New Tourist Visa Rules – No More Double-Entry Tourist Visas?

Mekhong riverfront in Vientiane

Here are potentially bad news for Thailand “long stayers” who are not in the lucky position to qualify for any other visa than a tourist visa and instead travel to Laos every few months to apply for a fresh double-entry stamp.
Indeed, it looks like the ultimate end to “living” in Thailand on double-entry tourist visas is finally nigh and life will yet again become considerably harder for under-50 “long stayers” who are neither married to a Thai national nor do business in Thailand or legally work here.
While it’s not officially confirmed yet but so far merely based on speculation and announcements on a number of Thai embassy websites, the consensus is the following:

  1. There will be no more double-entry and triple-entry tourist visas when the new multiple-entry tourist visa (or METV) becomes available next month.
  2. You must apply for the METV in your home country or country of residence and may have to provide a bank statement as proof as sufficient funds to pay for your vacation.
  3. Unless you are a national of these countries, you can apply only for a single-entry (no multiple-entry!) tourist visa at Thai consulates in neighbouring countries such as Laos. The number of back-to-back applications may be limited to no more than two consecutive single-entry tourist visas.

The following screenshot is from the Facebook page of HD Visa, a Samui-based visa service company:

New Thai tourist visa regulations?

We were first alerted to the imminent “death” of the double-entry tourist visa two days ago, when a Facebook contact of ours informed us of an important update on the website of the Thai embassy in Berlin.
According to the Thai embassy in Germany, they will no longer issue double-entry or triple-entry tourist visas after the new multiple-entry tourist visa (METV) becomes available on November 13, 2015.
As it seems, this serious change to visa policies applies to many other Thai embassies too. This is from the Thai embassy in Norway, for example:

METV Thai embassy Norway

This is from the Thai embassy in Singapore:

Tourist visa Thai embassy Singapore

But the real problems appear to be that you can apply for the new METV only in your home country, and that you may also have to provide some kind of “proof of funds” (which may include a statement from a bank in your home country or proof that you’ve got a job.)
The following screenshot is again from the website of the Thai embassy in Singapore:

METV Thai embassy Singapore

The website of the Thai embassy in Germany also clearly requires a bank statement showing a minimum deposit of 5,000 Euros if you wish to apply for the new multiple-entry visa (they call it “Tourist Visa M”):

METV Thai embassy Berlin

As a result, the Thai consulates in Laos and any other countries in the SEA region may in the future issue only single-entry tourist visas to Western applicants.
What is more: With the alleged new requirement for bank statements, it appears that from November 13, 2015, Thai consulates in the Southeast Asian region may effectively restrict tourist visa applicants to no more than two back-to-back single-entry visas (after which you may have to leave the country and/or apply for an METV in your home country.)
And of course, same as for METV applications, they may ask you to produce an air ticket out of Thailand (but that’s always been an official requirement.)

Only two back-to-back tourist visa applications in Laos?

There is more speculation at the usual places:
And yep, it must be added that so far there has been “no official notice” from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or Thai immigration that double- and triple-entry tourist visas will be shelved altogether. So as usual with any kind of “immigration crackdown”, this may be much ado about nothing only. And sure enough, there will always be some kind of “loophole” and workable way around whatever new stumbling blocks (a.k.a. visa rules) they come up with. So no, it’s not the end of the world but certainly a massive new handicap.

UPDATE (November 2015) – Unfortunately it’s official now that double-entry and triple-entry tourist visa will no longer be available after the launch of the new METV on November 13, 2015. This includes the Thai consulate in Vientiane/Laos:

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