Thai Law Firms Advise Of Thailand’s Strict New Visa Overstay Rules In Effect 20 March 2016
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Thailand’s strict new visa overstay rules are set to come into effect on 20 March 2016, as Thai law and immigration authorities move to tighten up security against ill-intentioned elements and crack down on the practice of overstaying.

The new rules will mean a foreigner who overstays his or her visa for more than 90 days will be banned from re-entering the kingdom for one year. The longer the overstay, the longer the ban on re-entry will be.

Owners of houses, hotels, apartments and hostels who rent rooms to foreigners will at the same time be asked to inform of the stay of foreigners to the nearest immigration office, so that officials can keep track of their stay in Thailand.

Thai law firms in the kingdom, particularly those which have a Thai visa service department, recommend foreigners in Thailand to familiarize themselves with the new overstay rules. This they can do by visiting the website of Bangkok’s Immigration Division 1, on which is posted an announcement listing the rules and the penalty for those who do overstay their visa.

The new rules incorporate a two structure system, which will see an overstaying foreigner who willingly surrenders to the authorities treated differently from an overstaying foreigner who happens to be arrested and prosecuted.

In the case of voluntary surrender, a foreigner who has overstayed for more than 90 days will be banned from re-entering Thailand for one year. For an overstay of more than one year the ban will be three years, for an overstay of more than three years the ban will be five years and for an overstay of more than five years the ban will be 10 years.

In the case of a foreigner being arrested and prosecuted, he or she will be banned from re-entering for five years for an overstay of less than one year or banned for 10 years if the overstay is more than one year.

The period in which the foreigner is banned from re-entering Thailand begins from the date he or she departs the kingdom.

The immigration bureau website announcement states that the new visa overstay rules do not apply to a foreigner who departs the country before the age of 18.

The announcement explains that a foreigner who has already overstayed beyond his or her permitted date in Thailand can surrender to the authorities at an immigration checkpoint (land border, seaport or airport) before the 20 March enforcement date of the new overstay rules and pay the existing fine of Bt500 per day of overstay up to a maximum Bt20,000 before leaving the kingdom.

“The Thai law and immigration authorities are getting serious about cracking down on the widespread practice of visa overstaying. This is evident with the introduction of the stricter penalties which will come into effect on 20 March 2016”, said Apisakdi Kongkangwanchoke, spokesman for leading international law firm in Thailand BSA Law.

BSA Law is among many a law firm in Thailand which can provide advice and assistance on Thai visa and Thailand work permit matters. These firms typically offer a comprehensive range of legal and financial services including in the areas of tax consulting, accounting, auditing, Thai labour law, corporate law, contracts, property, intellectual property, insurance, investment and starting a business in Thailand.


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