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

Thai border checkpoint in Nongkhai

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?
But just in case you’ve missed all the much-publicized warnings, here’s a final call for all you overstayers to leave the country a.s.a.p. and clear your overstay without facing any further consequences while you still can.
Under the current rules, tourists and expats who overstay their visa simply have to pay a fine of 500 Baht a day – up to a maximum of 20,000 Baht – but are not banned from returning to Thailand immediately if they wish to. In fact, until March 20 this year, there is no blacklisting for overstayers but all you have to do is pay your fine at the border (there will be no red stamp or whatever trace in your passport) and you can come back to Thailand straight away.
This will change in just three weeks from now when the rigorous new overstay rules finally take effect. Here are, once again, all the details. (And no, it’s not rocket science; all it takes is your cooperation.)

Starting from March 20 – depending on the length of their overstay and whether they turn themselves in or not – offenders may be put on an immigration blacklist, effectively banning them from re-entering the kingdom for a period of 1-10 years. This leaves you three weeks from now to clear your overstay.
After March 20, the penalty for overstayers will depend on a) whether they make it to an airport or other border checkpoint and report themselves to immigration, or they get apprehended while staying in the country, and b) the length of their overstay.
If your visa overstay is less than 90 days and you leave Thailand voluntarily via an immigration checkpoint, as previously, you’ll get away with just paying the regular fine even after March 20. So unless immigration catch you in Thailand, an overstay of not exceeding 90 days will also be okay in the future.
If the length of your overstay is however more than 90 days (but not exceeding 365 days) you’ll get banned from re-entering the kingdom for one year. If the length of your overstay is more than one year (but less than three years) your name will be put on an immigration blacklist for three years. If your overstay is between three and five years you will be barred from visiting Thailand for five years. If the overstay length is more than five years you face a 10-year re-entry ban. That’s all if you make it to a border checkpoint and leave the country by choice.

If you get arrested with an expired visa while staying inside the country, the penalties may be much more severe and it basically makes no difference whether the length of your overstay is one year or just a few days.
Under the tightened rules, if you don’t turn yourself in at an immigration checkpoint but get apprehended while you’re inside the country, an overstay of less than one year (so this could be just a week or so) may result in your name being put on a blacklist for a whopping five years. If the length of your overstay is more than one year you will be hit by a 10-year re-entry ban.
(It remains somewhat unclear to us whether these penalties only apply to foreigners who get arrested in criminal cases and just happen to have also overstayed their visa, or to foreigners in general who get apprehended with an expired visa in their passport and prosecuted on overstay charges. We would assume however that the latter, more rigorous interpretation is applicable.)
The following announcement published on the Thai immigration website explains the penalties more graphically:

New overstay rules

If this shouldn’t be sufficiently clear, creative minds at the immigration bureau have also produced a music video, fully detailing the penalties for overstayers:

So if you happen to be on an overstay right now, head straight for Suvarnabhumi Airport or any other border checkpoint and clear your overstay by just paying the regular fine while you still can. It’s only 500 Baht per day but 20,000 Baht at most, so act now and get your overstay sorted rather today than tomorrow.
Book a visa run to Cambodia (spend a couple of days in Phnom Penh or Sihanoukville), go on a trip to Laos or Penang, have a holiday in Vietnam or (if you can’t do without the Pattaya vibes) Angeles City – wherever! Come back to Thailand in just a few days, where possible, with a fresh tourist visa or whatever visa you qualify for.
After March 20, if your visa should be about to expire, do no take any more risks but head straight for your local immigration office – in Pattaya, that’s on Soi 5 in Jomtien – and apply for an extension if you can.
Otherwise do leave the country no later than the date indicated in the entry or extension stamp in your passport (“admitted until”) and apply for a new visa at a Thai consulate abroad. If you don’t want to leave the SEA region a visa run to Vientiane or Savannakhet in Laos will most likely do the job. Don’t laze away and become illegal – an overstay is simply unnecessary and, in light of the tough new rules, not worth taking the risk. You wouldn’t want foreigners in your home country to ignore your immigration rules either, would you?

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

  1. Good day!! It’s creating confusion somewhere, but does this apply to foreign children born in Thailand who’s 15 years old below who as far as I know are visa exempted? Thanks

    • Good day! No, according to the current entry page of the Thai immigration website, the new rules do NOT apply to foreigners below the age of 18. There’s a little “Remark” section on the right-hand side of the page, just above the “More details” button.

    • Shouldn’t be a problem. One day overstay is really nothing. Even under the new rules, if you make it to the airport and pay the due fine, an overstay of not exceeding 90 days will still be okay and you won’t get blacklisted. It might “look better” though if you applied for a proper tourist or other visa during your visa run. Leaving via an international airport checkpoint may also be advisable.

    • Old overstay stamps may not look good in your passport but they don’t really matter. What matters is whether you have currently overstayed your visa and for how long? If it’s less than 90 days you shouldn’t face any problems even under the new rules. Just make it to an airport or other border checkpoint and pay the fine (500 Baht/day, 20,000 Baht maximum). If your overstay is more than 90 days I don’t think that a new passport would help you much because all your records are in their database. As it seems though, immigration aren’t strictly enforcing the new rules yet anyway so you might be lucky and not get blacklisted even if your overstay exceeds 90 days. Check this thread on Thaivisa from today: http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/905882-friend-visa-overstay-gone-but-not-banned/. On the other hand, I wouldn’t expect this unofficial grace period to last forever.

  2. i am worried now this is the first time i have seen the new overstay rules i live out in the sticks of Thailand…i have been living with a Thai women that is very sick i have been taking care of her for over 4 year.i have just found out now that if i go to the airport i will be blacklisted for 10 years.i don’t worry for my self..its the women that i have been taking care of and she has know family and i am now 70 years old..i have nothing back in England..the reason i have know visa was the long distance on a bus every three months that i did not feel fit to do..maybe whoever reads this will think it is a poor excuse..if i had been much younger it would never been a problem

  3. Hey, I’m Thai / Oz national (duel citizen) well ive overstayed my tourist Visa quite a while on my Oz passport. I’m told not to worry coz Im already a Thai national, knowing this I never made any effort to exit/enter again on my Thai passport since I was instructed (by a legal advisor) not to stresss, but hearing of all these new rules and regulations I still feel a bit worried of my current situation. My question is, whats the best course of action I should take?

    • I must admit I’ve got really no clue. If you’re a 100% Thai national with a valid Thai passport I would say there shouldn’t be a problem – you just stay in Thailand as a Thai national. Then again, why did you travel to Thailand on your Aussie passport in the first place? Best is you ask a lawyer who’s familiar with Thai immigration law. I wouldn’t want to give you any wrong advice.

  4. I m Moroccan. ..I have wife and 2 children. ..I have visa non-O 1 year…but I was have some problem about moneys…that make me move to phayao in North thai…and then after 1 year there I just know that lower in thailand change about overstay and I m overstay more than 1 year…I m really worry if I get black list 3 years…I m that support my family. ..and I not have anything in morocco. ..I have thailand adresse in my passport …I love my wife and my kids…I not need be far to them 3 years… please give me some information …how I can do for not get blacklist?

    • The best you can do is explain everything about your wife and kids to immigration once you’re at the airport. Make sure they can also talk to your wife on the phone so she can explain it to them in Thai as well. I’m afraid it might still not help though? Good luck anyway!

  5. Hi
    I am British and living in Pattaya working for over 2 years all my work permit and visa were ok until recently when a visa agent kept my passport for a long period of time . He kept it to secure a new visa (yearly non immigrant ) I finally got my passport back and was over 90 days . Also left my job . If I was to go Laos and explain my situation will I be banned from entering Thailand ? And if so will I be arrested or stranded in Laos ? I will be doing a land crossing . Or am I wasting my time ? Am I better cutting my losses going back to uk paying the 20,000 and get banned for a year?

    • Unfortunately I don’t think any explanations would help much. Why didn’t you just claim your passport back from the agent when you apparently knew the new rules and that you were approaching a 90+ days overstay? I’d say the best is to go back to the UK or anywhere else now (alternatively, how about Cambodia, the Philippines or Vietnam perhaps?) and come back in a year and start all over again. After all, a year isn’t that long, and the longer you overstay your visa now the longer the blacklisting period might get. Good luck mate!

  6. Today I go to jomtien immigration for 30 day extension.
    He no agree because the hotel form requested is signed by thai manager and his id card is not issued in chonburi province !!” Crazy..

  7. I overstay in Thailand for 2years and pay a fine at the airport and out in 2015 before the new rules of overstay was pass.can I enter Thailand again?

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