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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawVisa NewsHow do I get a Thai Tourist Visa Extension for COVID-19?

How do I get a Thai Tourist Visa Extension for COVID-19?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are tourist visa extensions for Coronavirus

This is kind of a catch-all topic. I know I have been talking about Coronavirus and stranded tourists a lot on this channel. I know I have kind of to some extent been rehashing this material but it is nuance and candidly this probably will be the last one I get into on this stuff, directly on tourist extensions. There are going to be some other videos coming out here shortly that are going to deal with things in a Coronavirus context, but strictly tourists. This is probably the last major one of these videos I am going to do for a little bit until we see further information.  

I am going to preface this video by saying this. If you have questions, if your situation does not clearly fall into the information that is coming out from Thai Authorities regarding who is going to be granted automatic extension status, who has already been granted automatic extension status, or the protocols associated therewith, if it doesn't clearly fall in to what has already been announced, it is probably not a terrible idea to get some legal counsel, some professional legal assistance from folks that deal with Thai Visa matters because if you don't fully understand where things sit, you can have a real problem.  There is an old saying I believe has been attributed to Amarillo Slim the poker player, and I personally have had some history with poker myself, he once said "if you can't spot the sucker sitting around the table, you are the sucker." I am not saying that has anything to do directly with Thai Immigration and that they are trying to do something adverse to your position, but if you can't fully discern where you stand and if you don't easily understand exactly what your situation is with Thai Immigration right now and I do understand this is frustrating because policy is coming out fast, it is evolving quickly. They are dealing with Coronavirus, they are dealing with various nuances to the Immigration implications of Coronavirus affected people and it is not perfect. Let's be clear, this is being done in a very ad hoc manner. I think everybody is doing the best that they can. The thing to keep in mind as a viewer, if you don't fully understand where you sit, what your posture is with respect to your Immigration status moving forward , it is probably not a terrible idea to get some counsel, get some assistance and fully understand where you sit because when the dust settles on this thing there could be real problems for those who have overstayed their visa, especially those who have overstayed their visa and want to come back to Thailand; there could be real problems for those who presume that they could have done a border run; there could be real problems for folks to have lived here for a number of years and have ended up in a situation adverse to themselves with respect to for example a Non-immigrant Visa. Even tourists, it could be a situation that could lead to probably not for long but at least some level of detention while they deal with processing you out of the system. So again if you are in lawful status now and you don't fully understand where you fall within this, it is not a terrible idea to go ahead and get legal counsel.  

Now proceeding further, let's go through the analysis of where things sit.  We have already done videos on the notion of an automatic visa extension associated with Coronavirus and going back about a week or ten days from the making of this video, on April 6th, 2020. We had reported via various new sources that an official spokesman from the Thai Government had noted that the Cabinet had resolved to provide some sort of relief for tourists stranded in Thailand with respect to their Immigration status. So that was already resolved some time ago.

Now the practical or on the ground implications of that remained to be seen up until roughly about the time I am making this video. In a recent article from the Bangkok Post that is that article is titled: Immigration Bureau Pursues Visa Relief for Foreigners. It quotes directly from the Head of Immigration. So it was one of the reasons I really like this article. I have been using it as a kind of touchstone to discuss this topic because it is coming from the source; the Head of Thai Immigration. Quoting directly from this article: "The foreigners are now divided into three groups.”  I am going to skip ahead. “Foreign tourists who are unable to depart Thailand due to the crisis”, (that is the second group) Quoting further: "For foreign tourists in the second group who reported to Immigration Authorities for a 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, said Police Lieutenant General Sompong." So that is Sompong Chingduang, the Head of Thai Immigration.

Now, in a prior set of videos we did on this, we noted that the Cabinet had resolved that those who had entered Thailand March 1st or after, in Tourist Visa status, and presumably that is also visa-on-arrival status as well as 30-day exemption status, they had resolved that those folks needed to be dealt with. They needed to figure out a way in which to provide them with status mostly because they are stranded due to Coronavirus; they needed to deal with extending them. This appears to me to be the implementation of that overarching policy. So, it appears to me that those who entered on or after the 1st March now need to go get an extension and then thereafter they will just be rolled over automatically every 30 days until this crisis abates. That is how it looks to me as of the time of making this video. 

Now, further and this is important too. "Other foreigners who are now in Thailand and affected by the COVID-19 crisis but are not covered in the above three categories and two of those categories were pretty irrelevant to stranded tourists, one was permanent residence which I will get into an another video in the series, and another one was migrant workers basically, so just one category here we are talking about which is stranded tourists, but aren't covered in the above 3 categories are advised to adhere to the usual laws. Where does that leave folks? Well it looks like if you came in before March 1st, you have got to deal with the usual Immigration system. If you came in even if I think if you came in under anything other than tourist visa status so if you are not a tourist like a non-immigrant Visa holder, you have got to deal with everything as normal. 

So the thing to take away from this video is if you don't understand where you stand with respect to this new regime if you will, it is probably not a bad idea to contact a legal professional and get some advice, get an opinion on where this thing stands for you in order to maintain lawful status in order to forestall negative consequences for you down the road.