Tourist visa holders denied entry to Thailand and left stranded in Malaysia
Thaivisa strives to bring its members and the wider expat community in Thailand the best possible information it can on the latest situation with regards to visas and entry into the Kingdom. This weekend, one of our reporters visited a number of border checkpoints in southern Thailand to see at firsthand what the current situation is for foreign nationals trying to extend their stay in Thailand.
This is what we found...
SUNGAI KOLOK (Southern Thailand): -- At least 20 foreign nationals were yesterday (Sunday) denied entry into Thailand using their 60-days Tourist visas, after attempting to enter via the Sungai Kolok border checkpoint in Narathiwat province.
Narathiwat is a popular destination for visa runners and border runners to exit and re-enter the country in order to extend their stay in Thailand.
All of the foreigners who were denied entry had a previous history of multiple visa exempt entries or back to back tourist visas.
Eight of the foreigners in question held visas issued abroad, as well as from Malaysia, namely from the Royal Thai Consulates in Penang and Kota Bahru. The countries of origin of the 8 refused foreigners include the UK, Italy, USA, Russia, Ukraine, Romania and New Zealand.
Immigration officials at Sungai Kolok, as well as at several other border checkpoints in the south, have been ordered by the Immigration Bureau in Bangkok to deny entry to foreigners holding 60-days Tourist visas.
A reporter from Thaivisa.com was present when the foreigners attempted to cross the border and can confirm that Sungai Kolok Immigration officials were refusing entry on Sunday to all holders of Tourist visas.
As for those who were refused entry, many of them were shocked, concerned and left in utter disbelief at the situation they now found themselves in.
Immigration officials then told the individuals that they would need to take a bus to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, and fly in to Thailand instead.
According to Immigration border officials, the official rule is max one 30-days exemption stamp or Tourist visa and no previous tourist visa extensions.
The Sungai Kolok border checkpoint additionally tells thaivisa.com that passport holders from Russia, Laos, Vietnam and South Korea are no longer welcome to enter Thailand via their checkpoint.
The official we spoke to who did not wish to be named said these new measures are following new orders from Immigration Bureau in Bangkok.
The officer went onto say “"You are a tourist for 30 days, not more."
Thaivisa.com's reporter was also informed that a new form, shown below, is now needed when tourist visa holders enter Thailand via the Satun border checkpoint.
During the 2 hours Thaivisa was present at Sungai Kolok border checkpoint, all foreigners with tourist visas were denied entry while holders of NON-Immigrant visas could enter Thailand without any problem.
Previously, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs circulated information to the foreign Embassies and Consulates in Thailand and to the Royal Thai Embassies and Consulates worldwide that individuals with back-to-back tourist visa entries will be refused entry into Thailand from August 13.
Thaivisa will bring you any updates on this story as and when we get it.
Additionally, if you have experienced a similar situation at other border checkpoints in Thailand, please do not hesitate to tell us.