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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawThailand Immigration LawCOVID-19 Shutdown: Thai Multiple-entry Non-immigrant Visa Issues

COVID-19 Shutdown: Thai Multiple-entry Non-immigrant Visa Issues

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests we are discussing COVID-19 yet again and we are discussing it specifically in the context of Thai visas. We have done another one on this topic on multiple entry Non-immigrant visas but I wanted to do another one because the situation has materially changed. 

Most notably, effectively Thailand has sealed up the borders so it is not possible to do a Visa Run or a border run at least at the time of this video. Moreover, it now appears pursuant to the Emergency Decree that non Thai Nationals will not be admitted into the Kingdom notwithstanding the fact that airports are open. Airports are going to be limited a Thai Nationals returning to Thailand and even they have to adhere to certain rather more stringent medical examination requirements before returning. 

The thing to take away from this video is folks that have for example a non-Immigrant multiple entry visa, and I have a number of clients and I have a number of friends and acquaintances as well, that use a 1 year multiple entry B Visa usually in tandem with a Work Permit to travel in and out of Thailand for regional business usually. For those who are unaware a multiple entry Thai 1-year Visa is one year in duration so the sticker is a Visa; it is a one-year Visa, but the lawful status provided by that Visa is 90 days per entry. So sometimes there are situations which require a Visa Run or a border run in order to maintain the status conferred by that Visa.

These folks under these circumstances are unfortunately getting kind of caught in a tricky situation. Now Thai Immigration has provided information and they have provided accommodation for those who can get a letter from their respective Embassy requesting Thai Immigration allow a special dispensation for a visa extension so those who can get their Embassy to issue a letter, we have done another video on this channel and we specifically discuss American Embassy letters but the information can also be used for non-American Nationals with respect to their Embassy or Consulate here in Thailand. Basically you need to get a letter from your mission, from the official mission of one's home country to Thailand requesting special accommodation be made in order to provide that person extended lawful status due to the COVID-19 crisis. 

Now that being said, if you can't get one of those letters, this can be a problem and it could lead to a situation where folks in multiple entry status, that have a multiple entry Thai Visa for example a Business Visa, an O marriage visa for example, simply cannot extend their stay and I can see circumstances like this arising more in the context of Thai Marriage Visas because one for example hasn't gotten certain required documentation in order for the extension. The same could be said for a multiple entry B Visa holder. For example there are certain multiple entry Visa holders that hold a Visa without a Work Permit. Generally speaking for a B visa extension to be granted, a Thai Work Permit has to be present and has to be issued to the person seeking the extension. Obtaining this type of documentation in short order prior to requesting an extension from Thai immigration I think is going to be very difficult to the point of perhaps depending on the circumstances and impossible. It is not a terrible idea to contact a legal professional perhaps if there is any chance of having this rectified. The other alternative, we have done a video on this, is possibly falling into overstay. There are ramifications with that but for those who cannot extend their status or do not believe that they are going to be able to extend their status, I think the first order of business is contacting one's Embassy and seeing if a letter will be forthcoming and barring that, it may be trying at all cost to extend status as normal and as we will get into in another video on this channel, standard extensions proceed apace. Nothing is really changing with respect to renewing one's extension status or obtaining one's extension status, at least according to Thai Immigration, but those who are here on a more temporary basis for example 90-day status pursuant to a Thai Non-immigrant 1 year multiple entry Visa or tourist visa status etc. those folks are kind of caught in a bind and only an Embassy letter apparently is going to be able to remedy that bind.