Countries get tough with overstay visitors

SINGAPORE, 22 September 2020: Indonesia and Thailand are cracking down on travellers who fail to renew their visas after a goodwill amnesty that allowed them to stay without penalties expires.

Indonesia’s Directorate General of Immigration has confirmed it will no longer automatically extend expired visas or stay permits under Covid-19 emergency arrangements.

The DGI advises holders of expired visas in Indonesia to apply immediately so that a valid one can be issued before the end of the grace period that expires 5 October 2020.

Overstaying may result in fines, detention and deportation, Immigration authorities in Indonesia warned.

Thailand’s  Immigration Bureau warns that more than 150,000 tourists (Bangkok Post estimate) are staying in the country under a grace period that ends 26 September.  They must apply for a visa extension or leave the country this week.  They are liable to be fined or face deportation including black-listing if they do not apply for a new visa or temporary extension by the deadline.

Thailand is crying out for tourists to return, but strict rules apply that prevent most visitors from entering the country. Critics of government policy wonder why the immigration bureau needs to crack down on foreigners who remain stranded in the country or wish to stay in Thailand to see out the Covid-19 crisis.