Saturday marks the end of the line for foreigners riding Thailand’s visa-amnesty train, with the Immigration Bureau choosing to start fining overstayers Nov. 1 rather than continue to give them blanket protection from prosecution.
Separate sources told the Bangkok Herald that immigration officers informed them Thursday that there will be no last-minute – or after the last minute – extension of the visa amnesty that began March 26. But unlike Sept. 26, when there was a rush to airport by people unable to obtain extensions or face arrest, the Immigration Bureau is taking a slightly softer line starting in November.
From Monday, for 90 days, overstaying farangs can still apply for a 60-day visa extension and only pay the normal fine of 500 baht a day up to 20,000 baht. However, if overstayers are caught outside a bureau office without proof they have applied for an extension, they will be arrested, fined and deported.
Unlike before, a letter from an embassy or consulate confirming the applicant is unable to return home is not requried. Instead applicants fill out a self-affidavit.
Immigration officials previously said that extensions are “unlimited” but will be granted each time on a case-by-case basis.
Immigration’s Chaeng Wattana headquarters and the satellite office at Muang Thong Thani in Nonthaburi will be open Oct. 31 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. but, another sign that no further extension is coming, Phuket’s immigration office will be closed.