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Foreigners can apply for visa extensions after July 31

Long queues of foreign nationals at the Immigration Bureau office at the Government Complex in Nonthaburi on March 23, seeking visa extensions after the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted their travel plans. The bureau later declared a “visa amnesty” until July 31 to reduce the risk of crowding at its offices. (File photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

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Foreign visitors still stranded in the kingdom by the Covid-19 pandemic will be allowed to apply for an extended short stay after their visas expire on July 31, the Immigration Bureau chief said on Friday.

Foreign tourists who are unable to leave Thailand would be given a grace period from Aug 1 to Sept 26 to apply to stay for a specified period, said the bureau. However, if they do not obtain extensions and are still in the country after Sept 26, they would face legal action and be blacklisted.

Foreigners should contact the bureau as soon as possible to prepare for their next steps as the Sept 26 deadline approached.

Foreign visitors must submit necessary documents when seeking to renew short-term visas, which will be granted for 30 days.

"If they are unable to return because there are no flights or due to lockdown measures in their countries, they must submit proof. The granting of a short-stay visa will be made on a case-by-case basis," an immigration official said during a visit to Phuket, a province with a high number of stranded foreigners. 

He estimated that between 300,000 and 400,000 foreigners were stranded in the kingdom due to the lockdown. 

The government earlier automatically extended their visas until July 31, but they must still inform authorities where they are staying.

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