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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawThailand Immigration LawAre Border Runs a Thing of the Past in Thailand?

Are Border Runs a Thing of the Past in Thailand?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing so-called Border Runs in Thailand. 

For those who are unaware, there have been a lot of in the past, a lot of activity with respect to mostly Expats who use a so-called Border Run mechanism to maintain lawful status here in the Kingdom.  

What this is, oftentimes you will see this with so-called Thai multi-entry visas, where the person that has that Visa, the Visa is good for a year but each entry to Thailand only grants 90 days of lawful status. So folks on those visas would traditionally go to a border, they may fly out and then fly back in, or cross a border cross back in, get an additional 90-day stamp. This also happened with folks who are here on a 30-day exemption. It was possible oftentimes to go to a border, cross out, cross back in, gain 30 days of lawful status, extra lawful status that way. 

There are other types of visas: Tourist Visas, the sticker, depending on its validity, it might be possible to cross out of the country, cross back in and gain 60 days of status. Finally things like the Thai O-A Retirement Visa would grant one year of lawful status at each border crossing if it was a multi-entry one year O-A Visa. Again, it was this process of Border running. 

Now with COVID-19, the question arises or I should say the reaction to COVID-19 and the restrictions currently associated in an Immigration context therewith, with this upon us are Border Runs effectively a dead letter, is it a thing of the past? I would say probably for the majority of 2020 or at least a good chunk of 2020; well that is already a foregone conclusion. We are in the fourth quarter here; I don't think border running is going to be really possible into December. 2021 remains to be seen but I suspect a good chunk of 2021, Border runs are going to effectively not be a possibility. Now into the future and as a policy consideration, what are policymakers thinking of Border Runs? I would not presume that Border running is going to be a very frequent occurrence in the coming year, possibly beyond that. 

Now that stated I suspect the encouragement of Tourism is going to be high on the priority list especially in the later parts of 2021 so who knows how this will play out but at least for the foreseeable future I think Border Runs, yes they are not going to be a possibility.