Another visa amnesty extension for foreigners residing or stranded in Thailand is unlikely, an immigration spokesman said Friday. The amnesty, extended back in April, will expire at the end of this month.
Spokesperson Col. Phakkhaphong Saiubon said there’s a need to “clear out people” as the situation of global pandemic starts to wind down.
The government issued automatic extensions of stays earlier this year only after hundreds of foreigners queued up at immigration centres throughout the country.
“There most likely will not be an extension. It’s all quiet on that front. It’s been a long time and we need to clear out people,” Mr Saiubon said. “Thailand and the Thai government are already generous. No other country has this long of a visa amnesty.”
Foreigners in Bangkok wishing to extend their stay will also have to journey as far as the Impact Muang Thong Thani exhibition hall from 13th July onwards; immigration offices will temporarily move there to ensure physical distancing, the spokesman said.
The amnesty, approved by the government in April, allowed foreigners whose visas expire between 26th March to 31st July 2020 to stay in the Kingdom without applying for an extension at immigration offices.
After 31st July, overstay fines as well as the 90-day report requirements will resume if the immigration declined to extend the amnesty. Foreigners who plan to continue staying in Thailand are advised to renew their visas and 90-day reports before then.
“I recommend you do it within this month,” Mr Saiubon said.
Foreigners who do not or cannot extend their visas, or are unable to leave due to flight restrictions may try asking their respective embassies for an official letter to allow them to continue staying. Otherwise, they will be told to leave Thailand.
“It also depends on the flights available for you,” Mr Saiubon said. “But if your embassy won’t issue a letter for you, then you may have to leave since there’s not much we can do.”
Before the visa amnesty was granted, immigration officials required as many as nine separate documents for foreigners to extend their stay for up to 30 days. They included land deeds, rent contracts, and even selfies at their accommodation in Thailand.