According to a number of reports that have surfaced on social media recently, tourist visa holders may now be required to show at least 20,000 Baht in cash to immigration officials at the border when entering Thailand. This is apparently to kind of prove that you can financially support your stay in the kingdom.
While this obviously sounds somewhat antiquated in the agre of credit cards and online banking there is a more unsettling catch in it: If you don’t carry enough cash on you may be thoroughly questioned and/or entry may be denied – ironically despite the fact that there’s a freshly issued tourist visa sticker in your passport.
Increased scrutiny is obviously being placed on tourist visa holders under 50 that immigration may suspect of working illegally in Thailand and with “too many” visa stickers in their passport.
While some may argue that a “genuine tourist” should easily be able to produce such an amount (otherwise how would he or she be able to cover their holiday expenses in Thailand?) it’s obviously also an unwelcome sign that the ongoing clampdown on tourist visa holders has recently only been intensifying.
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.
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.