Integrity Legal - Law Firm in Bangkok | Bangkok Lawyer | Legal Services Thailand Back to
Integrity Legal

Legal Services & Resources 

Up to date legal information pertaining to Thai, American, & International Law.

Contact us: +66 2-266 3698

ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawThailand Immigration LawWill COVID-19 Mark the End of "Fake Tourists" in Thailand?

Will COVID-19 Mark the End of "Fake Tourists" in Thailand?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests we are discussing so-called "fake tourists" and how those folks are going to be impacted by COVID-19. 

This whole topic kind of came up in a conversation I had with a staff member and we were kind of discussing just the situation here in Thailand as this Amnesty is winding down, as we are kind of seeing certain travel being allowed and travelers being able to get back into Thailand albeit a rather cumbersome and circuitous route.

The point of this video is, I am not calling anybody a "fake tourist" but we were talking about the way tourists have been tabulated here in Thailand in the years leading up to 2020. There are a number of people especially prior to what I call the Big Joke Era when Big Joke took over the Thai Immigration apparatus, frankly up until right around about 2015-16 somewhere in there and right around I think it was about 2016 we started seeing a crackdown on people using Tourist Visas to effectively live in Thailand. A lot of them were working illegally in Thailand on tourist visas and then it has tightened up ever since.  One thing that I think we could see in the aftermath of COVID-19 is that the Visa process may be a little bit more stringent and folks entering Thailand may need to be more clear in their intentions for why they are here. As a result I can see the stratification or the tabulation of folks entering Thailand being sort of reordered. We could see this perhaps the same numbers of people coming to Thailand but post COVID, folks may have to be more assiduous in being very clear about what their intentions are in coming to Thailand.  Whereas once somebody might have used perhaps a Tourist Visa or even a 30-day stamp for a quick business meeting in Thailand, I could see a set of circumstances unfold wherein that may not be possible in the aftermath of this whole situation and they will have to get a Business Visa and make their intentions clear about why they are coming to Thailand in the aftermath of this sort of lockdown scenario.  

I guess I am making this video to say that I am not sort of calling anyone out or disparaging folks. When I say "fake tourists" I basically mean people that have been traditionally labeled tourists that perhaps were not fitting fully into the mold of a tourist. Perhaps they were here long term and they were using ongoing tourist visas to maintain status that way. Folks like that may fall over, they may just go ahead and up and decide to go ahead and move into a Retirement Visa if that suits them. There may be circumstances where they may move into a Thai Marriage Visa, they may move into a Thai Business Visa or they may start using the Thailand Elite program. Under any of those scenarios, some of these folks may be moved out of the "tourist category" and over to some other category which more accurately describes their status in Thailand.

So that is the only point of making this video but I do think it is noteworthy as I think we are going to see an evolutionary process go on over the course of the next roughly year to 18 months with respect to Thai Immigration and it will be interesting to see if the tabulation of “Tourist” changes in the post- COVID era.