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Overstaying in Thailand: The Thai Immigration Blacklist

How Thailand Blacklists a Foreigner

Millions of foreigners from around the globe visit Thailand each year. Many have been captivated by the beauty of this Asian country that they keep coming back whether for a business trip or for a holiday with their loved ones and friends.

But while a trip to Thailand can be fun, it can also lead to trouble if tourists fail to follow the travel and tourism laws of the country. For example, there have been numerous cases of foreigners who overstay resulting in their being banned from entering Thailand again. Overstaying in Thailand was once a rather minor matter, but recent changes to regulations have made overstay a significant infraction of immigration rules.

In March 2016, this top tourist destination in Asia implemented new immigration rules banning the re-entry of foreigners who overstay their visas by more than 90 days. As part of its security measures, immigration officials have been tasked to ask hotels, apartments, hostels and landlords renting homes or rooms to report the stay of foreigners in their premises. They are then required to report this to the immigration office nearest them via the internet.

Classification of Overstayers

Foreigners who overstay in Thailand are divided into two categories. There are the overstayers who voluntarily surrender to authorities and the overstayers who get arrested and/or prosecuted.

For those who surrender, they are banned for one year particularly if they overstayed for 90 days after their permitted date of departure. Those who overstayed for more than one year will be banned for three years and a five-year ban will be imposed for those who overstay for more than three years. Foreigners who overstay for more than five years will be prohibited from re-entering Thailand for 10 years.

For those who get arrested and prosecuted, a five-year ban will be imposed to foreigners who overstayed for one year and a 10-year ban for those who overstayed for more than a year.

According to the Immigration Office, the main reason for implementing these new rules is to ensure the country's security and prevent the stay of people who have hidden agendas in the country. There have been reports in the past of foreigners coming to Thailand for the main purpose of conducting illegal trade, scamming people, committing crimes, and even in an effort to create a new base for their gangs.

Immigration Act

Overstay is not the only reason for which one may find themselves on the Blacklist. Based on Thailand's Immigration Act notably Section 12, there are many ways a foreigner can be blacklisted. First, not carrying a valid passport and not getting a Visa upon entry into the country. Second, not having a means of livelihood while staying in the country. Third, taking up an occupation as a laborer without proper skills training which violates the Ministerial regulations although this may more accurately fall under the category of work permit violation.

It should be noted that criminal commission of criminal activities could result in blacklisting.  

Anyone who believe they may be at risk of blacklisting should contact a legal professional in an effort to rectify the situation or mitigate significant negative consequences.