No more Visa runs from August 12th, 2016

KTMphil

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[h=2]Immigration authorities will not let visa runners return after August 12[/h]FOREIGNERS WHO do regular visa runs in order to extend their stay in Thailand have less than a month before a crackdown by the authorities to enforce immigration laws more strictly.

From August 13, people will not be able to re-enter the country, regardless of their choice of transport.

The Immigration Bureau has already instructed officials to deny entry to foreigners doing visa runs as a measure to stop the exploitation of tourist visas and visa exemptions to live or work here.

Visa runs have been common among foreigners in Thailand recently, given that a simple search on the Net turns up several companies offering "visa trips" for expatriates staying or working here.


Visa runners are those who leave Thailand and return immediately for the purpose of extending their stay. By exploiting 60-day tourist visas and 30-day visa exemptions, many foreigners can work illegally in language schools, or restaurants and other businesses. It is easier for some to get jobs this way, as some employers do not want to go through the complicated process of seeking work permits and like to avoid the expense if they can.

"I have done visa runs several times before, because my employers would not agree to seek a work permit until I passed their probation period. So, when you stop allowing visa runs, the lives of many foreigners in Thailand will be affected," a 46-year-old American said.

Meanwhile, the Immigration Bureau website says: "Leniency will be granted until August 12, but only for passengers arriving by air. Foreigners who come to Thailand must seek a proper visa in line with the purpose of their intended stay here."

Now, those on a visa run who are allowed back in will find an "O-I" (Out-In) mark next to their latest stamp marking entry. From August 13, nobody with an O-I sign on their passport will be allowed to re-enter Thailand if they cannot produce a proper visa.

The Immigration Bureau has instructed checkpoints on shared borders to stop visa runners from entering the Kingdom effective immediately.

Immigration Division 6 chief Pol Maj-General Tatchai Pitaneelabut, who oversees immigration affairs in the South, said visa runners come from several countries, including Vietnam, South Korea and Russia.

"They come here to work as tour guides, waiters, waitresses, etc," he said, pointing out that these visa-runners are often based in tourist centres such as Phuket and Songkhla.

However, he said the presence of the so-called "out-in" migrants in the South had been significantly reduced because immigration officials were already enforcing stricter laws.

Pol Lt-Colonel Weerawat Nilwat, an inspector at the Sungai Kolok border checkpoint in Narathiwat province, disclosed that immigration officials at his workplace had already barred more than 100 visa-runners from re-entering the Kingdom.

"We have to be strict because we have to uphold laws and properly control immigrants. Efficiency on this front will also reduce crime," he said.

Pol Colonel Thirachai Dedkhad, the superintendent at the Sa Kaew checkpoint, said officials under his supervision were not stopping visa runners from re-entering yet. "But we have been warning them to acquire a proper visa before they come to Thailand the next time."

He said immigration officials had also warned people departing that they must obtain a proper visa if they want to come back.

"We have made it clear that if they want to work in Thailand, they must seek a work permit and get the right type of visa," Thirachai said.



Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/national/No-more-visa-runs-30238504.html



 

Captain_Slash

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Was anything said about whether obtaining a 60 day tourist visa in neighbouring countries can still be done?
 

blackwolf

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When I first saw this post I had to double check if it wasn't from 2015, because as I seem to recall it was on August 12 last year that the authorities were warning that visa runs would no longer be tolerated. Since then they have already warned that if you're on a visa exemption (even if it's your first), attempting to come back the same day on another will not be allowed. Those on visa exemptions wanting to travel to Myanmar who don't have a Myanmar visa, are not allowed to leave because since Myanmar only allows short term stays and forces you to return to the Thai side, the Thai authorities view this as a violation of the visa exemption scheme.

It appears that the next step is that they are upping enforcement of these rules and possibly starting to target tourist visa holders. Previously, only holders of visa exemptions were targeted.
 

KTMphil

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With the recent change in Thai immigration laws, only allowing 2 crossings, in a calendar year, at any Thai land international border crossings (without a re-entry permit or multi entry visa), if you have a Thai visa exempt entry stamp (some call visa on arrival), you can now cross at Mai Sai, Thailand/ Tachilek, Myanmar.


Talking to someone in the visa run business, he thinks you can get 120 days with the new 2 land border crossing per calendar year, if you are a G7 passport holder:

1. Enter Thailand at a land border crossing - 30 days given

2. Extension inside Thailand at Thai immigration - 30 days given (1,900 Baht)

3. Exit/ re-enter Thailand at a land border crossing - 30 days given

4. Extension inside Thailand at Thai immigration - 30 days given (1,900 Baht)



There's a possible 120 days without a Thai immigration visa.
 
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