and put that stamp up there. We will put it up there one more time. If you fall under one of these “under consideration” stamps associated with your local Embassy, I urge you to stay on top of this. Be extra assiduous in maintaining your status because you are in a little bit different position and I understand, I totally understand. It is very much a semantic position; it is very much a splitting of hairs but it is what it is. If you didn't fall into a natural expiration during the window 26 to the 30th it is unfortunate but you really do have to keep up with respect to your Visa situation.