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Thai Visa Extension Issues & COVID-19 Embassy Letters

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing COVID-19 yet again.  It has become a bit of a ubiquitous topic on this channel because a lot of folks are having issues associated with this.

This video is specifically aimed at those of you out there who are in Thailand. You have maintained your status using an Embassy letter to be granted an extension of stay in Thailand due to being stranded by COVID-19 or perhaps not specifically COVID-19, but flight cancellations due to COVID-19, inability to do border runs etc. arising out of this COVID-19 set of circumstances. 

Now I have done some videos already on the automatic visa extension if you want to call it that, or Visa amnesty or Visa waiver. I am not going to continue in that specifically. I am talking to you folks whose visa expired prior to March 26th, 2020 who had to get an Embassy letter in order to continue staying in Thailand. You probably were issued a stamp that said "under consideration" or something akin to "pending consideration" until further notice; something akin to that. You did your best. Your Visa may have expired on the 20th. You took all the necessary measures to maintain status and you got an Embassy letter and you got Thai Immigration to issue you a further extension.

At first glance and I will be the first to admit that the vagueness and the speed at which this policy came down as well as just the general nuance of Thai Immigration regulations and the entire system, could be described as byzantine. That is not an insult. It is just that the system is large. It has been around for a while. It has continuously evolved and it has all these different streams and eddies associated with it. At first glance the new announcement would seem to have suggested that those who were expiring in the window of March 26th to April 30th, would just be granted an amnesty until April 30th and then also as part of that they are going to roll this over for as long as needs be. It looks to me like those who expired prior to the window, prior to March 26th, those who expired prior to that date, those folks are going to be considered not falling into that window and it looks like their status was considered sort of "under review". Whatever date was placed on there is now their date but they are still under review. So it looks to me like depending on the office you talk to, and we have had clients that have talked to other offices outside Bangkok, we have talked to Bangkok and we have gotten some kind of conflicting information but it looks to me if you had an "under consideration" stamp or like a "pending" stamp, then you still need to visit Immigration again to sort of regularize your status, get yourself into this regular window between March 26th and April 30th and then start rolling with what may end up being an ongoing amnesty for at least the next few weeks or possibly a couple of months; although I think a couple of months is a little long. You need to go regularize your status. This is a big difference between those who entered with a Tourist Visa that for lack of a better term “naturally expired” within the window. So this is really nuance stuff and it is really specific but if you got an Embassy letter it looks to me like you are not considered having “expired” under the window period and therefore you need to take further steps to regularize and normalize your status so you can keep rolling with the amnesty.

We will update you further on this channel as things progress but as of the time of this video, that looks like how things sit for those who previously had to get an Embassy letter in order to maintain status and then get into this 26th to April 30th window.