The Thai Immigration Bureau has approved an extension of time for visa extensions for COVID-19 reasons until 25th March 2022. The order does not cover persons holding visa on arrival, tourist visa, or non-immigrant visa.
The Covid-19 extension of stay visa or exemption that travelers may acquire at the Thai Immigration Bureau offices around the nation, while the amount of paperwork and hurdles to go through varies by area, was designed for persons caught during the pandemic and unable to return home. However, as the pandemic progressed, the stamp became available to nearly everyone in the Kingdom who wished to stay longer during Covid-19.
The Thai Immigration Bureau officers in the office where you submit your paperwork have always had the final say on whether or not you get an extension stamp. Many places have been rubber-stamping the extension for anybody who files for it indefinitely, but that is changing, according to an official notice from the Thai Immigration Bureau.
In most situations, incoming travelers will be given a 30-day extension before being eligible to apply for a Covid-19 visa stamp. People who have lived here for months or years may be denied an extension the next time they apply. There is no assurance that you will receive an extension stamp, but many individuals are recommending people to be nice and on their best behavior, dress correctly (no more skimpier outfits at the Thai Immigration Bureau office), mask up, and observe the Covid-19 safety requirements.
Who cannot apply for visa extension according to Thai Immigration Bureau
The official announcement from the Thai Immigration Bureau is as follows:
The [Thai] Immigration Bureau has approved an extension of time for visa extensions for COVID-19 reasons until 25th March 2022, under the following conditions:
- Persons entering the Kingdom with VISA ON ARRIVAL (VOA) cannot extend their visa for this reason
- Persons entering the Kingdom with a TOURIST VISA can extend a tourist visa for an additional 30 days and then they can submit a reason to stay for COVID-19.
- Persons entering the Kingdom as a temporary person, NON-IMMIGRANT VISA, cannot be extended for COVID-19
In the case of tourists already in the country. At the end of the 60-day period for permission to stay in the Kingdom, this time they must leave the country. Or if there is a necessity to stay, there are able to submit an application to stay in accordance with the laws, regulations, and rules set forth.
Other key details from the Thai Immigration Bureau
A signed letter from Thai Immigration Bureau addressing the 60-day “Covid” visa extension deadline was leaked on the eve of January 24. While no formal announcement has been made, the paper indicates that the time to seek for an extension has been pushed back from today to March 25.
The document contains certain important facts that foreign residents in Thailand should be aware of. Here are the portions of the document that have been translated from Thai to English for people having a Visa on Arrival, Tourist Visa, or Non-Immigrant Visa:
Section 3 regarding Visa on Arrival
Foreigners travelling to the Kingdom and having a Visa on Arrival are unable to request to stay in the Kingdom temporarily according to this letter and cannot request to change the type of visa. Asked to follow the [Thai Immigration Bureau] letter No. 0029.161/ว 3808 dated December 9, 2021, regarding guidelines for compliance with immigration laws.
Section 4 regarding a Tourist Visa
In the case of foreigners entering the Kingdom by obtaining a Tourist Visa (TR), if wishing to stay in the Kingdom temporarily, they have to submit an application to temporarily stay in the Kingdom according to the necessity reason as stated in item 2.4 first. If still unable to travel back out of the Kingdom, they can apply to stay in the Kingdom temporarily according to this letter.
Section 5 regarding Non-Immigrant Visa
In the case of foreigners entering the Kingdom by receiving a temporary visa (Non-Immigrant Visa), cannot request to stay in the Kingdom temporarily according to this letter. If wishing to temporarily stay in the Kingdom, have to proceed according to Order No. 327/2014 regarding criteria and conditions for considering an alien applying for a temporary stay in the Kingdom, dated June 30, 2014 and amended, and Immigration Order No. 138/ 2014 with subject: List of Documents Supporting Consideration in Case of Aliens Applying to Stay in the Kingdom for a Temporary Stay dated July 7, 2014.
Foreigners on non-immigrant or on-arrival visa confused and dismayed
Long-staying foreign visitors in Thailand are confused and dismayed, as many were delighted to see the Covid-19 visa exemption renewed, but missed the rigorous adjustments in the tiny print. While the order was last-minutely extended from January 25 to March 25, the number of persons who can enjoy the benefits of the easy-to-extend visa exemption was limited.
For Westerners living in Thailand for an extended period of time, the glorious days of avoiding unpleasant border hops during the pandemic are over. The newly amended Covid-19 extension stamp is now only available to people who have a tourist visa or a free tourist exemption stamp prior to applying for the Covid-19 extension. Those on any type of non-immigrant visa or who have acquired a visa on arrival are no longer entitled to prolong their stay in Thailand indefinitely on the basis of the Covid-19 pandemic.
People who went to the office of Thai Immigration Bureau anticipating another 30-day extension were instead issued a stamp denying their request and giving them only seven days to depart Thailand. Online and on social media, frantic commentators have recounted horror stories of trying to get their affairs in order and locate a place to stay in less than a week. Many people are seeking for the simplest way to pass the time before returning to Thailand.
In another order, the Thai Immigration Bureau is resuming it’s quarantine-free Test & Go entry scheme for tourists entering Thailand.