Anxious foreigners staying in Thailand with automatically extended, but expired, visas are trying to read the tea leaves about what the Immigration Bureau is planning for when the visa amnesty expires July 31.
On Friday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Natapanu Nopakun said that the topic of another automatic extension is being discussed with a decision announced soon.
Yet, the same day, the bureau released a graphic in English and Thai (below) announcing that it will reopen its Muang Thong Thani overflow office July July 13. Foreigners who recently visited Thai Immigration’s Chaeng Wattana Government Complex headquarters posted on Twitter that agents there said they “expected to be very busy soon”.
Before the visa amnesty was granted, about 3,000 people were lining up a day at Chaeng Wattana to extend their stays, file 90-day reports or get other visa-related matters processed. At least one immigration officer tested positive for Covid-19 and both the public and government feared the massive crowds would become a super-spreader venue for the coronavirus.
To relieve congestion, the bureau opened a second facility at Muang Thong Thani, located a few kilometers from the main office. There it handled routine and minor business such as taking 90-day reports, alien residence reports, and 30-day tourist-visa extensions.
All other matters still have to be processed at the main office.
As seen in Friday’s graphic below, those same issues, plus visas on arrival, exemptions and transit visa, plus lost passport issues, will again be handled in Muang Thong Thani starting Monday the 13th.
So what will the 31st bring? Will huge crowds of retirement and non-immigrant visas descend upon Chaeng Wattana? Wiill there be a massive rush on the airport and bus terminals to get out of the country? Will there be another amnesty?
At this point, reading tea leaves is all we have.