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Thailand Immigration: Explaining the Visa Run

Transcript of the above video:

Today, we're going to be discussing visa runs. Specifically, this is coming up because Thai law has changed fundamentally with respect to some of its immigration regulations. Most notably in the first of the year in the World Thai Gazette here in Thailand, changes were made which stipulated that it's now only possible for an individual and to be clear, an individual of nationality not directly joining Thailand so not a land-bordering country of Thailand but any other national needs to go ahead and can only obtain two 30-day stamps from a classic border run every year.

I decided to go ahead make this video basically to sort of clarify what kinds of visa runs are currently available to individual wishing to stay long term in Thailand. So first, there's the classic visa run that everyone's used to under the old rules. A 30-day stamp, you run across the border, you run back in, you get 30 days. Okay, that's still there but the rules are fairly clear on this. That's available only twice a year, two times a year, and that's in a given calendar year. 

The next thing is what I call sort of an embassy run. An embassy run is basically a running out of the country "I have to go to an actual Thai embassy or consulate and pick up a visa." This kind of thing can happen to any other visa categories. It seems to be more prevalent for those who are trying to use tourist visas to maintain status in Thailand. For those folks in that category trying to maintain status using tourist visas, it should be noted Thai immigration authorities at the land border entries upon people seeking admission are seriously scrutinizing those entering with tourist visa problems, not 30-day stamps but problem tourist visas. They're scrutinizing those folks. If you have multiple tourist visas, it's going to become a problem. Trying to live in Thailand on a tourist visa is becoming extremely difficult if not dire near impossible.

Finally, there's what I call sort of a, it really is a visa run in the classic sense but it also has an underlying multiple entry visa attached to it and I call this the multi-entry visa run if you want to call it that. So with the multiple entry visa, say multiple entry O based on say Thai marriage or guardianship of a Thai child or a multi-entry business visa, a B visa with multi-entry, one is allowed to use that via for the sum total of the year but one has to leave the country once at least every 90 days to maintain status.

In another video, we discussed re-entry permits and how they're different in this type of visa. We're not going to get into that here. I just want to clarify exactly what we're talking about. What we're talking about, every 90 days one hops out of the country and hops back in. The difference between this and the classic visa run and the tourist or the embassy visa run is one, you don't have to go to the embassy. You just hop into the border, have immigration stamp you out and have immigration stamp you back in. It's very much like a 30-day stamp. The difference is it can be done infinitely over the course of that year and in fact, has to be done at least four times every 90 days over the course of the one-year status of the visa.

So it's something to keep in mind. I just want to provide some clarity. You see people talk constantly about all these different things having to do with visa runs, I have to run to a embassy or I have a multi-entry visa. These are the three differences. If you don't have a visa in your passport, you're running across the border to get a 30-day stamp. That's what I call a classic visa run.  

If you have no visa, you need to run to an embassy to get one, that's an embassy visa run. And finally, if you have a multi-entry visa and you're running back in the country to get a 90-day status, that's what I call a multi-entry visa run. And each of them are qualitatively different in nature and it's something that I've kind of felt like people are probably curious to know the difference between these three kinds of things.