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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawVisa News30 Day Thai Visa Stamp Issuance Could End "At Any Time" After Amnesty?

30 Day Thai Visa Stamp Issuance Could End "At Any Time" After Amnesty?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing these recently announced kind of Ad Hoc post Visa Amnesty stamps that are presumably going to be issued after September 26th by Thai Immigration Officers. We are making a number of other videos on this. I have already made videos on this so we urge you to go to other channels on this. Suffice it to say there is a possibility although not a foregone conclusion, depending on your factual circumstances, that you may be able to get a 30-day stamp to take you out past the 26th and it may be possible to continue getting stamps thereafter. 

That stated, it should be noted that A) again it is not a foregone conclusion and I have gone into the analysis on that in many videos but I felt that the US Embassy's website provided the best phraseology on this. I really do like the US Embassy folks. They do a good job of putting out as much information as they can, but they are not Thai Immigration so their views and their information should be viewed for what it is. It is very relevant and they are definitely communicating directly with the Thai Government which that certainly means that their information is weighty, for lack of a better term, but they are not in fact the Thai Government so you have to kind of view this as coming through a little bit of a filter in terms of the fact that it is not directly coming from the Thai Government but it is very insightful nonetheless and then putting out these announcements is informative and we thank them for it certainly. 

A recent FAQ (frequently asked questions) announcement put out on the US Embassy website, updated August 27, 2020 states the following and I urge those to look this up. You can Google; it is on their website but I wanted to pull out some very pertinent points here. Quoting directly: "Visa extension letters from the US Embassy are not required to remain in Thailand between now and September 26th. After that date, normal 30-day extensions may be available, may be available okay, for individuals who can demonstrate compelling reasons for not being able to depart Thailand. Those decisions will be made by Royal Thai Immigration Officers on a case-by-case basis. You should make plans to leave Thailand before the September 26th deadline or risk being in violation of Thai Immigration law." Quoting further: "Please note, the Thai Government is under no obligation to extend short-term visas and may end the practice at any time." and I want to reiterate that. That is very well put by the US Embassy here in Thailand. This can end at any time. This is purely at the sufferance of Thai Authorities. They are doing this as a courtesy. They are under no obligation to do it and it has been noted many times and in some ways in the press it has been kind of alluded to without just fully coming out and stating it but they use the phrase "compelling reasons". I don't know what that means to them internally and I am sure we will probably around shortly after or before the end of this Amnesty, but it seems to me that the overall attitude of Thai Immigration, I think folks that are dealing with Thai Immigration regularly are coming to the conclusion that it can be inferred that Thai Immigration, you have got to have a good reason for why you need to stay past the Amnesty. Just saying "oh, I couldn't get a flight", that may not be sufficient. 

The other thing is "prolonged stay". Okay, the first “out of the box” if you will sort of “off to the races” post the 26 that Monday we could see and I think we will see a number of people seeking a 30-day extension past the 26th. How many of those are going to be granted I don't know but I think it is logical to presume that a larger number will be approved than would be approved down the road. It is sort of like the first time they are going to be a little bit more lenient as far as scrutiny and then as time goes on and you see people that are just here month after month after month that seem to be making no arrangements to leave, I can definitely see scenarios playing out when Thai Immigration says “yeah we are not going to keep renewing this status. It has been done as a temporary courtesy and you have worn out your courtesy”. 

This leads me to another point .If you do not have long term Thai visa status and intend to stay in Thailand long-term after the Visa amnesty, it is probably a good idea to contact a legal professional and try to go ahead and get regularized long-term status before the Amnesty comes to an end as failure to do so can lead to rather dire consequences.

We are making other videos contemporaneously with this one where we talk specifically on the issue of Non-immigrant visas; Business, O, ED, etc., but suffice it to say, just across the board, it is a better idea to get into long-term status than to hope you can maintain your status in Thailand on an Ad Hoc basis over the long term.