“No More Visa Runs” – Visa Runners Cannot Re-Enter After August 12

The Nation has a few more details on the imminent crackdown on “visa runners”: “Foreigners who do regular visa runs in order to extend their stay in Thailand have less than a month before a crackdown by the authorities to enforce immigration laws more strictly. From August 13, people [who have not obtained a proper visa prior to their visit to Thailand] will not be able to re-enter the country, regardless of their choice of transport [including visa runs by air?]. The Immigration Bureau has already instructed officials to deny entry to foreigners doing visa runs as a measure to stop the exploitation of tourist visas [?!] and visa exemptions to live or work here.” So visa runs by air, not just border runs to a land border crossing, will obviously also be affected by the new regulations; while it remains to be seen to what extent holders of tourist visas will be affected.
The Immigration Bureau website is quoted as saying: “Leniency will be granted until August 12, but only for passengers arriving by air. Foreigners who come to Thailand [and wish to stay longer than 30 days] must seek a proper visa in line with the purpose of their intended stay here.”
The Nation adds that “those on a visa run who are allowed back in will find an “O-I” (Out-In) mark next to their latest stamp marking entry. From August 13, nobody with an O-I sign on their passport will be allowed to re-enter Thailand if they cannot produce a proper visa.”
To be clear about this: Thai immigration seem to be very strict about these new regulations this time. If you haven’t obtained a regular visa prior to your visit to Thailand, but wish to stay longer than just for a brief holiday, then “visa runs” are no longer a viable option to extend your stay in the kingdom. If you plan to stay in Thailand for longer than a holiday of 30 days or less, you’re advised to apply for a tourist visa at your local Thai embassy or consulate in advance.

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