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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawThailand Immigration LawWhat Happens to Thai Multi Entry O Visas When Immigration Amnesty Ends?

What Happens to Thai Multi Entry O Visas When Immigration Amnesty Ends?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing the O Visa. So that is the Thai O visa and I am going to use this video to discuss anything that falls under the O category so this will even include OAs, O Retirement Visa; so OA visa. You can consider this analysis of what you should be worried about. The O visa for Retirement, the O Visa based on Marriage, O Visa based on parentage of a Thai child or supporting a Thai child etc. So just the O Visa generally. The overall category. Now, you have a Non-immigrant Multiple-entry O Visas of some sort. This may be an OA visa issued from abroad, it may be an O visa issued from abroad but we are talking about Multiple-entry Non-immigrant Thai visas here. To be clear we are not talking about Tourist Visas, we are not talking about 30-day extensions. We are talking about O Non-immigrant Multiple-entry Thai visas. 

So, those folks will have been granted a 90-day stamp upon entry and based on the amended Amnesty announcement it looks like folks that have Non-immigrant visas will be covered by the Amnesty up until July 31st. The question is what happens at July 31st? What are we going to be dealing with?

Let me preface the rest of this video by saying, to some degree this is speculation. I don't know exactly what will happen but I think we can make logical inferences based on the Immigration laws, prior experience and the announcement itself in order to understand what is probably going to happen on July 31st. First thing to understand, this Amnesty is not in and of itself a Thai Visa status. In a sense it is a forbearance by the Thai Authorities. They are simply not enforcing Thai Immigration Law. It is sort of like a parole if you will; in a sense. It is basically them saying "okay we are not going to enforce the overstay fine rules against you if you got stranded here during the Amnesty and we are not going to enforce the overstay blacklisting tabulation”. So if you get more than 90 days in overstay in Thailand under normal circumstances, that automatically triggers a mechanism whereby you may be blacklisted depending on how long thereafter after you stayed, we will gauge how long you will be blacklisted moving forward after that. So both of these things have, this current Amnesty is sort of akin to Duration of Status in US Immigration wherein basically it sort of operates in the negative.  We are not accruing overstay fines against you, we are not accruing tabulation of blacklisting time against you, we are simply just  waiveing all of that while we are dealing with this crisis. 

First of all, I do not think it is prudent to presume that the July 31st Amnesty deadline will be extended further. I think it is very safe to presume that is pretty well a hard deadline. I think we are going to be stuck with that. I don't think they are going to extend this any further. Barring some massive unforeseen change in circumstances, I just don't see them extending it past the 31st. Secondly, understand how your status works. So this is a Non-immigrant Visa. It is a Multi-entry Non-immigrant Visa. A Border Run may be necessary. I will get to Border Runs later on in the video, but if you are on an O visa that has a Work Permit understand this first component. Let's say you are on a Thai Marriage Visa and you are in Non-immigrant status; you just prefer to use a Non-immigrant O Visa and you are working in Thailand, you have a Work Permit. It is probably going to be a really good idea to look at extending your status and not using the Amnesty if it is at all possible. So if your O visa has yet to expire and you are watching this video, contact a legal professional. It is probably a good idea to seriously consider extending your Visa status rather than simply enjoying the O visa Amnesty, the amnesty as a result of COVID-19 and here is the reason. Notwithstanding the fact that Immigration has made this policy on Amnesties for those who are stuck in overstay due to the Coronavirus, Labour Department the Immigration Policy doesn't have any bearing on those folks. So I think it is safe to presume you can have real problems with your Work Permit if you don't extend your status because the O visa is the basis on which the Work Permit is issued so in a sense the O Visa acts as a kind of platform to apply for a Work Permit. If that platform goes away, presumably the Work Permit should be cancelled and there are situations where one can be accrued fines for that Work Permit falling out of status and not being permanently cancelled. So that is the first thing to take away from this. If you are on a Multi-entry O and you are a maintaining a Thai Work Permit, try to extend your status if it all possible and again it may be a good idea to contact a legal professional on that because the Work Permit implications of this Amnesty are rather nebulous and it is probably a good idea to get some legal guidance on how that is going to work or how that is going to operate in your given set of circumstances. 

With respect to others who are not here in Work Permit status, when this expires, a border run may be absolutely necessary. That being said I don't think it is safe or prudent to presume that a Border Run is going to be particularly easy to accomplish. Who knows what countries are going to be allowing foreigners in at the time that Thailand's Visa Amnesty comes to a close, comes to a conclusion; that is not a foregone conclusion. Moreover, we could see a situation where they are somewhat lax. Where Thai Immigration is letting people do Border Runs, where they keep them in eye shot if you will,  within the eye line of the Immigration Officer. They just pass outside the Border, they pass into the country, stamped in, stamped out, come right back. There are probably land borders where that may be possible. Again we don't exactly know and I think diving into too much more speculation is not particularly useful. 

For purposes of this video, I think it is wise to presume that a Border Run may not be possible. You may be compelled if you can't get into extension status here in Thailand, again those who are married if you meet the financial requirement, you may be able to extend your status here in Thailand. Certain Retirees, again it may be possible for you to extend but with regard to Border Running, I do not think it is wise nor prudent to presume that is going to be a possibility come July 31. So those who are in Multi-entry O status I think it is a good idea to be looking at extensions and where an extension is not possible, I think it is a good idea to look at planning on a departure from Thailand on or prior to July 31st. Let me be clear about this, it is a better idea to leave before the 31st than right at the 31st. I can see people trying to squeeze every day of Amnesty out of this but leaving ahead of time is probably a more prudent idea than waiting until the last minute.