Foreigners in Thailand can apply for visa extensions after July 31 hinh anh 1Foreigners wait at the Immigration Bureau's temporary office at the Central Investigation Bureau Building in Muang Thong Thani last week, seeking visa extensions after the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted their travel plans. (Photo: Thai Immigration Bureau)

Bangkok (VNA)
- Foreign visitors still stranded in Thailand by the COVID-19 pandemic will be allowed to apply for an extended short stay after their visas expire on July 31, the Thai Immigration Bureau chief said on July 17.

Foreign tourists who are unable to leave Thailand would be given a grace period from August 1 to September 26 to apply to stay for a specified period, said Pol Lt Gen Sompong Chingduang, the bureau commissioner.

However, if they do not obtain extensions and are still in the country after September 26, they would face legal action and be blacklisted, Bangkok Post reported.

He urged foreigners to contact the bureau as soon as possible to prepare for their next steps in order to avoid crowding as the September 26 deadline approaches.

Foreign visitors must specify their reasons and submit necessary documents when seeking to renew short-term visas, which will be granted for 30 days, he said.

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.

He said the bureau had asked the Council of State about the proposed short stay and it had advised that the Interior Ministry could issue an announcement. 

He said the Interior Ministry's visa relief measures for foreign visitors would be submitted to the cabinet for approval next week. The bureau would later issue guidelines on how to apply for a visa extension.

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