ThaiVisa.com reports that the Immigration Bureau on July 22 posted a new announcement regarding its updated rules for “visa overstayers” on its website. Until now, tourists who “overstayed” their visa were simply fined 500 Baht/day up to a maximum fine of 20,000 Baht; only when an “overstayer” was caught within the kingdom, he/she faced arrest and deportation. Overstayers were not blacklisted.
According to the new rules, however, foreigners who overstay their visa for more than 90 days will get blacklisted, i.e. prohibited from returning to Thailand for a period of 1-10 years. The good news are: The Immigration Bureau confirmed on July 25 that the new overstay rules are still awaiting approval by the Ministry of Interior. That means, they are not yet in effect. It should also be noted that, according to a number of comments posted on ThaiVisa.com, the new rules will not be in effect until September. But obviously, if you should be on an overstay, the sooner you leave the country – preferably via an airport checkpoint – and clear your overstay/visa situation, the better are your chances of not getting blacklisted. ThaiVisa.com suggests: “If you currently are on overstay, you are advised to clear it as soon as possible. Good advice would be to clear the overstay at the airport and fly out to a neighbouring country and obtain a relevant visa at a Royal Thai Consulate or Embassy.”
As we interpret the new rules: If an overstayer gets apprehended in Thailand without a valid permission of stay, no matter how lengthy the overstay is, he risks getting blacklisted for 5-10 years. If an overstayer makes it to the airport or any other border checkpoint and pays the appropriate overstay fine, he will get blacklisted for 1-10 years only if he has overstayed his visa for more than 90 days; an overstay of less than 90 days is okay it seems. The overstay fine of 500 Baht/day up to a maximum of 20,000 Baht still applies.
The announcement on the immigration website reads as follows:
[If the overstayer surrenders himself at a border checkpoint]
Overstay more than 90 days forbidden 1 year
Overstay more than 1 year forbidden 3 years
Overstay more than 3 years forbidden 5 years
Overstay more than 5 years forbidden 10 years
[If the overstayer gets apprehended while staying in Thailand]
Overstay less than 1 year forbidden 5 years
Overstay more than 1 years forbidden 10 years