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Immigration Drops Covid-19 Test Requirement for Renewing Thailand Visas

Thailand Coronavirus Testing Covid-19 test

The Immigration Bureau backed down from a proposal to require foreigners seeking to extend visas to produce proof of a negative coronavirus test, calling it a “misunderstanding”.

Bureau spokesman Archayon Kraithong had said Monday that the new requirement would take effect at the end of this month and apply to all visas, regardless of how long the expat has been in the country.

After widespread uproar, immigration officials quickly began backpedaling, with Archayon saying he was “misinformed”. He said the test requirement will only apply to specific visa types, most likey those for permanent residency.

Regulations requiring negative coronavirus tests were published in the Royal Gazette with little notice Dec. 25 as an update to the list of diseases, such as leprosy and syphilis, visa-seekers must test negative for. Before Covid-19 can be added to that list, an interpretation must be made by the Council of State, he said.

While Thais have been able to get free or very cheap Covid-19 tests, foreigners have been subjected to fees of 7,000 baht or more.