BANGKOK, 20 July 2020: Thailand may offer foreigners in the country a grace period until 26 September to apply for visa extensions once the visa amnesty ends 31 July.
Thousands of foreigners who reside, or are stranded, in Thailand since the country banned commercial international flights back in April have enjoyed automatic extensions on visas and reporting procedures without having to apply online or in-person, but the amnesty is due to end this month.
It will most likely be replaced by a grace period to allow foreigners to sort out their status without the fear of fines. However, once the grace period ends, the Immigration Bureau will resume strict compliance of visa rules.
Reuters news agency quoted a high ranking immigration official saying: “So we do not propose to extend visas after 31 July, but allow for visa requests from 1 August to 26 September.”
But the new concession will still need Cabinet approval that could occur later this week. It will go on the books once the Cabinet approves and the update to regulations is posted on the Royal Gazette. In addition, the Immigration Bureau will post details on social media and website.
Foreigners will have a window of opportunity to renew their visa, resume their 90-day reporting, and if their tourist visa has expired, they will get a visa extension for a limited period to allow them to leave the country and not face overstay fines.
Thailand has granted foreigners automatic visa extensions twice so far to prevent long queues at immigration and comply with strict distancing rules to prevent the spread of Covid-19.