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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawThailand Immigration LawFurther Extension of Thai Visa Amnesty Apparently Conditional

Further Extension of Thai Visa Amnesty Apparently Conditional

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing the ongoing issue of the extension of the Immigration Amnesty which was created back in March 2020, March 26th of 2020. They promulgated an Amnesty which allowed anyone whose visas expired between that date and July 31 to receive an automatic waiver of any fines or any negative consequences of being in overstay during that period.

Now we have recently done a video where we have talked about this proposed grace period in which there will be this for lack of better term what appears to be a sort of a limbo period which will commence beginning August 1 and conclude presumably September 26th based on everything I am reading and basically, those who get some kind of visa status, normalize or regularize their visa status during that time period it will sort of be "no harm no foul" if you do so. It remains to be seen exactly what will happen to those who do not get their visas sorted out between August 1 and September 26th. We have yet to see the official announcement on this so we will update folks on this channel as soon as we see that but there are some clues as to how this may actually play out. 

In an article from Bangkok Post, that is, the article is titled: Foreigners can Apply for Visa Extensions After July 31:  Quoting directly: "Foreign visitors still stranded in the Kingdom by the COVID-19 pandemic will be allowed to apply for an extended short stay after their visas expire on July 31 the Immigration Bureau Chief said on Friday."  Quoting further: "Foreign visitors must specify their reasons and submit necessary documents when seeking to renew short-term visas which will be granted for 30 days he said," (he being Police Lieutenant General Sompong Chingduang, the Head of the Immigration Bureau here in Thailand).

Now something that I think needs to be taken away from this is it seems in this article that they are presuming only short stays are going to be possible to maintain further status here in Thailand. I am not entirely sure if that is an exhaustive analysis of the overall situation as I believe it will remain possible for folks to convert into some form of Non-immigrant Visa status in order to maintain further lawful status here in Thailand subsequent to both July 31st as well as presumably September 26th. 

That being stated, we have yet to actually see the official announcement promulgated so we could see something in there wherein they decide to affirmatively exclude people from doing that. I don't foresee that being an actual probability of what will actually occur. What is interesting and again quoting is:  "Foreigners must specify the reasons and submit necessary documents when seeking to renew short-term visas". I haven't gotten into this in great detail. We have discussed this back in March before the Amnesty was implemented that there were all these requirements wherein Embassies needed to go ahead and issue a document which stated that the person concerned needed to remain in the Kingdom because they couldn't go back to their home country. As we have discussed at length in some other videos those who are British and American nationality can't get these letters because they won't write them because it is possible to return to both of those countries. Many other Embassies and Consulates are refusing to issue such letters as well. Now that being stated this is still a fluid situation so perhaps later this may change. I don't foresee this being the case. Instead what I see happening is these visas, somebody is going to have to go down there and make a request to get a further extension of their status and these requests may turn out to be a rather cumbersome endeavor. I think Khao Sod English has written a number of articles in detail on this, on how the documentation required for extending status in Thailand can be rather cumbersome. 

So those who are falling into the latter phases of this Amnesty, this so-called grace period as it is colloquially being referred to, those folks who are going to be in that position it is probably not a terrible idea to contact a legal professional and gain some insight and guidance into how this is going to operate moving forward through these rather uncertain days with respect to Thai Immigration in the future.