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The Immigration Office in Phuket Town was filled with foreigners looking to prolong their stay in the kingdom, ahead of the amnesty ending on Saturday.
The line to reach the Immigration Office stretched over to the area set up in front of the main house, with officers posted there to handle applicants instead of overcrowding the office inside.
In the meanwhile, the row of vehicles lining up in the Drive Through backed up to the curb while police tried to review both applications received while fast as they could.
Some of the foreigners claimed they had arrived at the office in the morning, and were still there at 3 pm this afternoon. One foreigner clarified, however, that filing his application was postponed because he missed some of the necessary papers.
The regular fines of B500 a day fine would be paid by any foreigners whose stay permits remain expired from Sunday onward. In addition, any foreigner found overstaying in the country for more than 90 days may face blacklisting.
Pol Col Pakpong Sai-ubol, the deputy spokesperson of the Immigration Bureau, has warned,
“Overstaying the visitor visa is punishable by both a prison term and fine under the Immigration Act.”
Offenders will also be recalled to their countries of birth, he said, said the Bangkok Post earlier today.
Col Pakpong also warned out that more than 150,000 international visitors already wanted to get their visitor visas extended by Sept 26 or risk an accusation of overstaying.
Deputy Chief Lt Col Udom Thongchin of Phuket Immigration told The Phuket News today,
"According to our statistics, a total of 1,641 foreigners on the visitor or long-stay visas who have not yet come to our office to renew their visa have five days remaining to renew their visa."
“Since last week, we have been running around 190 applications a day, ” he added.
"This Saturday (Sept 26) is the last day for filing applications [before the fines fall into effect]," he said.
"So this Saturday, at 8:30 am in the morning, we will open our office to service foreigners and we will remain open to process all requests received on that day, even if we have to operate until midnight," he added.
“But after Sept 26, foreigners will be charged B500 a day if their visa has not been extended,” he warned.
We genuinely don't want to fine them, however, we have to uphold the rules. Please come and renew your visa on time, ” he urged.
The Phuket News, another Immigration officer, talked to highly advised foreigners to ensure that they carry all the necessary paperwork in order to prolong their application.
"A number of foreigners are here today to prolong their visas. Many of them did not have any of the documentation required, which rendered it slower to process their applications and grant their extensions to remain.
“If citizens have all the right records, that would allow them to operate quicker and better, ” the officer said.