New Thailand Visa Rules From March 20th 2016
After a long period of proposals for stricter Immigration laws and enforcement, stricter rules for visa over-stayers will take effect from March 20th, 2016. Besides the system of fines already in place, over-stayers will now be forbidden to return to the Kingdom for various periods of time. These measures are part of a wider national security policy set in place by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and national police chief Chakthip Chaijiada.
The new rules affect those who overstay by more than 90 days, which is considered to be seriously negligent or flagrant offence. If you happen to forget your renewal due date or something unexpected comes up, like you are sick in hospital, the previous rules of a 500 THB per day fine with a 20,000 THB cap still applies to you. The new measures are intended to crack down on deliberate offenders.
According to the Immigration Office, aliens who violate immigration law by overstaying more than 90 days will be forbidden from re-entering the Kingdom for certain periods of time, depending on how long the period of overstay and if they were arrested or voluntarily turned themselves into immigration authorities.
For those voluntarily reporting visa overstay, the bans on re-entry are as follows:
Overstay more than 90 days –> Forbidden to re-enter for 1 year
Overstay more than 1 year –> Forbidden to re-enter for 3 years
Overstay more than 3 years –> Forbidden to re-enter for 5 years
Overstay more than 5 years –> Forbidden to re-enter for 10 years
For those who have been arrested, the bans on re-entry are as follows:
Overstay less than 1 year –> Forbidden to re-enter for 5 years
Overstay more than 1 year –> Forbidden to re-enter for 10 years
Simply put, the best advice is to pay attention to your renewal date and plan accordingly. For an honest person, there is no reason to overstay by a number of years or even months. Your stay in Thailand can be pleasant and you will be welcomed back again and again if you take care to follow the visa rules and stay updated on legal changes.