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Do I Need to Go in Person to Thai Immigration to Extend My Visa?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing Thai visa extensions and we are specifically discussing the topic of whether or not one needs to be physically present at the Thai Immigration Office in order to extend their visa. 

Now I am making this video during this COVID-19 or Coronavirus outbreak and the sort of consternation and crisis that is coming up as a result of this but this is also kind of a general video as well. 

I get this question rather frequently and let me start off with the general rule, then we are going to get into a specific exception which is currently being implemented for certain people under Coronavirus conditions, and then I am going to get to Thai Immigration's response to that. 

So first of all, the general rule is anyone wanting to extend their status in Thailand, within the Kingdom, be that an exemption stamp, be that a Business Visa, be that an Education Visa for example or a Retirement Visa, if you are looking to extend your status in the Kingdom, generally speaking you need to physically be present at the Immigration Office as they have to undertake certain things mostly pertaining to Biometrics; photographs etc., of you in order to extend your status. So as a general rule extension is required. 

Now in a recent article from the Nation, that's, the article is titled: Tourists get Automatic Visa Extensions.  Quoting directly: "Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha is concerned that foreigners seeking Visa extensions are gathering in their hundreds at Immigration Offices each day." Quoting further: "Deputy Ministry Spokesman Natapanu Nopakun said the Cabinet has responded with a move to grant an automatic renewal of tourist visas for visitors who arrived in Thailand after March 1."  Quoting further:  "People who hold other types of visas still need to go to visit the Immigration Office for extension."  So, the general rule still applies to Non-immigrant Visas. Folks that are on for example a Thai Business Visa and are looking to extend that Visa, that individual still needs to go deal with their extension as they normally would. 

Meanwhile, concurrently there has been this announcement that there is going to be an automatic visa extension granted to tourists and they are very clear on that. It is tourists and not only is it tourists, it is tourists who arrived in Thailand after March 1, 2020 so basically folks that are specifically, negatively impacted by the Coronavirus crisis, those folks are going to have their status extended automatically because they are looking to decrease the crowds that are gathering at Thai Immigration to deal with these issues. So those folks are specifically being exempted, okay. That being stated, those who have a Non-immigrant status need to show up at Immigration and another recent article and this predates the announcement of the automatic extension but it is relevant. An article from Thai Visa, and Thai visa is actually quoting Quoting directly: "Thailand's Immigration Bureau issued emergency advice to tourists about extending their visas amid the Coronavirus crisis. Fraudsters have been going online on Facebook and other social media platforms saying that there is no need to go to an Immigration Office in person. This is nonsense. You must go in person. Immigration Chief Lieutenant General Sompong Chingduang and his spokesman Police Major General Surapong Chaiyajan said that Immigration were going after those responsible for praying on tourists. 

So those who are looking to extend their status. Now tourists we are going to go ahead and say you are already exempted so don't worry. In my opinion I think it is probably prudent to just go ahead, we will go ahead and do other videos on this but I think it is okay. Your status is going to be automatically extended.

Now remember those who entered after March 1, and those who entered in Tourist Visa status, if you have any questions as to whether or not this applies to you, this automatic extension, it may not be a terrible idea to contact a legal professional. We are happy to talk to whomever but contact someone who may be able to provide further insight. This is only for a specific subset of people, this automatic extension. For those who are looking to simply extend their status on a general basis or in this COVID-19 crisis, for example those who are here on a Non-immigrant multiple-entry visa more and more of those folks are going to be almost compelled to seek a visa extension all those who are just seeking their standard visa extension, anyone seeking an extension, a specific extension, is going to be required to show up in person at the Immigration Office here in the Kingdom of Thailand.