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Immigration officials trying to secure new measures for foreigners seeking visa extensions

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Immigration officials trying to secure new measures for foreigners seeking visa extensions | Samui Times
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On Friday, like so many immigration offices around the nation, Koh Samui’s Immigration office was swarmed by foreigners trying to extend visas in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis.

With all the immigration offices everywhere finding it difficult to cope with the consequences of the Covid-19 outbreak, Thai immigration officials are pursuing the approval of new measures to categorise foreigners stranded in Thailand.

There will be three categories:

  • Foreigners with resident visas who normally reside in Thailand but cannot return to Thailand due to the Covid-19 crisis
  • Foreign tourists who are unable to depart Thailand due to the crisis
  • Visitors from neighbouring countries who hold a temporary border pass and were stuck in Thailand after the borders were shut

Bangkok Post reports “foreigners in the first group are normally required to return to Thailand within 12 months of their departure and because they might not be able to re-enter the country in time, the Immigration Bureau will propose extending their compulsory return deadline until after the pandemic subsides.”

“The extension of the return period would not affect any immigration rights and benefits they usually receive when strictly following the one-year return period requirement.”

Although, immigration officials are advising them to return to Thailand as soon as possible after the situation improves and they can safely travel again.

“For foreign tourists in the second group who reported to immigration authorities for a 30 day extension after their visas expired on, or after, March 26, their visas will be automatically renewed every 30 days until the pandemic subsides.”

The updated measures, as recommended, won’t apply to any foreigners who are currently working and/or have a family in Thailand.

“They will still be required to report to immigration authorities regularly.”

“For visitors from neighbouring countries in the third group, they will be allowed to stay in Thailand until the borders are re-opened. They will be required to leave Thailand within seven days after the borders reopen.”

“Foreigners who are in Thailand and affected by the Covid-19 crisis, but not covered in the three new categories are advised to adhere to the usual laws,” (meaning they will likely be required to report to a local Immigration office).

Please be aware that these measures have NOT yet been approved.

The proposal will be suggested in the cabinet meeting today.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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