Immigration Crackdown on Visa Runs

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1986
Immigration Crackdown on Visa Runs
Immigration Crackdown on Visa Runs
Immigration Crackdown on Visa Runs
Immigration Crackdown on Visa Runs

ONLY ONE ENTRY VIA A LAND BORDER CROSSING

Border runs have been cut short due to the very recent change in rules regarding overland entry by Thai immigration. Foreigners entering Thailand via border posts at Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Malaysia without securing a prior visa will now be granted only 15 days of stay in the country as opposed to the previous Visa on Arrival, which was valid for 30 days. According to a spokesman for the Thai Immigration Bureau, the new regulation was created to encourage foreigners to secure the proper visas in advance from a Royal Thai Embassy prior to their arrival. The new rule will also limit the amount of back-to-back visa runs being made by foreigners to extend their stay.

Foreign tourists and expats in Thailand will reportedly no longer be able to continuously exit and then re-enter the kingdom via a land border crossing. Instead, foreign visitors will be restricted to a single entry into Thailand via a land border crossing. In other words, so-called “visa runs” or “border runs” e.g. to the nearby Cambodian border, as have been popular with long-stay “tourists” who effectively reside in Thailand for many years, will soon be a thing of the post.

Visitors can only enter into Thailand via a land border once, after that they will be refused entry to the Kingdom and are advised to fly out and return with a visa obtained from a Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate in a neighbouring country or overseas. Non-Immigrant visa or tourist visa holders with remaining entries on their visa will not be affected by this new regulation and may exit and enter Thailand as before.

These new measures are targeting foreign visitors without a visa who are regularly entering and exiting the kingdom every 15 or 30 days as a way of extending their stay in Thailand. Under the new rules, visitors who leave and then try to come back immediately may be stopped and told they must first obtain a proper tourist or non-immigrant visa before returning. Officials at border points will use their discretion on a case-by-case basis. If a re-entry is made once or twice, a foreigner may be allowed to re-enter Thailand. But if he has done so multiple times, he may need to be interrogated.

Foreigners who cannot convince officials they are tourists will be advised to apply for a proper Thai visa if they wish to remain in the country. Immigration officials recommend getting visas prior to arrival in Thailand, as they remind visitors that back-to-back short visas are not the proper way to extend a stay in the country on a long-term basis.

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