Deadline for amnesty visa is approaching

Last day for amnesty visa is on July 31. Foreigners are advised to sort out their visa in advance to avoid long queues, deportation or hefty fine. (Photo: Alamy Stock)

The Thai government has had amnesty visa in force that has allowed foreigners to stay in Thailand during the Covid-19 outbreak. It automatically extended all visas until July 31.

But that date is approaching fast, and whilst there has been conjecture about an extension to the visa amnesty beyond July 31, nothing has been confirmed (despite rumours).

To be clear, the Thai government is not just going to suddenly chase people out of the country. The date for the finish of the amnesty visa has been widely publicised since its announcement.

It is the responsibility of each foreigner to be aware of their visa situation, especially if their visa has expired during the amnesty.

Whilst there is a lot of confusion, and everyone is waiting for clarification from Thai Immigration, your best step forward is to get as much information you can and be prepared.

So, if you are a foreigner and your visa to stay in Thailand has expired, or will expire, before July 31, you will, as it stands at the moment, be required to get a formal extension or leave the Kingdom. Or renew your current visa if it is ongoing.

We are not in a normal situation where everything runs smoothly. Embassies and consulates are under extensive pressure in sorting out the situations for many thousands of foreigners in Thailand. Don’t expect your country’s embassy to drop everything they’re doing and attend to your situation.

Here are the options which you should seriously be considering to avoid deportation, a fine or other possible charges:

• Contact your embassy or consulate (better to email at this time rather than appear in person). Inform them your current location and the status of your visa

• If you wish to extend your visa after July 31 there will probably be a cost associated and you will need supporting documentation to extend. The Thai Immigration
department has already made it clear that you will probably need a letter from your embassy explaining why you need to extend your visa. This will need to be
arranged before you apply for an extension with Thai Immigration. If your visa simply needs to be renewed it should be a much easier procedure.

• Check out possible outbound flights to your home country, including connecting flights from the airlines that are currently leaving Bangkok. BE VERY CAREFUL when
booking flights as there have been many cases of airlines scheduling flights out of Thailand that end up cancelled and leaving prospective passengers out of
pocket and an extended wait for a refund.

We would recommend contacting the actual airlines to make bookings rather than booking through websites. Your air fares back home could be quite expensive.

• If the Thai government doesn’t extend the July 31 deadline, there will likely be queues and delays in the last few days before the amnesty visa finishes.
So the earlier you can get your visa situation sorted out, opportunities explored and an exit strategy in place, the better.

• If you are required to do 90 day reporting, and you haven’t reported during the amnesty, you should do so – online or in person – before July 31.

Source: The Thaiger