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Post-Amnesty Thai Immigration Options Clarified Further

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing post-amnesty Immigration options for folks who have been caught here in Thailand due this COVID-19 situation.  

A recent article from the Phuket News, that is, the article is titled: Tourists to Get Unlimited 30-day Extensions to Stay after "Visa Amnesty" Ends

Now I want to preface this article by saying this is a really fluid set of circumstances. The law on this is not cut and dried. The overall circumstances surrounding this remain to be seen; this is not well settled. If you are in danger of falling out of status after Amnesty, I strongly urge you to contact a legal professional, someone that deals with Thai Immigration regularly, in order to gain some insight and guidance into how best to deal with this. To those folks in my comments section who get upset with me for saying this, this is not me pushing me as the legal professional, this is a general statement. I am saying this candidly to folks who may fall out of Amnesty. Get with someone whomever you trust, someone that you know is qualified and handles these matters frequently; get with someone like that and get some insight on this because none of this is a foregone conclusion. It is very fluid. Immigration is doing the best that they can. As we saw at the beginning of this whole lockdown situation, a lot of things were happening very fast and it was resulting in people getting caught in different cracks. Yes the blanket Amnesty solved it but what we are doing now is operating in reverse. The Amnesty is being pulled back. Folks could end up in a really bad situation where they find themselves in overstay status post Amnesty and I don't want to see that. That is a bad state of affairs to be in so that is why I am prefacing this video with that. 

Quoting directly from this article and again I want to note, some of these news sources and some are very good, Phuket News is great; Thai Examiner is good; the Thaiger; Thai Visa; we use Coconuts from time to time; Bangkok Post and people ask me why do you cite these folks? Well they go to the sources; they talk to the Immigration Officers. Frankly we are dealing with more than nuts and bolts of Thai Immigration. We have to compile petitions; we have to compile applications and documentation. That isn't really so much what we do and moreover this channel generally is to provide an overview on insights and information in a general sense. I couldn't make a YouTube channel where we get into specifics. It would be too unwieldy. It would basically be impossible. 

That being stated, these news sites can be great but sometimes they can use what I would argue is a little less than precise language. So for example the title, Tourists to get Unlimited 30-day Extensions; I can see circumstances factually playing out where certain individuals could in theory end up with rather prolonged stays after the Amnesty but unlimited 30-day extensions I don't think is an accurate way to portray how the vast majority of folks are going to have to deal with their status post the end of Amnesty.  I will get into that another videos as well as in this video; other videos we are making contemporaneously with this one that will be coming out as quickly as we can put them out.

Quoting directly:  "Foreigners staying in the country on any form of tourist visa will be allowed to repeatedly renew their permits to stay with Immigration for periods of 30 days at a time after the "Visa Amnesty" ends on September 26th, the Immigration Bureau announced today." There is some nuance with respect to this and I will get into it. “Immigration Deputy Major-general Porchjai Kantee announced the news at a press conference held at the Immigration Bureau Headquarters in Bangkok saying that the Cabinet had approved the move." 

So first of all we are going to go ahead and note Medical Visas and I will get into medical a little bit more deeply later. “General Porchjai explained that any tourists unable to return home after September 26th due to illness are to apply for an extension to stay by applying at an Immigration Office and presenting a medical certificate to prove they are unfit to fly.” So again, when they say unlimited 30-day extensions, that perhaps may be true but you have got to show cause; you have got to prove up that you need it. Quoting further:  "However those who are unable to return home due to a lack of flights or other circumstances in their home country”, and this is key, “must present a letter from letter from their home countries Embassy or Consulate in Thailand requesting that the foreigner be allowed to continue to temporarily stay in the Kingdom General Porchjai said."  So yes there is going to be an extension mechanism but I think it is going to be ad hoc and those of us who saw what this extension process looked like prior to the Amnesty, and Richard Barrow's Twitter feed was quite enlightening as far as this went, we dealt with it in house some of these Embassy letter issues for clients until the Amnesty came on and then we oftentimes we either found them other ways of dealing with their status or they subsequently left. But long story short this should not be viewed as automatic, it should be viewed as continuing sort of ad hoc status based on documentation and I think it is fairly safe to presume that that documentation is going to be scrutinized. This isn't going to be just sort of "gimme" they are not just going to allow just anybody to just stay in Thailand without a lot of heightened scrutiny. 

So again, this is my best advice and I really mean this. I think it is a good idea, if you can, to try to come to some kind of long-term regularized status before this amnesty is if that is possible. If it is not possible, it is probably good idea to contact a legal professional and see if some kind of accommodation can be made. If ultimately that proves fruitless, it may be time to seriously be looking at making travel arrangements to depart the Kingdom of Thailand lest you find yourself in overstay and subject to way worse penalties subsequent to the end of the Amnesty