Still have questions about the visa amnesty? Read this

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Gaybutton
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Still have questions about the visa amnesty? Read this

Post by Gaybutton »

Questions about the recent Thailand Visa Amnesty answered

By Pattaya Mail

April 10, 2020

Is the Jomtien immigration office busy?
After the enormous queues on April 6 and 7, the office is now very quiet. No queues to speak of.

I have a 60 day tourist visa expiring at the beginning of May so what is my position?
Two courses of action are available to you. You are currently covered by the free visa amnesty and can simply wait, trusting that the prime minister will extend it from April 30 to the end of May, a further month. If he does, you do not need to visit the immigration bureau and the new extension would also be free. Alternatively, you could visit the immigration bureau now and request the 30 days extension of your visa – to the beginning of June – which has always been available with a 60 days tourist visa. But you would be charged 1,900 baht in this case for a normal extension. With your particular circumstances, holding a valid visa issued by a Thai consulate abroad, you have a choice here.

I have been on overstay since March 28 with my 30 day visa-exempt stamp on arrival. What do I do?
Nothing. You are covered by the amnesty which stated that anyone with overstay since March 26 is automatically extended to April 30 without visiting an immigration office and without paying an overstay penalty. The government will update what will happen after April 30 later this month. Anyone with an overstay earlier than March 26 is not covered by the amnesty and should report to immigration authorities as soon as possible as their plight will only worsen.

Has the 90 day address reporting for one year visa holders been abolished?
No, but it has been temporarily suspended. If your due 90 day reporting falls in the period March 26 to April 30 you do nothing. If your due date was before March 26, you should visit the immigration bureau and pay the fine, normally a flat 2,000 baht. If your due date is later than April 30, wait for the next government announcement.

I have a one year retirement extension which expires on April 21. Does the visa extension amnesty apply to me?
No. You need to apply for your next one year visa extension, on or before the due date, just as you did last year. The amnesty to April 30 does not apply to holders of one year visas or extensions.

Does the immigration bureau still issue certificates confirming your local address?
The question here is why you would need one. The land transportation department is currently closed to the public so you cannot apply for a driving license, nor buy and sell a vehicle. Incidentally if your current Thai driving license has recently expired, or soon will, its life is automatically extended until the state of emergency ends and government offices reopen.

I have read that farang residents of Thailand who cannot return to the country before their permission ends have been given an extension. Who is covered by this?
Only foreigners with a residence book who are normally required to return to Thailand within a year of their departure. They have been granted an extension of their compulsory return deadline. They will be required to return when the situation improves within a period specified by the immigration bureau. Foreigners without a resident book – for example one year visa holders – are not residents in this context.

What happens at immigration if I have lost my passport or it has expired?
You cannot receive an immigration service without a valid passport. You have to contact your embassy any way you can – many embassies are principally operating by email at the moment – and obtain a new passport or an emergency travel document.

What is the main purpose of the visa amnesty?
It has two purposes – to reduce the awesome queues at immigration premises during the pandemic crisis and to assist short-term tourists and visitors who want to return to their own country but cannot do so just now. Thus all 30 days, 60 days and 90 day stamps/visas terminating since March 26 are automatically extended to April 30 without payment or needing the passport stamped. Holders of 14 day border passes (mainly citizens of Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar) can stay until the borders reopen. The government has promised to announce its overall visa policy for May before the end of the current month.

https://www.pattayamail.com/featured/qu ... red-294937

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Re: Still have questions about the visa amnesty? Read this

Post by Jun »

If I read that correctly, they set a whole load of visas (etc) to expire at the end of April, some possibly extended to the end of May.

The blindingly obvious disadvantage of this would be chaos on or around the date on which the visa expires, as the demand for visa processing would be concentrated into a very short time frame.

As I suggested recently, the obvious thing to do is add a fixed number of days to the expiry dates for everyone legally in the country. That way, they can shut the immigration offices and have a smooth demand profile when they reopen.

I'd like to know what thought processes went into the policy they chose.

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2lz2p
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Re: Still have questions about the visa amnesty? Read this

Post by 2lz2p »

Jun wrote:
Fri Apr 10, 2020 7:22 pm
If I read that correctly, they set a whole load of visas (etc) to expire at the end of April, some possibly extended to the end of May.

The blindingly obvious disadvantage of this would be chaos on or around the date on which the visa expires, as the demand for visa processing would be concentrated into a very short time frame.

As I suggested recently, the obvious thing to do is add a fixed number of days to the expiry dates for everyone legally in the country. That way, they can shut the immigration offices and have a smooth demand profile when they reopen.

I'd like to know what thought processes went into the policy they chose.
Immigration Offices will need to remain open for services to those with Long Stay extensions (retirees, married to Thai, etc.) as they have been granted no exemption (amnesty) - so, if you are due to renew your long stay extension, you will need to visit Immigration before the extension expiration date. Pattaya Immigration will do the renewal up to 30 days before expiration date. It is prudent to do as early as possible to have time in case of any unexpected hitches in the process, e.g., get more documentation, etc.

But, a plus so long as 90 day reporting and extensions for those with Visa Exempt, Tourist Visa, or Non-Immigrant Visa (90 day permitted stay) is suspended, Immigration Office should not be as crowded as it has been.

If they continue to extend the amnesty after 30 April, perhaps those whose stay has expired will be able to book flights out of Thailand or borders will open to allow departure before the final amnesty period expires.

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Re: Still have questions about the visa amnesty? Read this

Post by ceejay »

An email from Chiang Mai City Expats Club has a different take on it, saying that the automatic extension applies to all classes of visa. "Rhys" is Rhys Bonney, of Assist Thai Visa, a long established CM visa agency with a reputation for being well informed and well connected.

Visa Update

The current rules as of the 10th of April are as follows.
90 day reports suspended until the 30th of April
Anyone with a visa expiring after the 26th of March does not need to get an extension. They will be automatically extended until the 30th of April. They do not need to attend immigration.
All types of visa now qualify for the amnesty until the 30th of April. However unless you are in a high risk group due to Covid, we strongly recommend you continue to process your visas as normal.
If you have an agent or use the 90 day postal or online service you can still continue this as well.
The rules and rulings are changing daily at present. If possible we strongly recommend you take control of your own visa situation by obtaining extensions as normal. There isn’t any news on how the rules will be enforced after April the 30th and although there is speculation, until a new order is released anyone who took the visa amnesty will be forced to leave the country or extend their visa is a very short space of time.
We hope everyone stays safe and please note the 10pm till 4am curfew is still in place and there will be no alcohol sales from the 10th to the 20th. For any questions please email [email protected]

Kind Regards,
Rhys
This is not the first time that different advice has emanated from different visa offices! Note, however, his advice to "take control of your own visa situation". That seems to me to be the best way to go.

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Re: Still have questions about the visa amnesty? Read this

Post by ceejay »

Jun wrote:
Fri Apr 10, 2020 7:22 pm
The blindingly obvious disadvantage of this would be chaos on or around the date on which the visa expires, as the demand for visa processing would be concentrated into a very short time frame.
I don't see it causing serious problems, because, depending on exactly who the automatic extension applies to, most or all, of the people affected will be on 30 day stamps or tourist visas (both of which can be extended once only). When the current automatic extension ends, they will already have had their one extension and will be expected to leave the country.

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Re: Still have questions about the visa amnesty? Read this

Post by Gaybutton »

ceejay wrote:
Sat Apr 11, 2020 10:26 am
I don't see it causing serious problems
Neither do I. While the amnesty may last until April 30, that doesn't mean people have to wait until April 30 to go to immigration for whatever reasons they need to go. People can go whenever they want.

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