Government Clamps Down on Back to Back Tourist Visa for Thailand
So what options are there?
For many people living in Thailand the ‘visa run’ has been a regular event in their lives. Today we’re seeing the rules regarding the back to back tourist visa runs changed, (or more accurately) the existing rules are now being enforced. The enforcement of the rules relates to overland entries from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Malaysia for those people entering the Kingdom without securing a visa for Thailand prior to arrival. Previously those entering would be granted a Visa on Arrival which would be granted for 30 days but this has now been reduced to 15 days. The rule changes will also limit the number of back to back visa runs that can be made to extend stays in Thailand.
The Thai Immigration Bureau says that the new regulations for Thai visa’s are designed to encourage foreigners to obtain the correct visa prior to entering the country from the Royal Thai Embassy. The rule changes only apply to those people to those visitors who have not obtained a visa beforehand and enter via a land border. If you arrive by air without a prior visa will continue to receive a 30 day stamp. Extensions at the Thai Immigration for Visa on Arrival that have expired are still 7 days, after which time you must either leave the country or pay the necessary penalties as well as any other sanctions that may be in force.
The only exception to the rule will be for Malaysian passport holders who are actually travelling into Thailand directly from Malaysia via a land border. They will continue to be granted a 30 day Visa on Arrival in Thailand. Further clarification had been sought from Immigration regarding the number of times that a foreigner may enter Thailand with a Visa on Arrival. Previously visitors could not stay more than 90 days in any given 6 month period although this has now been scrapped.
As the rules currently stand, one exit and entry is allowed via a land border. The lifting on the limit on the number of back to back visa runs is similar to the rule that previous stood but was revoked without prior notice. It is always advisable, where possible to obtain a visa for Thailand prior to travel.
All information is correct at the timing of writing but is subject to change without prior warning, and always consult an expert on the situation prior to making travel plans.