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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawVisa NewsImportant Date for Tourists Stranded in Thailand Due to COVID-19

Important Date for Tourists Stranded in Thailand Due to COVID-19

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing the Coronavirus outbreak or COVID-19 and folks who are stranded here in Thailand in Tourist Visa status.

As the title of this video suggests, the date March 26th, is kind of a red letter date with respect to those who are stranded in Thailand and I will get to that in a moment. 

In a recent article we have come across from Bangkok Post, that is bangkokpost.com, the article is titled Immigration Bureau Pursues Visa Relief for Foreigners. I have taken a little bit of flack in both emails as well as in comments on this channel that I quote the newspaper as they say, and we do actually receive the print version of Bangkok Post. I actually enjoy reading the Bangkok Post but when I am doing these when I am putting together these videos, I tend to go ahead and print stuff off to provide further insight.  I do understand folks say "Why are you just reading the newspaper?"  Well one, some folks don't go looking for this information and this channel acts as a sort of, I hesitate to use the term news aggregator, but on the specific topic of Thai Visas and Immigration related matters, we do tend to try to distill down the most relevant information we can as it is coming out and as timely as possible. 

I don't make videos everyday necessarily although we do publish them every day. I try to make these videos as timely as I can and as topical as I can; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. The reason I am quoting in this situation, the reason we often quote, is quite frankly these various news outlets especially Bangkok Post, the Nation, Khaosod English, some of these sites, some of these news organizations they are very good at what day do and they do know who their readers are. In the case of the Bangkok Post, a number of their readers are Expats and those Expats want to know about Visa related matters. They also are well aware that they are the English language paper of record here for Thailand and again especially for tourists, that’s a major thing; folks want to know what is going on with Immigration.

Another reason I am quoting this one directly is because in the body of this article they quote directly from Lieutenant General Sompong Chingduang who is the Head of Thai Immigration. It recently came to my attention the following quote from this article, quoting directly: "For foreign tourists in the second group”, (and to go back the second group they talk about earlier, I urge those who are watching this video check out this article for more information, but the second group is "foreign tourists who are unable to depart Thailand due to the crisis”.) So “foreign tourists in the second group of reported to Immigration authorities for a 30-day extension after their visas expire on March 26th or thereafter, their visas will be automatically renewed every 30 days until the pandemic subsides, said Lieutenant General Sompong Chingduang."  

So March 26th is an important date. We talked about automatic visa extensions in the discussion of the Cabinet resolution that approved this in principal and the operative day for that was March 1st. They said if “you were in Thailand after March 1st in Tourist Visa status of some sort, we will go ahead and figure out something to deal with you folks” and they are. They have come up with various schemes and hopefully we are going to see something that is just sort of an across-the-board automatic scheme but as of yet we don't know exactly what I is going to look like. This current situation looks like you are going to have to deal with doing one extension. So folks who extend on or after March 26th, they will then be able to see their visas extended automatically thereafter. Quoting further from both the article and the Head of immigration:  "Under the Government's social distancing policy, these tourists will no longer have to visit the Immigration Bureau and risk contracting the virus in a crowd, he said." So again, Thai Immigration seems concerned with dealing with the crowds at Thai Immigration but they have to balance that concern and they have to balance the concerns surrounding Coronavirus with their mandate to monitor and enforce relevant Thai Immigration Law. So there are going to be people who for whatever reason due to the date that they arrived or just due to the circumstances of their status in Thailand, may have to deal with Immigration, may have to go down there but it looks to me like this initiative is going to basically drastically reduce the number of folks that are going to have to be at Thai Immigration. 

That being said, if you are confused by this March 26th date and whether or not you need to extend or what you need to do or how your status is going to work, for those who need clarification please feel free to contact us and we are happy to discuss these matters with you. Depending on the circumstances, we may be able to assist and we may not and we can provide opinions where you deem it necessary and we can go from there.