Chonburi Immigration is confirming this morning, Wednesday 26 January, that visa extensions based on the Covid discretion are now restricted. Eligible foreigners are those who originally entered the country on a 60 days tourist visa, granted by a Thai diplomatic post abroad, or with 30 days visa exempt stamped at Bangkok airport.
Holders of non-immigrant visas of any kind cannot now extend or renew their stay by using the Covid route. Obviously, they can continue to obtain extensions of stay if they qualify under the rules of that non-immigrant visa. For example, holders of non-immigrant visas based on retirement can continue to obtain their annual extensions provided they have the necessary bank or embassy documentation as in the past.
The rationale for the new Covid-related rule is that the discretion was introduced two years ago to extend the stay of “tourists” who were stranded by the virus pandemic. People holding non-immigrant visas are no longer deemed to be holiday makers in that context.
Individuals who cannot extend or renew their visas in Thailand are given 7 days by the immigration bureau to leave the country. The Covid extensions for “tourists” are available until March 25, likely the terminal date for the discretion.