| New overstay rules to take effect soon
(updated March 2016)
The Below Information is from Bangkok Post (March 12, 2016)
Thailand’s immigration crackdown continued today with authorities confirming that tough new rules on
foreigners overstaying their visa or entry permit have now been put in place.
Anyone overstaying their permitted time in the Kingdom by more than 90 days will be forbidden from re-
entering the country for at least one year. However, a proposed lifetime ban for foreigners overstaying for
10 years or more was not included in the new rules.
For overstaying foreigners who present themselves to immigration at international airports or border
crossings, the re-entry bans are as follows:
Overstay more than 90 days forbidden 1 year
Overstay more than 1 year forbidden 3 years
Overstay more than 3 years forbidden 5 years
Overstay more than 5 years forbidden 10 years
The rules are significantly tougher for those who are apprehended before presenting themselves at a
Overstay less than 1 year forbidden 5 years
Overstay more than 1 years forbidden 10 years
Those overstaying less than 90 days who present themselves to immigration are subject to a 500 baht-
per-day (US$15.65) fine, up to a maximum of 20,000 baht.
Technically, a genuine tourist overstaying in Thailand by just a couple of days who is apprehended on the
street could be banned from the country for five years.
While it is impossible to quantify how many foreigners currently in Thailand would currently fall foul of
these rules, anecdotal evidence suggests it could be in the thousands or even in the tens of thousands.
This does not include the hundreds of thousands migrant workers returning to Cambodia and Burma.
These latest rules are the latest step in an ongoing crackdown on foreigners staying in Thailand long-term
without the proper visas. Last week there were widespread reports of long-stay travellers with tourist
visas being turned away at land border crossings.
“If they are genuine tourists that’s fine. But if we believe they are not tourists, they will not be readmitted
into Thailand. We can see [from their passport stamps] if a foreigner has stayed in Thailand too long [on
tourist visas]. We will not let them in,” said Pol Col Sanchai Chokkayaikij, Superintendent of the Phuket
Immigration Office, according to The Phuket News.
While many believe these new rules, and tougher enforcement of existing laws, are a direct consequence
of May’s military coup, the immigration crackdown had begun before the junta took over on May 22.
Earlier that month immigration officials at land crossings into Thailand refused to allow any more ‘border
runs’, which allowed many foreigners to get another 15-30 days in the Kingdom by exiting and entering the
country on the same day.
Reactions to the tougher policies within Thailand’s sizeable expat community have been varied. While
many have welcomed the moves, saying long-term foreign residents should have the proper papers,
others say the tougher laws will damage Thailand’s economy by deterring tourists and forcing independent
‘digital nomads’ – and their incomes – out of the country.