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Thailand Visa Law: Land Border Entry Rules Tightening

Transcript of the above video:

In this video, we're going to do some quick updates regarding the visa and immigration policies and protocols specifically some recent news regarding implementation of those protocols, how they're affecting people foreigners specifically who are trying to travel to Thailand.

In a recent article in Bangkok Post May 26, 2017, the article is headlined "New Visa Rule for Land Arrivals Hitting Singaporean Visitors." The owner of a tour company in Southern Thailand noted and I quote "the regulation affects visitors arriving by land who are nationals of countries other than those immediately adjoining Thailand even if it's their third or more visit in a year, they must obtain a visa in advance."

What we're talking about here and there's another video on this channel we've discussed in great depth as to how this actually works. But a new law was promulgated as of the turn of this past year 2017 which basically creates the requirement that foreigners obtain visas if they're going to enter the country more than two times in a given year.

So while in the past there were visa exemptions granted to foreign nationals coming to Thailand on arrival for 30 days, the so-called 30-day stamp, this is still going on, it still works but one can only enjoy one of those stamps twice in a given calendar year. It should be noted that there is an ability to go ahead and extend one's status by an extra 30 days on top of the initial 30 days one's granted on that stamp. But as far as entry is concerned, there's going to be two such entries allowed per year.

What this article goes on to note and what's of interest is Singaporeans appear to be having problems coming in over the southern border of Thailand and these folks tend to come basically tourism, sightseeing, day trip to some of the markets on the other side of the Thai border, etcetera. But they're having more and more issues getting in the country. This is having an impact on business down there as immigration policies sometimes can't have an effect on business. But it's notable for our purposes because it shows that yes, these policies are being implemented. They're being implemented across the border.

What's of interest to me is that Singapore is another ASEAN country and it's a country that Thailand is obviously in very good terms with and deals with a lot when it comes to business. Notwithstanding these close ties and the close ties under the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Singapore is not exempt from this rule. There are some exemptions made with respect to these rules for those countries that are immediately joining Thailand notably Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia because frankly, strict implementation of a twice-a-year policy with respect to some of those nationals would almost be A) impossible probably to enforce and B) it would not be particularly conducive to what I presume is a thriving cross-border trade with some or all of those nations.

But the Singaporean issue, it raises an interesting sort of abnormal concern because it is a nation that is historically been quite close to Thailand, has close business and travel ties to Thailand but these rules seem to be in effect notwithstanding that, notwithstanding the amicable relations there. So I bring it up because it's basically unwise to presume that any one country's overall relationship with Thailand, close or otherwise, is going to have any massive impact on immigration protocols and processes associated with entering the country because it looks to me like it's not.

Thailand has decided to implement stricter rules with respect to immigration and they seem serious about the rapid and quite frankly, stringent implementation of those rules, Singapore notwithstanding. Now as a result of these issues, we might see some sort of exemption carved out for Singapore in the future. This video really isn't meant to get to the crop of the issue being Singapore itself.

This video is more designed to provide an insight that "Look, it's not easy anymore really to get into Thailand more than twice a year. In trying to do without a visa is going to result probably being turned away and it's also pretty clear that Thai immigration is becoming more and more scrutinizing of one's immigration history in the Kingdom notwithstanding how many visas one has. So multiple tourist visa holders are not going to be particularly encouraged to essentially live in Thailand using tourist visas. And also, putting people on the blacklist is becoming a more and more common thing and turning people away from the airport when trying to come through immigration. Again, the policy of so-called good guys in, bad guys out is not just lip service. This is a serious policy, they're implementing it as I said across the border and this implementation is serious.

Notwithstanding the fact that the close relationship with a relatively close neighbor, these rules are being implemented. So act accordingly, understand the situation and those who want to come to Thailand for more than two visits per year or for a duration longer than two to three months, it's a very good idea to look at getting a long term visa before coming to the Kingdom to avoid any problems when basically presented with another border crossing here in Thailand.