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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawThailand Immigration LawThe Thai Visa Amnesty is Not a Visa Extension

The Thai Visa Amnesty is Not a Visa Extension

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing the Thai Visa Amnesty yet again; a topic of quite a lot of popularity here in Thailand as of late. We are also discussing the issue of Thai Visa extensions or extension of status in the Kingdom of Thailand. 

So the thing to understand is there is a difference between the Amnesty and an Extension.  I have been hearing it used interchangeably or folks will say "well I may not get an extension.  I will just get an extension from the Amnesty” or ‘I am on an Amnesty extension." They are not the same thing; you need to understand this. In a substantive way, the Amnesty is simply that.  It is an Amnesty. It doesn't mean that you are not in overstay. In point of fact you are in overstay if you are in Amnesty in Thailand. If your Visa expired during the Amnesty window then you are immune from overstay fines during the Amnesty period, as well as having your time in-country accrue toward blacklisting, but you are still in overstay. You are not in a visa status, you are in overstay and the consequences of that overstay have been waived as a result of the Amnesty; so it is not the same thing. 

For this reason, it may or may not be possible to be in Amnesty and convert oneself into another Visa status. It will be highly factually dependent. It is also at the discretion of Immigration Officers whether or not they will allow that. Depending on circumstances we have seen it go a lot of different ways. Some Officers have said that "no, it is not possible". Others have said "well depending on the circumstances, we will review the case and have a look at it". Again, understand the reason for this and the reason why it is so vague is because it is a really unprecedented set of circumstances and it has to do with something that is not a status, it is just an Amnesty. Again it is a waiver of an otherwise applicable law or set of regulations that are being "waived" rather than being "applied" under this unprecedented set of circumstances. So it should not be viewed as substantively the same thing as an extension. They are different things. There is an amnesty, there is an extension, they are a mutually exclusive status and they don't have anything really to do with one another. Again I know this seems pedantic and it is sort of like parsing hairs, a bit of exercise in looking at semantics but it does have a profound effect on how one operates and interacts with the Thai Immigration system as they are fundamentally two different things.