Free Tourist Visa Scheme Extended Until August 2017

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

New visa-exempt entry rules

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 land border crossing can now do so only twice per calendar year. Entries through international airports are not affected by this new regulation, only so-called border runs.
Those who seek to enter Thailand without a visa via a land border checkpoint for a third time in a calendar year may be denied entry and asked to apply for a regular visa first.
But there were also some good news.

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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 the end he had to get a tourist visa from the embassy in Phnom Penh before immigration let him cross the border back into Thailand.

But how many is “too many”? It has always remained somewhat obscure how many back-to-back visa-exempt entries, or visa-exempt entries per calendar year, you can actually get at Thai land border crossings, for example, if you go on a “visa run” to the nearby Cambodian border and re-enter Thailand without a visa.
Immigration have a kind of computer alert system that triggers a warning after “too many” border runs and they might not let you back in again or advise you to apply for a proper visa and maybe fly into Thailand. But the details of how this alert system works always remained very sketchy and there never appeared to be any clear rules regarding the number of visa-exempt entries that are okay at land border checkpoints.
This appears to have changed now.

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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)

The Thai tourism industry, one of the few bright spots in the kingdom’s economy, has recently been suffering from the government’s crackdown on so-called “zero-dollar tours” from China. In fact, the Russians are now back in force and have replaced the hordes of Chinese tour groups in many parts of the country. From a revenue… Continue Reading

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

The Thai government has in principle approved a new 10-year visa on Tuesday which will “soon” be available to well-to-do foreigners over 50. According to a government spokesman, the new visa type will come in two installments of five years each. While it appears that visa holders won’t have to leave the country and do… 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

New Foreigner “Information Form” Arrives at Pattaya Immigration

Two months ago we reported about a controversial new immigration form that foreigners seeking to extend their visa, do a 90-day report, apply for a re-entry permit etc. had to fill at the immigration bureau in Bangkok. The detailed information required by Thai immigration – all in the name of “national security” – included their… Continue Reading

Now Thai Immigration Want to Know (Almost) Everything About You

Not long ago Thai immigration invented a new requirement – proof of address – for tourists applying for a visa extension at their local immigration bureau. We mean, not just fill “Whatever Beach Resort, Pattaya City” in the application form but provide proof an actual street address. Fair enough. But that was then. Now that… Continue Reading

Final Call – New Overstay Rules to Take Effect March 20, 2016

Thailand’s strict new overstay rules that may see visa overstayers banned from re-entering the kingdom for up to 10 years have been in the news for a while now, so if you happen to have overstayed your visa you can’t say you didn’t know when you suddenly find yourself on an immigration blacklist, can you?… Continue Reading

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