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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawVisa NewsExtending a Thai Business Visa During Coronavirus (COVID-19) Crisis

Extending a Thai Business Visa During Coronavirus (COVID-19) Crisis

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing Thai Business Visas; specifically we are discussing visa extension in the context of this coronavirus pandemic. 

For those who are avid watchers of this channel, you will know that Thai Non-immigrant visas especially Non-immigrant multiple entry visas, have become very problematic as a result of the Coronavirus because most of the borders are sealed now, effectively sealed, for purposes of Border runs and Visa runs and it is even very difficult now to get in and out of the country by air so air border runs for lack of a better term are getting more difficult.

In a recent article from the Phuket news, that is, the article is titled Phuket Immigration Confirms 500-Baht a Day Overstay Fines are Being Levied. We are quoting directly from this article but the person we are quoting and the person of interest here is Phuket Immigration Deputy Chief Lieutenant Colonel Udom Thongchin. Quoting directly from the article itself: "Lieutenant Colonel Udom also clarified that the issue of people having to leave the country because their permit to stay will expire does not apply to foreigners renewing their one-year extensions to stay. These are being processed as usual he said. If people are just renewing their one-year permit to stay as like they do every year they do not have to leave the country while waiting for their renewal to be approved. Just as usual these people are unaffected he said."

So clearly the extension process continues apace. Another thing to keep in mind that I thought was of note, if we are going into a hard lockdown here in Thailand and as of the time of this video  we are in the soft shut down at least here in Bangkok, that has been recently been imposed. If a hard lock down comes and it results in a countrywide or even here in Thailand just a citywide lock down that results in Thai Immigration being closed, this could have substantial ramifications and one of the ramifications is people's visa extensions could expire during the closure. How is this dealt with? In my opinion it is going to be dealt with in much the same way holidays and weekends are dealt with when a visa extension status expires. So if one's status expires over a weekend or over a prolonged holiday here in Thailand, the rule of thumb is the next available business day is the day upon which an application can and should be made for the extension. 

So those whose status expires over a presumed lockdown should keep an eye on if/when the Immigration office is going to reopen and they need to be very aware of the exact date when it reopens because on that date, you are going to want to get in there and get your extension application on file because failure to do so could result in substantial ramifications; most notably it could be considered an overstay even a day later. That can result in one's entire Immigration status falling apart as a result of that presumed overstay and then that could result in visa or border runs and as a result of that, and this is getting very much into speculation, it may not be possible to do a visa run, or a border run may be infeasible. So if  a lock down  occurs and one's business visa status expires during that lockdown, be assiduous in understanding when the expiration happens and when the Immigration Office reopens so as to be able to get into regular status as soon as possible.