Thailand extends all visas amid COVID-19 fears at immigration centers

Hundreds queue Wednesday morning outside immigration offices in Pattaya. Photo: Pattaya Expats Club / Facebook
Hundreds queue Wednesday morning outside immigration offices in Pattaya. Photo: Pattaya Expats Club / Facebook

To prevent long queues and crowding at immigration centers at a time of mandated social distancing, the government yesterday approved automatic extensions of all visa types for foreigners in Thailand. 

The Immigration Bureau announced Wednesday that foreigners who entered Thailand before the borders were closed would have their visas automatically extended through the end of April, for now. 

The 90-day reporting requirement has also been suspended until April 30. 

The person whose visas has expired from 26th of March 2020 will be automatically extended to 30th of April 2020. There is no need to apply for a visa extension at Immigration Office for this period and will not be fined THB500 per day for this case,” wrote the announcement. “Aliens who are due for 90 days reports between 26th of March 2020 and 30th of April 2020 are temporarily exempted from reporting in this period until further notice.”

The announcement said the date could be further extended depending the situation. More details are available online. Migrants holding border passes will also be allowed to stay, but must depart within a week of the borders reopening.

Complaints had been rising in recent weeks as images of immigration offices overwhelmed with crowds contrasted government calls for the public to maintain their distance to stem the spread of the deadly coronavirus pandemic. At least 30 people have been killed since it broke out.

Thailand on Thursday reported 54 new COVID-19 infections and two deaths, bringing the total of confirmed cases to 2,423 since January. At least 32 people have died.

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