Sep 14

Thailand seems to tighten it’s Visa regulations again: Phuket’s Immigration Chief has confirmed that Thailand will crack down on foreigners working illegally in the country by ending its policy of issuing an unlimited number of consecutive “visas on arrival” – tourist visas that allow the holder to stay a maximum of 15 or 30 days.

The crackdown is intended to stop foreigners – typically bar owners and other small businessmen without work permits – from using the visas to stay in the country indefinitely while working illegally.

Pol Col Bunphot Kongkrachan, Acting Superintendent of the Phuket Immigration Office, said that from October 1 onward, Immigration checkpoints around the country will limit to three the number of consecutive visas on arrival they will grant a single visitor.

After the third consecutive visa on arrival has expired, the passport holder must leave the country and wait 90 days before being allowed back into Thailand on that type of visa.

The move effectively limits the length of stay for those entering the country with this visa class to 45 or 90 days.

The 41 countries whose citizens qualify for visas on arrival include Thailand’s top sources of tourists – almost all Western European countries, the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, Singapore and many more.

Col Bunphot said that all Immigration chiefs nationwide have been ordered to attend a meeting at Immigration headquarters in Bangkok on September 15, during which the new, stricter regulations will be explained in detail.

“I will make a more detailed statement about the new situation within a week of returning from the meeting,” he said.

Suwalai Pinpradab, Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s South Region 4 Office in Phuket, downplayed the potential impact of the new rule on Phuket’s all-important tourism industry.

“I don’t think it will affect tourism revenue in Phuket very much because foreign businessmen holding work permits will still be able to work. The only ones who will be affected will be people who are working illegally and prolonging their stays by making visa run after visa run,” she said.

“My concern is the coming high season. I sympathize with Immigration, which has too few officers. I am afraid that they will be swamped with work and that there will be a slowdown in service [at Immigration checkpoints],” she said.

Executive Visa Run conducts runs to Ranong and recently started a service to Penang in Malaysia. A representative there, who requested anonymity, said that word of the new regulations had created a great deal of confusion.

“Immigration here in Phuket doesn’t know what’s going on because they’ve not received any guidelines yet from Bangkok. Yesterday, when we made inquiries, nobody there could tell us anything,” he said.

When asked if there were a lot of people making “visa hops” to get new visas on arrival, he said, “Oh, there’s a lot. Really. It’s unbelievable, the amount.”

He added, “I think it will have a huge impact. You listen to all this about how they only want the rich people to stay here. There are a lot of people who stay here on low incomes – and they cause no problems. They just get on with their lives,” he said.

Anyway, that will be a new blow to Thailand’s tourism industry. Most longstay tourists do currently the ‘Visa-Runs’, as it can be quite difficult to acquire the long-term stay visas abroad. We will migrate next month from Thailand to Indonesia, so luckily are not effected.

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written by Chris

5 Responses to “Thailand: On-arrival visas: 90 days and you are out…”

  1. travelphilippinesNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    as thailand tighten its visa regulation. philippines have just announced its new visa policy allowing tourist to stay for up to 24 months.

  2. Want to stay longer in the Philippines? Now you can! | nomad4ever UNITED STATES Says:

    […] travelphilippines: as thailand tighten its visa regulation. philippines have just announced its new visa policy… […]

  3. digitalnomadNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:


    How did you implement this rotating archive gizmo…is it a plugin for wordpress?


  4. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    digitalnomad, yes – it’s a WordPress Plugin called ‘Archivist’, check out this link.

  5. RobNo Gravatar THAILAND Says:

    These visa regulations have been in force now for some time, if you want to know the latest information about visas to Thailand check out this page here you will find all the latest updates.

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