Due to the ongoing worldwide travel disruption caused by the Pandemic, Thai immigration allowed foreigners stranded in Thailand to extend their stay.
On March 25 due to the ongoing worldwide travel disruption caused by the pandemic, the Thai immigration said it would allow foreigners marooned in Thailand to extend their stay for up to 30 days.
The catch? They must ignore the government’s call for “social distancing” and head to the immigration offices to apply for those extensions after acquiring a letter from their embassies.
The bureau had previously only permitted the extension to foreign nationals of 11 countries and territories, but eventually granted it to every nationality.
Immigration Bureau spokesman Phakkhaphong Saiubonsaid said in an interview;
“Those who wish to apply need to acquire a letter from their respective embassies.”
Phakkhaphong spoke on a day when massive queues some reaching up to 3,000 people were being seen at immigation offices all around the country, where many foreigners were scrambling to extend their stays, file 90-day reports, and get other necessary stamps before a possible lockdown of the capital.
Col. Phakkhaphong said the bureau had already responded to the overcrowding problem.
“The bureau was crammed with people today because they feared that a curfew would be imposed,” Col. Phakkhaphong said.
“We are expanding the waiting area at our Chaeng wattana office so that people can keep some distance from each other."
He added, “We are also looking for a larger space elsewhere to cope with massive queues.”
Foreigners who queued up for their documents at the Immigration Bureau’s main office at the Government Complex in Chaeng Wattana said they had to wait in line for hours as queue numbers exceedrd 3,000.
Many were also told to come back on the following day.
Immigration Bureau’s main office at the Government Complex in Chaeng Wattana
THAILAND VISA AMNESTY EXTENDED TO JULY 31
On the 21st April 2020 Thailand’s cabinet approved a second automatic visa extension for foreigners for three more months. The extended amnesty was and still is a bid to prevent long queues at immigration offices around the country.
Narumon Pinyosinwat, spokeswoman for the Thai government, said they wanted to curb the spread of the coronavirus and avoid foreigners having to wait in lines and threaten their own health and the health of immigration officials.
“Foreigners whose visas had expired since March 26 will be permitted to stay until 31 July 2020 without having to apply for an extension.” she said.
THE VISA AMNESTY
As an attempt to relieve some of the stress on stranded tourists, visas that have expired form March 26 onwards will be automatically extended to July 31.
Therefore, foreigners are no longer required to apply for an extension at an immigration office. In addition, they will save being charged 500 baht per day for overstaying on their visa.
Foreigners who are due to file a 90-day report between March 26 and July 31 have also been temporarily exempted until further notice.
Foreigners holding border passes will be allowed to stay in Thailand for now, but they will be required to leave the country within seven days once borders reopen.
SOURCE: The Immigration Bureau Thailand