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Thousands of Russians extend their visas to stay in Phuket

Russians in Phuket
PHOTO: Russians in Phuket now seeking extensions

Over 7,600 Russians extended their visas in Phuket during March, according to Phuket immigration.

As the conflict continues, following last year’s brutal Russian invasion of Ukraine, many Russian citizens are seeking to find a new place to live – either for the short term or the long term.

According to a Bangkok Post report, a total of 7,596 Russians sought extensions to their immigration status, many who arrived in Phuket on the current 45 day visa extension. It is understood most Russian people are ineligible for the usual 30 day extension of the visa waiver.

Russians also make up the most foreign arrivals by nationality, followed by India, Kazakstan, England, and Australia. In total, Phuket Immigration reported that 31,128 foreign nationals have sought to extend their stay in Phuket, including Russian citizens.

Russian arrivals are three times more than the Number 2 most numerous nationality arriving in Phuket, visitors from India. 3,000 – 4,000 Russian visitors arrive each day.

There’s no doubt the Russians are flocking to Phuket, many of whom want to escape their country while it remains at war with Ukraine. There are still many countries not allowing Russian people to enter their country at the moment. Thailand has been welcoming the Russian arrivals since last September and the daily arrivals have been steadily increasing.

Some are even hoping to leave their country for good due to the war situation and its effect on the Russian economy.

But the unintended consequences of a large surge of arrivals from one particular country is putting pressure on Phuket immigration, as well the prices of villa rentals, motorbikes, cars and even eateries in the most popular tourist locations on the island.

Visa agents say there is high demand from Russian customers looking to find some legal long-term means of staying in Thailand whilst the wealthier Russian arrivals are opting for the Elite Visas which allow stays from 5 years to 20 years.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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