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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawVisa NewsWho Is Eligible for an Automatic Thai Visa Extension due to COVID-19?

Who Is Eligible for an Automatic Thai Visa Extension due to COVID-19?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing Thai Visa extensions and a recently-announced policy that there will be automatic extensions for certain foreigners in Thailand who have basically been stranded as a result of Coronavirus or COVID-19.

In a recent article from the nation that is nationthailand.com, the article was titled Tourists get Automatic Visa Extensions. Quoting directly: "Deputy Ministry Spokesman Natapanu Nopakun said the Cabinet has responded with a move to grant automatic renewal of tourist visas for visitors who arrived in Thailand after March 1st. The proposal was approved by the Cabinet on Tuesday March 31st and is set to be officially announced."  Here is the key point or a key point; a couple of things here. Quoting further: "People who hold other types of visas still need to go visit the Immigration Office for extensions." 

So a couple of things. I want to go back. Those who arrived in Thailand "after March 1st", so if you are a tourist that arrived in Thailand prior to March 1st, you may have some issues with this as an automatic stay or an automatic extension may not necessarily be granted. So that is the first thing to understand. There may be tourists who fall outside of this new automatic extension policy; so be aware of that.

Meanwhile, people who hold other types of Visas, so non Tourist Visa, presumably non -visa exemption stamp, non-visa on arrival stamp, those folks are still going to have to deal with their visas as they normally would. This is not an automatic exemption or an automatic extension of for example one's Business Visa status or one's O Marriage Visa status or one's Thai Retirement Visa status. It is simply for those who are tourists and became stranded as a result of Coronavirus or COVID-19. 

So those who are watching this video that have Non-immigrant Visa status for example, those who are on multiple-entry nonimmigrant visas, that is an important one, you need to be very aware that this new policy does not apply to you. It is tourists only. We are going to do a video specifically on this automatic visa extension and the issue of Non-immigrant visas specifically multi-entry non-immigrant visas. Border runs are effectively not a possibility at the moment because neighboring countries have all sealed their borders with Thailand. Meanwhile Thailand has effectively sealed its borders to anyone who would want to come back in. So as a practical matter, a border run is not going to be possible.

For this reason, it looks like at least for the foreseeable future, extensions are going to be required and those in Thailand in a Non-immigrant status are going to sort of be locked in to that status and are going to need to extend that status accordingly.