Integrity Legal

30th June 2022

Many Changes Afoot in Thailand

Posted by : admin

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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