24 September 2010

Government to jail Thailand Visa overstayers

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The Thailand Immigration Department has introduced harsher penalties for people overstaying a valid visa in a bid to ensure foreigners do not flout visa rules.

Until now, foreigners who had overstayed their visa could just pay a fine of maximum 20,000 Baht at Suvarnabhumi airport and be permitted leave Thailand, provided they had a valid air ticket out of the country.

However, the immigration department has been increasingly frustrated with foreigners’ overstaying their visas by lengthy time periods and harsher penalties have been introduced. 

Anybody who has overstayed a Thai Visa by six weeks (42 days) or more faces potential arrest.

Those who overstay less than three weeks (21 days) are still able to arrive at the airport, pay the fine due and leave Thailand.

Those whose overstay falls in the period between three and six weeks, between 22 and 41 days, should be aware that it will be up to the immigration officer at an airport or land border crossing to decide whether to detain or permit him or her to leave unhindered, after payment of the overstay fine has been levied.

The Worldwide Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in Thai Visa and immigration services.

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