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Mae Sai Visa Run


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#1 aliep

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Posted 2013-01-04 12:37:34

My friend (British, over 50) flew in from China on 24th October with a return flight to China scheduled on his ticket for 28th February. He was given 30 days visa to stay. He is now staying up in Chiang Rai and has made 4 border crossings at Mae Sai to Tachileik and been given a further 14 days on each stay. Yesterday was the fourth crossing and on departure the Immigration official screamed to him, "only 3, only 3, must get outside visa". She has given him a further 14 days to stay, and marked a "1" on his passport, but my friends return flight is 28th February. He has the return ticket and can show this if needed. What is his best course of action? Could he buy a 7 day visa in 13 days and then do more Mae Sai border crossings? Must he leave the country and return by air? or must he leave and go to a Thai embassy overseas and apply for a visa?
Many thanks in advance for any assistance you can offer.

#2 Mario2008

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Posted 2013-01-04 12:45:11

There is no official rule that limits the number of crossings one can make.

If she marekd 1, thst should mean he can still make 2 more. His ticket might convince immigration to allow.
A 7 day "extension" is best gotten last, as he might need to show a ticket out for that.


If he can proof he has an income of 65,000 a month, he can have his ncome certified by his embassy and try to conver to a non-immigrant visa for 90 days. But he must he must hurry to do so.

#3 HullyGully

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Posted 2013-01-04 12:52:39

Firstly Tourist visa (VOA) are intended for a short visa, you can extend by a visa run for 14 days

You are lucky IMM have previously given you extension

You should have obtained a 60 day Tourist Visa at the Thai Embassy, this could be single or multiple entry..which means you could stay for 6 moths with visa runs

I would first suggest you go and talk to IMM with you ticket in hand and qask them if the will extend...Its worth asking, however I have my doubts

To get a new VOA you would need to fly out of Thailand and come back by air...or leave early

OR overstay and pay 500baht a day fine

#4 Mario2008

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Posted 2013-01-04 12:57:02

Firstly Tourist visa (VOA) are intended for a short visa, you can extend by a visa run for 14 days

You are lucky IMM have previously given you extension

You should have obtained a 60 day Tourist Visa at the Thai Embassy, this could be single or multiple entry..which means you could stay for 6 moths with visa runs

I would first suggest you go and talk to IMM with you ticket in hand and qask them if the will extend...Its worth asking, however I have my doubts

To get a new VOA you would need to fly out of Thailand and come back by air...or leave early

OR overstay and pay 500baht a day fine


As a British national he does not qualifies for Visa On Arrival, nor does he has one.

What he has is a visa exempt entry, on which there is no offical limit.

He can only get an extra 7 days to leave the country from immigration.

#5 villagefarang

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Posted 2013-01-04 13:08:13

Tomorrow, Jan 5th, is the first saturday of the month so Mae Sai immigration will be setup, as usual, at Central Plaza in Chiang Rai. If your friend is closer to town than the border then it would be an opportune time to go ask them for advice.

#6 bobl

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Posted 2013-01-04 14:08:32

There is no official rule that limits the number of crossings one can make.

There is now. As of Jan 1 the "new rules" are, maximum 3 back-to-back border crossings (2 week VE stamps).

That is a quote direct from Mae Sai immigration as of 4 hours ago, so I can confirm first hand the 'rumour' that's been seen in a few other posts regarding 15 day VE stamps.

#7 ubonjoe

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Posted 2013-01-04 14:16:44

It seems that it is time for some people to get tourist visas instead of doing those crazy border runs every 2 weeks.
A 2 entry visa from Vientiane equals about 10 border runs that don't need to be made

Edited by ubonjoe, 2013-01-04 14:19:15.


#8 motdaeng

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Posted 2013-01-04 15:13:15

an other option if he stays in chiang rai, a visa run to laos (by bus about 3 1/2 h to chiang khong) ...

#9 aliep

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Posted 2013-01-05 08:44:54

Thanks for all your comments, we will go to Central today and ask. Actually my friend did go to Mae Sai Immigration office (1km before the border) and ask on his way to do the border run and they said they didn't know and he should go to the border and ask. New rules from 1st Jan with 3 back to back VE allowed sounds about right. Current plan is to do the 3 back to back border crossings allowed from 1/1/2013 and then ask Immigration office for a 7 day paid extension followed by 1 more VE crossing into Tachileik, leaving as planned 7 days later, perhaps he will have to pay 7 days overstay, we'll see.

#10 my friend I

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Posted 2013-01-05 09:12:59

Go to Golden Triangle/Chiang Saen. Cross to Burma casino. Come back to Thai.

#11 mickjn

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Posted 2013-01-05 09:18:50

Do you mean she screamed at him for no reason only for the visa no other reason.Was she like she had a mental problem.She wasnt provoked in anyway

#12 aliep

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Posted 2013-01-05 09:39:36

Do you mean she screamed at him for no reason only for the visa no other reason.Was she like she had a mental problem.She wasnt provoked in anyway

I wasn't there, but in my experience, there are many reasons women scream at men!

#13 aliep

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Posted 2013-01-05 09:41:13

Go to Golden Triangle/Chiang Saen. Cross to Burma casino. Come back to Thai.

He crossed to Burma at Mae Sai, I can't see why going to Burma at Chiang Saen should be any different or am I missing something?

#14 ubonjoe

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Posted 2013-01-05 11:12:04

Thanks for all your comments, we will go to Central today and ask. Actually my friend did go to Mae Sai Immigration office (1km before the border) and ask on his way to do the border run and they said they didn't know and he should go to the border and ask. New rules from 1st Jan with 3 back to back VE allowed sounds about right. Current plan is to do the 3 back to back border crossings allowed from 1/1/2013 and then ask Immigration office for a 7 day paid extension followed by 1 more VE crossing into Tachileik, leaving as planned 7 days later, perhaps he will have to pay 7 days overstay, we'll see.

The 7 day extension (1900 baht) probably will not be granted unless he has ticket out of the country within those seven days.
Why not just make a trip to Vientiane Laos for a tourist visa. It would not be much more money and less time spent than doing those border runs and extension from immigration. Nok Air has flights from Chiang Mai to Udon Thani and from there it is just a short trip to the bridge in Nong Kai.
The 7 day overstay would cost 3500 baht and is not a good option at all.

Edited by ubonjoe, 2013-01-05 11:22:43.


#15 mickjn

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Posted 2013-01-05 12:38:48

No I meant a Thai Immigration Officer screaming at a visitor

#16 aliep

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Posted 2013-01-05 18:53:43

Go to Golden Triangle/Chiang Saen. Cross to Burma casino. Come back to Thai.

We asked at immigration, Central Plaza today and they referred us to the senior officer present who said 3 back to back at the same land border is the maximum permitted since 1/1/2013, he advised not to go to Mae Sai but to Laos via Chiang Khong next time and the process will start again after that with a further 3 at Mae Sai permitted. He only needs one more than the 3 permitted this year to reach his departure date of 28/2.

#17 villagefarang

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Posted 2013-01-05 19:15:06


Go to Golden Triangle/Chiang Saen. Cross to Burma casino. Come back to Thai.

We asked at immigration, Central Plaza today and they referred us to the senior officer present who said 3 back to back at the same land border is the maximum permitted since 1/1/2013, he advised not to go to Mae Sai but to Laos via Chiang Khong next time and the process will start again after that with a further 3 at Mae Sai permitted. He only needs one more than the 3 permitted this year to reach his departure date of 28/2.

Thanks for the follow up, perhaps it will help others.Posted Image I have always found the Mae Sai officials very helpful even in the face of a very stressful job.

Edited by villagefarang, 2013-01-05 19:16:51.


#18 aliep

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Posted 2013-01-05 20:13:44

Do you mean she screamed at him for no reason only for the visa no other reason.Was she like she had a mental problem.She wasnt provoked in anyway

I don't know whether she was provoked, it's possible. You either take a like or an instant dislike to my friend, there is usually no inbetween. He is an "in your face" kind of guy. He could have upset her, or she may have just been having a bad day as we all do sometimes and there may have been no good reason. My experience in Mae Sai is that the immigration officials are incredibly nice and helpful people. I wish I could say the same about the people in Jomtien. I remember being told once by the Honorary Vice Consul that if a certain officer there took a dislike to you, no matter what you did, you would never, ever get a retirement visa at that office.

#19 motdaeng

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Posted 2013-01-05 20:15:12


Go to Golden Triangle/Chiang Saen. Cross to Burma casino. Come back to Thai.

He crossed to Burma at Mae Sai, I can't see why going to Burma at Chiang Saen should be any different or am I missing something?


other immigration officers and maybe other rules .... just a thought

#20 sunholidaysun1

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Posted 2013-01-06 11:25:13

Are any other border crossings following the same rules as Chiang Rai / Mae Sai . Seems odd that they are saying only 3 x 14 day stamp from the same border crossing , but if you use another border crossing for the 4th 14 day , you can then return to Mae sai for another 3 x 14 day stamps. Crossing in to Laos ,getting an entry and exit stamp from them at Chang Khong costs $30 then to come back into Thailand for a 14 day stamp is expensive .
Those that use the 14 day stamp do it because it is easy and far better than a 3 day trip to Laos / Vientiane to get a tourist visa but maybe its what we will all have to do .
Can anyone clarify and confirm that these rules from the 1st January are across the country at all border crossings ?

#21 ubonjoe

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Posted 2013-01-06 11:37:11

Are any other border crossings following the same rules as Chiang Rai / Mae Sai . Seems odd that they are saying only 3 x 14 day stamp from the same border crossing , but if you use another border crossing for the 4th 14 day , you can then return to Mae sai for another 3 x 14 day stamps. Crossing in to Laos ,getting an entry and exit stamp from them at Chang Khong costs $30 then to come back into Thailand for a 14 day stamp is expensive .
Those that use the 14 day stamp do it because it is easy and far better than a 3 day trip to Laos / Vientiane to get a tourist visa but maybe its what we will all have to do .
Can anyone clarify and confirm that these rules from the 1st January are across the country at all border crossings ?

No report yet of other border crossings invoking this rule. I suspect it will apply to all border crossings under the jurisdiction of the Chiang Mai immigration regional office.
I cannot see how you can say that doing a bunch of border runs for a 15 day entry is easier than a single trip to Vientiane for a 2 entry tourist visa that would give you almost 6 months of stay. That is first 60 day entry +30 day extension then do a border run for another 60 day entry before visa expires and then 30 day extension.
How many border runs would you need to do to get 6 months stay?

#22 Paul888

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Posted 2013-01-06 13:59:05


Are any other border crossings following the same rules as Chiang Rai / Mae Sai . Seems odd that they are saying only 3 x 14 day stamp from the same border crossing , but if you use another border crossing for the 4th 14 day , you can then return to Mae sai for another 3 x 14 day stamps. Crossing in to Laos ,getting an entry and exit stamp from them at Chang Khong costs $30 then to come back into Thailand for a 14 day stamp is expensive .
Those that use the 14 day stamp do it because it is easy and far better than a 3 day trip to Laos / Vientiane to get a tourist visa but maybe its what we will all have to do .
Can anyone clarify and confirm that these rules from the 1st January are across the country at all border crossings ?

No report yet of other border crossings invoking this rule. I suspect it will apply to all border crossings under the jurisdiction of the Chiang Mai immigration regional office.
I cannot see how you can say that doing a bunch of border runs for a 15 day entry is easier than a single trip to Vientiane for a 2 entry tourist visa that would give you almost 6 months of stay. That is first 60 day entry +30 day extension then do a border run for another 60 day entry before visa expires and then 30 day extension.
How many border runs would you need to do to get 6 months stay?


Again with this. When people say that the 15 day crossing is easier or more convenient for them it means that it is easier or more convenient for THEM.... (not you) and is based on their situation, (not yours).

For Chiang Rai residents, the trip to Mae Sai is short, the border is very friendly and the shopping both sides is good. It is a nice morning or afternoon out. Prior to this recent change, it was not against the law to do a border run every 15 days, so many people considered it the path of least resistance (for them remember, not you).

Fact is, the trip to anywhere for a tourist visa from here is a headache..... and who wants to go looking for a headache when they don't need it?

Now of course, with the change in policy, it will become a NECESSARY headache for many, but that doesn't change the fact that prior to this change, 15 day border runs (whether you approve of them or not) WERE the easiest option.


You use whatever solution fits your situation, and others do whatever fits their situation.

#23 mickjn

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Posted 2013-01-06 14:33:51



Are any other border crossings following the same rules as Chiang Rai / Mae Sai . Seems odd that they are saying only 3 x 14 day stamp from the same border crossing , but if you use another border crossing for the 4th 14 day , you can then return to Mae sai for another 3 x 14 day stamps. Crossing in to Laos ,getting an entry and exit stamp from them at Chang Khong costs $30 then to come back into Thailand for a 14 day stamp is expensive .
Those that use the 14 day stamp do it because it is easy and far better than a 3 day trip to Laos / Vientiane to get a tourist visa but maybe its what we will all have to do .
Can anyone clarify and confirm that these rules from the 1st January are across the country at all border crossings ?

No report yet of other border crossings invoking this rule. I suspect it will apply to all border crossings under the jurisdiction of the Chiang Mai immigration regional office.
I cannot see how you can say that doing a bunch of border runs for a 15 day entry is easier than a single trip to Vientiane for a 2 entry tourist visa that would give you almost 6 months of stay. That is first 60 day entry +30 day extension then do a border run for another 60 day entry before visa expires and then 30 day extension.
How many border runs would you need to do to get 6 months stay?


Again with this. When people say that the 15 day crossing is easier or more convenient for them it means that it is easier or more convenient for THEM.... (not you) and is based on their situation, (not yours).

For Chiang Rai residents, the trip to Mae Sai is short, the border is very friendly and the shopping both sides is good. It is a nice morning or afternoon out. Prior to this recent change, it was not against the law to do a border run every 15 days, so many people considered it the path of least resistance (for them remember, not you).

Fact is, the trip to anywhere for a tourist visa from here is a headache..... and who wants to go looking for a headache when they don't need it?

Now of course, with the change in policy, it will become a NECESSARY headache for many, but that doesn't change the fact that prior to this change, 15 day border runs (whether you approve of them or not) WERE the easiest option.


You use whatever solution fits your situation, and others do whatever fits their situation.


Bravo Sir Well done even I can understand what you are saying,good job

#24 Elfin

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Posted 2013-01-13 10:55:10

Does anyone know if the 3 back-to-back entry stamp rule is enforced at Mae Sai? I have just completed my 3rd one. Due to a lack of funds and not much work happening, I am getting a paltry amount of pay each fortnight, so I can afford the 1,000 baht needed to get the bus to Mae Sai and back and pay the 500 baht across the border every 14 days, but can't afford the trip to Laos to get a marriage visa. I am going to another country on the 25th of Feb for a well paid job, but need to keep doing the fortnightly runs across the border til then. Any advice appreciated.

#25 ubonjoe

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Posted 2013-01-13 11:03:05

Does anyone know if the 3 back-to-back entry stamp rule is enforced at Mae Sai? I have just completed my 3rd one. Due to a lack of funds and not much work happening, I am getting a paltry amount of pay each fortnight, so I can afford the 1,000 baht needed to get the bus to Mae Sai and back and pay the 500 baht across the border every 14 days, but can't afford the trip to Laos to get a marriage visa. I am going to another country on the 25th of Feb for a well paid job, but need to keep doing the fortnightly runs across the border til then. Any advice appreciated.

So you are working here illegally.
If you are married to a Thai lady you could get a 60 day extension to visit your wife at immigration of your 15 day entry for 1900 baht.
Your wife would need to go with you to immigration. Plus copies of your passport photo page, arrival/permit to stay stamps and TM6 departure card. Copy of marriage certificate, wife's house book and ID card. You may also need proof of address.
Fill out out a TM7 application form and attach photo.

Edited by ubonjoe, 2013-01-13 11:04:24.






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