As foreigners in Thailand, yes, we are aware the Thai government has more than their hands full in Thailand’s floods, with new problems popping up every hour and, yes, we do sympathize. However, the Thai government has not yet made any statement about cancelling overstay fines for foreigners who either can’t get to immigration to extend visas, or get to a Thai border to do a visa run. That Thailand’s tourist numbers keep falling isn’t surprising, when you consider how little the Thai government seems to care about foreign visitors (and it’s not just Yingluck Shinawatra’s government, it’s been every Thai government for decades).
For those foreign visitors to Thailand, or for residents who need to extend or renew visas, if they’re not done by the expiration date on the visa, the Thai immigration department charges a fine of 500 baht ($16.66) per day. This fine continues to mount up until it reaches the huge sum of 20,000 baht ($666), where it stops. In some areas of Thailand, where flooding is very bad, some foreigners could foreseeably get stuck for more than a month and, as well as having to deal with the shock of being stuck in flood waters, also have to come up with money to pay a ridiculous overstay fine.
For foreigners who are in flooded areas and cannot get to an immigration office or a border before their visa expires, and particularly for those foreigners who are in areas where the immigration office itself has closed due to floods, it’s crazy that they’re still expected to pay a 500 baht per day fine.
Yingluck Shinawatra’s government should have made a statement on this before now and declared an amnesty on fines, and not still be subjecting foreign tourists and residents (who bring hundreds of millions of dollars into Thailand every year) to exorbitant overstay fines.
We’ll keep you updated as the situation progresses.