Foreigner exodus from Thailand postponed to September 26


After some confusion about the legal status of foreigners stuck in Thailand because of the coronavirus lockdown after July 31, the Thai immigration has now clarified that another automatic visa extension for all types of visas will be granted until September 26 without the need to visit an immigration office.

This extends the overall pandemic-induced visa amnesty to six months and means that foreigners whose visas had expired as of March 26 – when the initial amnesty became effective – will be permitted to stay until September 26 without having to formally apply for an extension, the Thai immigration bureau said in an announcement.

The immigration made it quite clear that holders of short-time visas – one to three months tourist and non-immigrant visas, visas on arrival – and visa-exempt foreigners will have to arrange to leave the country by that date. They number in the 400,000s.

It also looks like that authorities want to convey the message that there will be no further extensions, except in a few case of illness or other mitigating circumstances.

Further extensions only in special cases

Those most likely to obtain new visas will be foreigners married to Thais and/or with a Thai family, work permit applicants and holders, potential or actual students and the sick. They, however, will need to present voluminous documentation to justify their demand for a new visa, including a letter from their embassy to officially substantiate their situation, or a medical certificate in case of illness.

In case there are no flights operating or a destination country remains locked for returnees, a letter of confirmation from the embassy is needed as well. This letter should be presented at the Thai immigration office and, if an extraordinary extension is granted, it will not exceed 30 more days.

Some embassies, including those of the US, Canada and the UK, have already said they would not provide such a letter and recommend that their citizens leave Thailand. The Australian embassy said they would issue a letter, though.

After some confusion about the legal status of foreigners stuck in Thailand because of the coronavirus lockdown after July 31, the Thai immigration has now clarified that another automatic visa extension for all types of visas will be granted until September 26 without the need to visit an immigration office. This extends the overall pandemic-induced visa amnesty to six months and means that foreigners whose visas had expired as of March 26 – when the initial amnesty became effective – will be permitted to stay until September 26 without having to formally apply for an extension, the Thai immigration bureau...


After some confusion about the legal status of foreigners stuck in Thailand because of the coronavirus lockdown after July 31, the Thai immigration has now clarified that another automatic visa extension for all types of visas will be granted until September 26 without the need to visit an immigration office.

This extends the overall pandemic-induced visa amnesty to six months and means that foreigners whose visas had expired as of March 26 – when the initial amnesty became effective – will be permitted to stay until September 26 without having to formally apply for an extension, the Thai immigration bureau said in an announcement.

The immigration made it quite clear that holders of short-time visas – one to three months tourist and non-immigrant visas, visas on arrival – and visa-exempt foreigners will have to arrange to leave the country by that date. They number in the 400,000s.

It also looks like that authorities want to convey the message that there will be no further extensions, except in a few case of illness or other mitigating circumstances.

Further extensions only in special cases

Those most likely to obtain new visas will be foreigners married to Thais and/or with a Thai family, work permit applicants and holders, potential or actual students and the sick. They, however, will need to present voluminous documentation to justify their demand for a new visa, including a letter from their embassy to officially substantiate their situation, or a medical certificate in case of illness.

In case there are no flights operating or a destination country remains locked for returnees, a letter of confirmation from the embassy is needed as well. This letter should be presented at the Thai immigration office and, if an extraordinary extension is granted, it will not exceed 30 more days.

Some embassies, including those of the US, Canada and the UK, have already said they would not provide such a letter and recommend that their citizens leave Thailand. The Australian embassy said they would issue a letter, though.

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