More Visa Hassles for Long-Stay Tourists Under 50

Staying in Thailand longer than just a couple of months or maybe half a year has never been easy for “professional” tourists under 50 who neither legally work in Thailand or are married to Thai girl.
The problem is there isn’t really an affordable long-term visa option available for foreigners under 50.
Since the beginning of the year the visa situation has only become more difficult, with some saying that the good old days when you could practically live in Thailand on tourist visa or 30-day border runs have basically come to an end.

To start with, since the beginning of 2017, foreigners who qualify for a visa-exempt entry can now enter Thailand via a land border only two times per calendar year.
Granted, this isn’t the first “crackdown” on regular border hoppers. But this time there is in fact a rule in place that restricts the number of visa-exempt entries you can do to just two per calendar year.

What exacerbates the situation is that not only multiple-entry Non-immigrant visa can now only be applied for at a Thai embassy or consulate-general, making a long stay in Thailand even more difficult if you’re over 50.
There also seems to be a crackdown underway which limits the number of back-to-back tourist visas you can apply for to something like less than a handful you should have in your passport.

While there isn’t really a rule that says how many tourist visas you may have in your passport it seems like three or more back-to-back tourist visa or simply “too many” visa stickers in your passport pages may result in a refusal of another visa at least in the Southeast Asian region.
Red warning stamps have been issued by the embassy in Vientiane since 2009. But in general, it was good enough to visit a different consulate in a different country from time to time and just not use the same consulate each time you needed a new visa. Now it looks like the consulate in Savannakhet also counts tourist visas issued in Vientiane and vice versa.
Since the beginning of the year there have also been several reports that tourist visa applications were rejected e.g. in Laos or that applicants had to show a sufficient amount of money in the bank etc. in order to get another tourist visa.
In fact, a number of foreigners were in recent weeks also denied entry at immigration checkpoints even though they had freshly issued tourist visas in their passports.

So what can you do? Get a new naked passport from your embassy in Bangkok? Leave the country for the beaches and birds of Cambodia for a while? As usual, only time will tell how would-be long-stayers under 50 will be able to cope with the new visa situation.

New Crackdown on “Too Many” Tourist Visa Applications

View from Vientiane across the Mekhong river to Thailand

Staying in Thailand for an extended period of time, or perhaps even living here more or less permanently, has never been easy for Farangs aged under 50 years old who neither legally work in Thailand or are legally married to a Thai citizen.
Granted, you could treat yourself to a so-called Thailand “elite card”? Fees start at something like 500,000 Baht for a five-year multiple-entry visa. Or if you find that too dear then how about learning some Thai and applying for a good old ED (education) visa? But that’s not as hassle-free and cheap as it used to be either anymore since new rules took effect in 2014.
So most long-term tourists under 50 would stick to back-to-back tourist visa (SETV), go on a visa run to Laos or elsewhere in the region every couple of months and so try to bypass a system of rules that have been getting increasingly tight.

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Free Tourist Visa Scheme Extended Until August 2017 (Update)

Free tourist visa until August 2017

The Thai Cabinet has agreed on Tuesday to extend the free tourist visa scheme for visitors from all countries for another six months until the end of August 2017.
The free visa promotion was initially launched on December 1 in order to increase the number of foreign visitors during the peak season and specifically aimed at countering a sharp drop in arrival numbers from China.

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Visa-Exempt Entries Now 30 Days at Land Border Crossings

The “border run” rules and the “visa exemption” scheme, which allows nationals of more than 40 countries to temporarily visit Thailand without a visa, have recently been substantially clarified and standardized. On one hand, they’ve become considerably stricter. A few weeks ago only, we reported that foreigners who enter Thailand without a visa via a… Continue Reading

Only Two Visa-Exempt Entries at Border Crossings Per Calendar Year

Thai immigration have been kind of clamping down on “visa runners”/”border hoppers” for a while now. An English friend of your webmaster was actually stuck behind the Cambodian border for a couple of days this year as he had “too many” visa-exempt entry stamps in his passport and immigration wouldn’t let him back in. In… Continue Reading

Stay Where You Have Registered or Face Hefty Fines

There have been several reports over the past few months where foreigners were fined by immigration for not staying at their registered address in Thailand, e.g. here and here. Likewise, guesthouse and condo owners have been fined for failing to register their guests with the local immigration office within 24 hours of arrival as is… Continue Reading

Thailand Waives Visa Fee for Chinese, Indians (and a few others)

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Thai Gov’t Approves New 10-Year Visa for Foreigners Over 50

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Thai Woman Fined for Not Registering British Husband with Immigration

Pattaya immigration this week continued their ongoing crackdown on long-term visa overstayers and foreigners not staying at their registered address, or rather landlords who failed to report them to immigration within 24 hours of arrival as is required by Thai law. As for foreigners whose visa were found to have expired, a 29-year-old Kenyan woman… Continue Reading

No More Multiple-Entry Non-Immigrant Visa at Honorary Consulates

As of August 15, 2016, it seems that Thai honorary consulates in a number of countries across the world will no longer issue multiple-entry Non-Immigrant visa but only single-entry visa that are good for just one 90-day visit to Thailand. If you want a multiple-entry Non-Immigrant visa that is valid for a full year, yes… Continue Reading

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