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A letter dated June 23rd has been sent to all embassies and consulates an international organizations in Thailand from Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs warning that from August 12th onwards the Thai Immigration Bureau will prohibit visa runners from entering Thailand, a move that could leave some visitors stranded outside the country.
The letter, in English and employing elaborate prose, says ”with reference to the recent news about Thai Immigration bureau clamping down on visa runners, [the ministry] has the honor to inform the latter [international organisations in Thailand] that the above measure, which has been strictly implemented, is aimed to prevent visa runners who abuse the visa exemption scheme from working illegally in Thailand.”
The letter appears to be implementing a blanket ban on all visa runs, but that could be an oversimplification.
It goes on to say: ”The purpose of the scheme is for tourism only. At present, once a visa runner case has been found, Thai Immigration Bureau would take measures of warning and giving (sic) advice for proper visas.
”However, as of August 12 2014 onwards, Thai Immigration Bureau will commence prohibiting visa runners from entering into Thailand.
”The Ministry therefore encourages all Diplomatic/Consular Missions and International Organisations to advise/publicise their citizens or those wishing to enter into Thailand for other purposes to obtain the appropriate visas prior to their arrival.”
At the moment what is not clear is whether the crackdown applies to those already in the country who are untitled to short visa extensions by making a boarder bounce or whether the new measures mean that all extensions are banned.
According to recent reports, at least one southern border crossing has also been asking for proof of a long-standing law that foreigners entering Thailand must be able to prove to Immigration officials that they have access to additional funds as required under existing but seldom-implemented laws as follows:
.. People entering on a tourist visa exemption or visa-on-arrival must show they have access to at least 10,000 baht per person or 20,000 per family.
.. People entering on a tourist visa or non-immigrant visa issued at a Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate must show they have access to at least 20,000 baht per person or 40,000 baht per family.