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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawVisa NewsCOVID-19 Automatic Thai Visa Extensions: Status Update

COVID-19 Automatic Thai Visa Extensions: Status Update

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing Thai visa extensions specifically the automatic extension scheme that is being talked about in the context of this Coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic. 

We did a number of videos on this already and to clarify where we stand as of the beginning of this video and by the end of this video we will be clarifying where things stand sort of at the moment and moving forward. 

So up to now, the Cabinet has approved in principle the notion of automatic extensions for those who are in Thailand in Tourist Visa status or presumably Visa exemption and visa-on-arrival status for purposes of Tourism here in the Kingdom. 

A recent article from the Bangkok Post that is, the article is titled: Immigration Bureau Pursues Visa Relief for Foreigners. This was published April 6th, 2020; they go into some further detail. Quoting directly: "The Immigration Bureau plans to seek Cabinet approval for a new raft of measures for three different categories of foreigners in Thailand affected by the COVID-19 crisis.” We are going to get into this in further detail in later videos. To quote further, “The foreigners are now divided into three groups: foreigners with resident visas who normally reside in Thailand but cannot return to Thailand due to the COVID-19 crisis; foreign tourists who are unable to depart Thailand due to the crisis, and that is the vast majority of the viewers of this video I am sure; and visitors from neighboring countries who hold a temporary border pass and got stuck in Thailand after the borders were shut.” That has to do generally speaking with more migrant labour here in Southeast Asia or as they say border pass holders. We are going to get in detail in further videos so please stay tuned and I will get these out as quick as I can. 

The thing to take away from this video is we are going to see this implemented and one of the main things to take away from this is, a quote: "For foreign tourists in the second group who reported to Immigration Authorities for 30-day extension after their visas expired on March 26th or thereafter, their visas will be automatically renewed every 30 days until the pandemic subsides." So March 26th as opposed to March 1st has now become an operative date if you will with respect to doing your analysis on whether or not you are going to be automatically extended. I think it is interesting that they state that an extension has to be sought initially before an automatic extension will be provided. I am going to get into more detail in that video but to sort of summarize it in this one, it looks to me like you are going to have to go to Immigration at least once to get an extension and then thereafter as this thing unfolds, they will sort of keep automatically extending that initial extension. For those who are wondering "Why is this?"  Well Thailand does Biometrics and those who enter the Kingdom in Visa exemption status as well as visa-on-arrival status, you go through sort of a perfunctory Biometrics process, but it looks to me like Thailand wants to make sure that they have these folks recorded. They also want to record where they are at. That also seems to be a significant concern for Thai Immigration Authorities. 

So it looks to me like anyone who is here in Tourist Visa status as of the time of this video and has yet to expire but will, it looks like an extension is going to be necessary but it doesn't look like that then needs to be dealt with thereafter. So once one extension for this Coronavirus is put in place it looks like it is going to be sort of automatic thereafter. 

That being said, we have yet to see exactly the details and finer points of how this is going to play out and we will make further videos on channel as things progress.