The truth – Visa scare for Thai expats

Hello all: We would just like to clear up the visa misunderstanding!!

Summary of this post in laymans terms: So for the first 3 double entry visas you are golden, after that, it is up to the Thai embassy to give you another. There is no guarantee you will get the 4th visa, but also, no guarantee you won’t. So nothing has really changed here... Everybody be cool.

In the last few days we have had a lot of people contacting us regarding the August 12th deadline. This was triggered by a letter from the Thai Consulate-General in Savannakhet (see below) dated July 3, 2014, stating that from August 12th onward that they will start to “strictly implement the border crossing law and regulations to prevent visa runners from abusing the visa exemption”.

This letter is pretty straight forward and only “advise those wishing to enter Thailand for other purposes to apply for appropriate visa”, which is still in accordance with the Immigration act B.E. 2522 and other relevant laws, so nothing has changed. It is the same Act we all know, no new laws or tighter regulations.

As this information devolved over the last few days through visa forums and social media it seemed to grow into a huge swirling mass of misinformation and panic. So we had our in-house legal meet with immigration to hear what their understanding was on this.

We posed some straight forward questions for them as the things we were hearing were pretty ridicules.

Q: Have you guys heard of this rumor that all foreigners are being denied extensions of their visas on August 12th?
A: Laughing saying “impossible!”

Q: We have quite a few people on double entry tourist visas, so they are fine?
A: Yes, of course. People could do up to three double entries, but it is up to the Thai Embassy to grant them another one or not depending how many tourist visas they have been granted in the past.

Q: So, for example if someone arrived on a 30 day visa on entry then wanted to stay longer in Thailand as a tourist could they just go to either Laos or Malaysia to get a tourist visa?
A: Yes, again it would depend on the number of tourist visas that have been granted to them in the past. If they have been here over say a year and half as a tourist then it is up to the embassy whether to grant them a new tourist visa or not.

After our talk with immigration we can safely say to just relax and that there is nothing to worry about. Stay and enjoy Thailand until your current visas run out. If your school isn’t able to sort you out with a non-immigrant visa and work permit you can always talk to us about getting on a work permit to enjoy Thailand years to come.

Have an awesome day and just relax.

J. Patrick McNaughton
Entrust Founder & CEO

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