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  • Thailand Visas:Setting the Record Straight 2: Visa Exemption – Updated

    April 15 2014

    A reader was kind enough to point that some changes have occured since i post this article in 2012. Therefore I took his comment into account and updated the post.Another big problem in Thailand for the professional who like us provide visa services is that foreign visas applicants are often confusing the names of the visas they are having and the benefits attached to say visas. This is why we will dedicate this post and the next post to give definitions of visas terms.

    Definitions

    (More definition are to come in the posts published in the next days)

    Here below we will start to give definitions of terms we feel needs to be more clearly understood by visa applicants:

    In this first table we will try to explain what a visa is, who is the authority issuing visas, what are the basic rights attached to a visa and finally what a Visa Waiver program is.

    TERMS

     

    SPECIFICS REMARKS
    A VISA is a certificate issued or a stamp marked on the applicant’s passport by Thai competent authorities to indicate that the applicant’s credentials have been verified and he or she has been granted permission to enter the country for a temporary stay within a specified period. A VISA indicates that a Thai consular officer has reviewed your application and has determined that you are eligible to travel to Thailand for the specific purpose indicated into your application A VISA is not a permission to enter and does not guarantee that the holder will be authorized to enter Thailand.

    The Immigration Officer at the port of entry in Thailand is the authority that will decide whether to allow you to enter into Thailand.

    YOU MAY LEGALLY BE REFUSED ENTRANCE EVEN IF YOU HAVE A VALID VISA

    ISSUING AUTHORITY: The authority that is responsible for the issuance of visas abroad or at the port of entry Abroad: All visa types (but one) are issued abroad by the Thai Embassies and Consular Authorities of the Kingdom of Thailand Visa on Arrival are not to be confused with Visa Exemption Status
    In Thailand: one type of visa is issued by immigration officers at the port of entry. It is called the visa on arrival
    VISA EXEMPTION. A program from the Thai Government which allows citizens of specific countries to travel to the Kingdom of Thailand for tourism for period from 30 up to 90 days (depending of the country of origin) without having to obtain a visa.Visa Exemption  is another name for what is really a  VISA WAIVER PROGRAM VISA EXEMPTION is NOT a VISA, to the contrary it is a WAIVER from the obligation to have to apply for a VISA before to travel and enter to Thailand.It is often wrongly called by forein citizens a Tourist Visa. Visa Exemption is not a visa and therefore not a tourist visa. The sole and only tourist visa is the one delivered by Thai Embassies and Consulate abroad VISA EXEMPTION STATUS is not a permission to enter and does not guarantee that the Beneficiary will be authorized to enter Thailand

    The Immigration Officer at the port of entry in Thailand is the authority that will decide whether to allow you to enter into Thailand.

    YOU MAY LEGALLY BE REFUSED ENTRANCE EVEN IF YOU COME FROM A COUNTRY THAT BENEFIT FROM VISA EXEMPTION STATUS

    The Visa Exemption:

    The visa exemption status is the one that generates the most confusion among foreign citizens and is inexactly called a “tourist visa” by foreign national in Thailand.

    Visa Exemption Type

    Beneficiaries

    Remarks

    Visa ExemptionLaw“Phor 30” (30 days):Thailand immigration law offers visa exemption status to nationals of a limited number of countries Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Iceland,  Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Luxemburg, Malaysia, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Singapore, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UAE, Britain & North Ireland, and USA. – The applicant must have a passport valid at least 6 months at the time of entry

    – The applicant must have at least 10,000 THB per person or 20,000 per family

    – The duration of stay may be extended at the immigration for a period of 7 days maximum

    – Subsequent Stays:

    Phor 30: 15 days if travelling by bus to a neighbour country. 30 days if travelling by plane

    Phor Phor 30 days: whether travelling by bus or by plane.

    No limitation as to the number of successive trips that may be done but remember the immigration officer has a discretionary power and may refuse the entry to someone that seems to abuse the system

     

    Visa Exemption: Treaty

    “Phor Phor 30”. (30) Days:

    The nationals of the following countries who have bilateral treaties with Thailand will be granted a 30 day visa exemption called “Phor Phor 30”.

    Hong Kong, Laos, Macau, Mongolia, Russia, and Vietnam.
    Visa Exemption: Treaty“Phor Phor 90”The nationals of the following countries who have bilateral treaties with Thailand will be granted a 90 day visa exemption called “Phor Phor 90 Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Korea (ROK) and Peru The duration of stay may be extended at the immigration for a period of 7 days maximum 

    Subsequent Stays:

    90 days whether travelling by bus or by plane. No limitation as to number of successive trips

     

    VISA RUN: (PHOR 30) The process used by nationals of countries those benefits from the Visa Waiver that consists of taking a bus to a neighboring country, checking out of Thailand and then returning into Thailand the same day with a renewed visa exemption. A repeated use of this process, afford the visa runners an almost unlimited stays in Thailand which is not acceptable for the government. Visa Runners that travel by road to Thailand neighboring countries will only obtain 15 days instead of 30 days of visa exemption.

    Visa Runners that travel by plane to Thailand neighboring countries will continue to receive 30 days of visa exemption

    This restriction does not apply to Malaysian citizens who will continue to receive 30 days visa even if they come by road at Thai Malaisian check point

     

    For the time being there is no limitation on the number of time that you may use the “Phor 30″.

    However: THE IMMIGRATION OFFICER AT THE ENTRY POINT MAY ON ITS OWN AUTHORITY REFUSE YOU THE RIGHT TO ENTER THAILAND AT ANYTIME IF HE BELIEVES THAT YOU ARE ABUSING THE SYSTEM.

     

    In our next post we will continue with more definition about the other visa types

    Note: This post is an excerpt of Rene Philippe Dubout next book: “How to Invest Safely Into Thailand” to be published in January 2010

    About the Author:

    The author Rene-Philippe DUBOUT is a lawyer since 1990 when he was admitted to Geneva bar (Switzerland). He practiced as a litigator there for 10 years until he moved to Thailand in 1999. In 2002 he founded with a group of Thai lawyers Rene Philippe & Partners Ltd a local law firm that specialized in Cross Borders Investments and Real Estate. He has been lecturing in several Thai Universities and a speaker to numerous conferences and seminars. He is the author of a must read book:”How to Purchase Real Estate Offshore Safely: The Case of Thailand”.

    http//:www.renephilippe.com

    © Copyrights 2012 – Rene Philippe Dubout – This article may be reprinted if information about the author, the websites, and the URLs remain intact.

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