In a last-minute decision, the new Thai visa amnesty for foreigners in Thailand has been extended until the end of October. There has been mass confusion over the past week in regards to the end of the visa amnesty that expired on 26 September. So, what does that mean for foreigners living in Thailand?
As many ex-pats and foreigners living in Thailand scrambled to make the previous Thai visa amnesty, the goalposts have moved once again. And we can assume many foreigners breathed a heavy sigh of relief.
New Thai Visa Amnesty Extension
The great thing about the latest extension of the Thai visa amnesty so that the Thai government has acknowledged the problems out there facing foreigners in Thailand. The grace period has acknowledged that many people are having issues organizing their flights back home as each country and airline has differing rules.
A spokesperson for the CCSA, Dr. Taweesin Wisanuyothin, read a message that came directly from the Thai Prime Minister:
As Covid-19 is still causing harm and there are many infections around the world, more than 30 million cases, some foreigners have to stay in Thailand, and cannot travel out of the Kingdom of Thailand to go back to their home countries, and they cannot follow Section 35 and Section 37 (5) of the Immigration Act 2522 and other related laws.
Thai Visa Amnesty Rules
It is now possible for foreigners who are currently in Thailand to apply for a 60-day visa extension. This new Thai visa amnesty rule will allow those who are “unable to leave due to limited flights and other issues” to apply for the 60-day option.
The previous 30-day extension cost 1,900 THB and required a letter from the applicant’s embassy. However, the new extension will be 60-days.
Disgruntled Law-Abiding Ex-Pats
The new Thai visa amnesty has upset some law-abiding ex-pats. Many foreigners living in Thailand had to go through the stress of officially renewing their visas. And now they realize they could’ve waited for the new extensions.
The Thai government recently reported that there are over 150,000forigners still living in Thailand that have a valid visa. Some of those feel that queuing in long lines at immigration offices throughout Thailand was now time and money consuming. They jumped through hoops to keep in line with the visa regulations, and now see that as wasted time.
However, it was difficult for the Thai government to act too early as the requirement on flights and repatriation across many different countries are so different. The West is still struggling with the pandemic while Thailand not so much.
Foreigners living in Thailand must keep an eye on the ever-changing Thai visa amnesty rules over the next few weeks for any developments.
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