Thailand: Visa extensions getting greater scrutiny

What is the change? Authorities have become stricter in reviewing documents submitted for visa extension applications via the regular process.

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What does the change mean? In addition to more closely scrutinizing the required documents, authorities are also requesting that sponsoring employers and foreign employees provide revised documents (such as retaking office photographs) or additional documents.

  • Implementation timeframe: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Long-term visas.
  • Who is affected: Foreign employees applying for visa extensions.
  • Business impact: Employers should anticipate delays in processing times and a more burdensome process in completing work authorization formalities.

Background: The trend recently emerged in the long-term visa extension application process. Although authorities have not issued any official announcements or guidelines, companies have been experiencing delays and difficulties in extending visas for their foreign employees. Required documents, including documents officially certified by other Thai government departments, are being very closely scrutinized and information within the documents is being questioned by the immigration authorities. However, only extensions via the regular process are impacted; visa extension applications through the One Stop Service Center (OSSC) remain unaffected.

BAL Analysis: To avoid potential delays or rejection of visa extensions, it is highly recommended that employers prepare the required documents in advance and file the application well ahead of time. BAL will continue to monitor this trend and provide updates on any additional changes.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Thailand. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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