Visa amnesty extension unlikely, said immigration spokesman


BANGKOK — An immigration spokesman said Friday that visa amnesty extension for foreigners residing or stranded in Thailand is unlikely.

Extended back in April, the amnesty is set to expire at the end of this month.

There’s a need to “clear out people,” said Spokesman Col. Phakkhaphong Saiubon as the situation of global pandemic begins to dwindle. The automatic visa extension was granted to foreigners earlier this year only after several foreigners lined up at immigration offices across 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,” Phakkaphong said. “Thailand and the Thai government are already generous. No other country has this long of a visa amnesty.”

Col. Phakkhaphong said that starting July 31, foreigners who wish to extend their stay in Thailand will have to travel to Impact Muang Thing Thani exhibition hall, adding that immigration offices will move there temporarily to help practice social distancing.

According to a report from Khaosod English. “the amnesty, approved by the government in April, allowed foreigners whose visas expire between March 26 to July 31 to stay in the Kingdom without applying for an extension at immigration offices.”

“I recommend you do it within this month,” Phakkaphong said.

The spokesman also added that those 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’d be told to leave Thailand.

“It also depends on the flights available for you,” Phakkhapong 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.”

Khaosod added that “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 include land deeds, rent contracts, and even selfies of foreigners with their accommodations.”

Source: Khaosod English

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Marcus Felipe