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Jonathan Fairfield

Thailand visa: Crackdown banning 'walk-in visa runs' to begin August 13

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Crackdown banning 'walk-in visa runs' to begin August 13


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Foreigners who have completed even one 'visa run' in order to re-enter the country on visa-exemption status will see their passports stamped 'O-I. Photo: Gazette file


PHUKET: Foreigners will be allowed to continue to re-enter Thailand on three consecutive “walk-in” visas until August 12, Ranong Immigration Superintendent Ekkorn Bussababordin assured the Phuket Gazette today.


The news follows the appearance of a formal notice posted on Bangkok Immigration’s website on May 8 stating that any persons who exit Thailand after completing a stay in the Kingdom on tourist-visa exemption status* are to be refused re-entry to Thailand.


The order, posted in Thai (click here), states that the new rule is to come into effect at all immigration checkpoints – including airports – after August 12.


“We will continue to allow foreigners to enter Thailand on visa exemption status, but only if they have not done so three times before,” Col Ekkorn told the Gazette.


After completing three consecutive stays on visa exemption status, foreigners must obtain a visa from a Royal Thai Embassy or consulate to be able to re-enter Thailand, he said.


“However, from August 13, our officers will refuse any foreigners attempting to re-enter Thailand if they have just completed a visa-exemption stay,” Col Ekkorn said.


Foreigners refused entry at the Ranong Immigration checkpoint risk stranding themselves in Myanmar, an officer at Ranong Immigration told the Gazette last week (story here), as there is no Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate in Kauthaung, the town across the Kraburi Strait from Ranong.


The notice posted last Thursday explained that any foreigner who completed even one “visa run” in order to re-enter the country on visa-exemption status was to have his passport stamped “O-I”, indicting they had already been “out and in” from/to Thailand.


Any foreigner attempting to re-enter Thailand after August 12 with a passport stamped “O-I” is to be refused re-entry, the notice warned.


The notice also explained that Immigration officials were targeting specific nationalities “such as Koreans”.


Only in special cases will people be permitted to re-enter Thailand on consecutive trips on visa-exemption status, the notice read.


Immigration officers seeking clarification on the new rule are to contact Immigration Bureau Deputy Commissioners Maj Gen Natthorn Prosunthorn or Maj Gen Chissanu Yuktatat.


No contact details for the generals were provided in the notice.


However, the Gazette notes that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), which is the Royal Thai Government administrative division responsible for issuing visas, does not clarify the number of visa-exemption entries a person may make.


The MFA currently states on its website (click here):


“Nationals of the United States of America and 41 other countries are eligible to travel to Thailand, for tourism purpose, with the exemption of visa and are permitted to stay in the Kingdom for a period not exceeding 30 days. Therefore, you do not need a visa.


“However, please make sure that you are in possession of a passport valid for at least six months, a round-trip air ticket, and adequate finances equivalent to at least 10,000 baht per person or 20,000 baht per family. Otherwise, you may be inconvenienced upon entry into the country.


“Furthermore, foreigners who enter the Kingdom under this Tourist Visa Exemption Scheme may re-enter and stay in Thailand for a cumulative duration of stay not exceeding 90 days within any 6-month period from the date of first entry.”


* For a full list of nationalities granted visa-exemption status, click here.




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-- Phuket Gazette 2015-05-12

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And once again, no clear answer to the 64,000 baht question: what specifically constitutes out and in? Same hour return to Thailand? Same day return? Same month return? Returning to Thailand ever, at any time in the future...?

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didn't even mention how many days in between out the kingdom and back!

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"a cumulative duration of stay not exceeding 90 days within any 6-month period from the date of first entry." Pretty clear.

Actually that was starting to be enforced a few years ago ('06/'07 ?) and was messing up a lot of runners back then. IIRC if you did month in, month out 3 times (6 months) you were then required to leave for a period of (3 ?) months (or more) before you could cycle it again.

Far easier to just get double/triple entry Tourist Visas (or that "other" one that they'll probably start cracking down on soon as well).

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Ah, at last I understand the 'O-I' stamp that was mentioned on the other thread (how many threads on this on TV now? Seems like a dozen - mods please consolidate)

It means an 'Out and In' border run. Right, gotcha. Er, wouldn't it have been useful to have explained this at the time, Mr Immigration Boss?

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money, money, money,tourism is expected to rise ,during the shit in BKK ,the bombs /murders in the south.amazing UMMMMMMMMMMMMM

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So basically 3 in-outs for up to 30 days each within any six month period. If you are in 1+3+30 days that is considered 3 and you will have to wait outside until the 1st one is no longer within the six month period.

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"a cumulative duration of stay not exceeding 90 days within any 6-month period from the date of first entry." Pretty clear.

Actually that was starting to be enforced a few years ago ('06/'07 ?) and was messing up a lot of runners back then. IIRC if you did month in, month out 3 times (6 months) you were then required to leave for a period of (3 ?) months (or more) before you could cycle it again.

Far easier to just get double/triple entry Tourist Visas (or that "other" one that they'll probably start cracking down on soon as well).

Yep in 2006. I ended up getting married and getting a Non-O.

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"a cumulative duration of stay not exceeding 90 days within any 6-month period from the date of first entry." Pretty clear.

Actually that was starting to be enforced a few years ago ('06/'07 ?) and was messing up a lot of runners back then. IIRC if you did month in, month out 3 times (6 months) you were then required to leave for a period of (3 ?) months (or more) before you could cycle it again.

Far easier to just get double/triple entry Tourist Visas (or that "other" one that they'll probably start cracking down on soon as well).

One of the things that came out of the 90/180 implementation was 14 day stamp at land borders, is this still happening?

Immigration's point then as now is that if need more time than that you should get a proper visa from an embassy or consulate. This does require some planning and expence but when compared with the cost of constant visa runs it is relatively cheaper. As an example an O visa correctly managed will give up to 15 months of relatively quiet time in LOS, or an ED visa can be extended for longer with the side benefit you might learn enough of the language to not have to resort to pidgin to communicate.

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“Furthermore, foreigners who enter the Kingdom under this Tourist Visa Exemption Scheme may re-enter and stay in Thailand for a cumulative duration of stay not exceeding 90 days within any 6-month period from the date of first entry.”

This is just a return to the old system of enforcement of the immigration rules. I used to work 10 weeks on 3 weeks off in Libya so I just used the visa exempt entry. I got stopped and refused entry once at the Airport because they said I had exceeded the 90 days within 6 months rule. The problem is the ruling that after the third entry/exit a period of 90 days must elapse before they will reset the clock and allow you a new visa exempt entry, however there mathematics was not correct. They then said that I was not a tourist, as I visited too many times on visa exemption entry. Fortunately a close friend was the former head of immigration and his wife a close friend of the Queen, when I mentioned this they quickly stamped my passport and escorted me through the VIP section. Shortly after that the 90 day rule was not enforced, but is back with a vengeance now.

This means a lot of hassle for Expats married to Thais or have a home here, who work offshore. Now they cannot use the no cost visa exempt entry and will have to get a 1 year visa if they are likely to exceed the 90 days within a 6 month period. Basically, you are not considered to be a tourist if you have a home here, and/or a Thai wife/family.

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We will continue to allow foreigners to enter Thailand on visa exemption status, but only if they have not done so three times before, Col Ekkorn told the Gazette.

After completing three consecutive stays on visa exemption status, foreigners must obtain a visa from a Royal Thai Embassy or consulate to be able to re-enter Thailand, he said. However, from August 13, our officers will refuse any foreigners attempting to re-enter Thailand if they have just completed a visa-exemption stay, Col Ekkorn said.

So we ll allow 3 visa exemption runs, but from August 13 we will refuse them after 1. VERY CLEAR. 5555555

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Statement in the opening post is not clear at all.

As far as the situation after August 12 is concerned, first it says:

“However, from August 13, our officers will refuse any foreigners attempting to re-enter Thailand if they have just completed a visa-exemption stay,” Col Ekkorn said. Right, so a tourist who came in by air on a visa exemption stamp cannot even make one border visa run.

And then: The notice posted last Thursday explained that any foreigner who completed even one “visa run” in order to re-enter the country on visa-exemption status was to have his passport stamped “O-I”, indicting they had already been “out and in” from/to Thailand. Any foreigner attempting to re-enter Thailand after August 12 with a passport stamped “O-I” is to be refused re-entry, the notice warned. Oh, so they can make one visa run

And finally: “Nationals of the United States of America and 41 other countries are eligible to travel to Thailand, for tourism purpose, with the exemption of visa and are permitted to stay in the Kingdom for a period not exceeding 30 days. Therefore, you do not need a visa .Furthermore, foreigners who enter the Kingdom under this Tourist Visa Exemption Scheme may re-enter and stay in Thailand for a cumulative duration of stay not exceeding 90 days within any 6-month period from the date of first entry.” Which means they could make two visa runs.

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"a cumulative duration of stay not exceeding 90 days within any 6-month period from the date of first entry." Pretty clear.

Actually that was starting to be enforced a few years ago ('06/'07 ?) and was messing up a lot of runners back then. IIRC if you did month in, month out 3 times (6 months) you were then required to leave for a period of (3 ?) months (or more) before you could cycle it again.

Far easier to just get double/triple entry Tourist Visas (or that "other" one that they'll probably start cracking down on soon as well).

Yes, your recollection is correct, there is also a ruling that after the third entry/exit a period of 90 days must elapse before they will reset the clock and allow you a new visa exempt entry. Nearly got refused entry on that basis once as I worked 10 weeks on 3 weeks off in Libya, fortunately my close friend was the former head of Thai Immigration so I just showed them his card and hey presto, I was whisked through the VIP section.

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