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Posts Tagged ‘Thai Pass’

30th June 2022

Many Changes Afoot in Thailand

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There have been a number of changes in Thailand in recent weeks, most notably: the Thailand Pass system (which has persisted since March 2020 with the creation of certificates of entry). This system has proven to be a major hindrance to the recovery of the tourism sector in Thailand. Many in Thailand and around the world are happy to see the end of the system. Another significant change in recent weeks has been the repeal of the mask “mandate” (a supposed requirement notwithstanding a lack of legal codification) requiring people to wear a mask even in outdoor public places. The repeal of this “mandate” will likely prove a boon to the tourism industry in Thailand as these requirements (regardless of their legal foundation) may have put off a number of prospective travelers to Thailand.

On the Thai Immigration front, there have been several announcements in recent weeks regarding the creation of the Long Term Residence, or LTR, visa in Thailand (a “residence” visa in name only as these proposed visas appear to be non-immigrant in nature although they confer a substantial portion of lawful status in Thailand, namely 10 years). There appear to be four subcategories to choose from for the prospective long term “resident” in Thailand. One category appears aimed at high net worth retirees, while another is for those who invest significant capital into Thailand, another seems geared to long staying professionals, and finally there appears to be a “digital nomad” LTR visa. However, September is the earliest that it seems such visas will be available. Concurrently, it is noteworthy that this new visa category is unlikely to be utilized by a broad segment of the expat population in Thailand, but actual usage remains to be seen.

All of this news comes on the heels of a general easing of rules regarding establishments’ opening hours in Thailand as tourists begin to trickle back into the Kingdom and enjoy the various entertainment venues the country has to offer.

On the United States Immigration front, the backlog of cases continues to cause relative delays in processing compared to times past. Many are waiting longer time periods to see visas such as the K-1 visa to be issued. Meanwhile, those seeking immigrant spouse visas, such as the CR-1 visa or the IR-1 visa are dealing with increasing delays due to the review process at the National Visa Center. Hopefully these issues will abate throughout the remainder of 2022, but such developments remain to be seen.

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30th April 2022

It has recently come to this blogger’s attention that the Thailand Pass, a system not unlike the US’s Electronic System for Travel Authorization (also known as ESTA), will remain in place for at least the immediately foreseeable future. To quote directly from Thai PBS World:

The Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) will not scrap the “Thailand Pass” scheme, as has been widely anticipated, but will shorten the registration process for overseas tourists applying to enter Thailand as the “Test and Go” one-night quarantine scheme for the fully vaccinated is scheduled to come to an end on April 30, CCSA assistant spokesperson Sumanee Wacharasint said today (Thursday). Dr. Sumanee added, however, that when COVID-19 situation in the country steadily improves, the CCSA may consider further easing of restrictions. She explained that there are currently four steps in the “Thailand Pass” application process, namely checking of vaccination certification, checking of the evidence of advanced hotel bookings, checking of proof of insurance coverage while in Thailand, and proof of booking for RT-PCR testing…Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will personally oversee preparations by all agencies to cope with overseas arrivals, once the “Test and Go” scheme ends on April 30, according to Traisulee Traisoranakul, deputy spokesperson for Government House today (Thursday).

The Thai Pass has proven to be an obstacle to seeing tourism fully recover in Thailand as many prospective tourists do not wish to undertake the process of getting a Thailand Pass issued. That stated, there is reason to be hopeful for the return of tourists to Thailand as a substantial amount of obstacles have been removed for both vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers wishing to gain admission to Thailand. Most notably, either of the aforementioned groups of travelers, with correct documentation, can now avoid the need to quarantine in a Thai hotel. This requirement, sometimes referred to as the Test and Go program, has been removed.

Notwithstanding recent announcements from the Biden administration regarding the desire to decease the Immigration case processing backlog, US visa cases are still processing in a relatively slower manner than they were prior to the pandemic. This seems to be especially true in cases where applicants are seeking immigrant spouse visas, such as the CR-1 visa and the IR-1 visa, for the USA. The National Visa Center seems to be a major sticking point in terms of overall processing time. For this reason, some prospective immigrants are opting to use the K-1 visa rather than an immigrant spouse visa in order to gain admission to the USA more quickly. Hopefully the situation will improve over the course of the rest of the year and we will update this blog accordingly.

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