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Immigration clarifies cash requirement rule



Immigration clarifies cash requirement rule | Thaiger

PHUKET: Immigration checkpoints nationwide are free to enforce minimum currency requirements on foreigners entering Thailand at their own discretion, a top Immigration official confirmed on Friday.

Commenting on the posting of notices at several Immigration checkpoints in the north of Thailand, Pol Col Chalermpong Vadhanasukha, Deputy Superintendent of Immigration Division 3, in Bangkok, said, “[The rule] has been in effect since May 8, 2000, when it was signed into law by the then-Interior Minister, Banyat Bantadtan,” he said.

The notices in the North warn that the regulation will be enforced from Friday (October 1), and specify the following minimum amounts in cash, or equivalent, to be brought in by foreigners, according to type of visa:

• 30-day “on arrival” visa: 10,000 baht (20,000 baht for families traveling together);

• 60 day tourist visa or non-immigrant visa: 20,000 baht (40,000 baht per family);

Children under 12 are exempted from the requirement.

Col Chalermpong said, “It’s an old law, but not every Immigration checkpoint enforces it strictly … It is up to each office how it enforces this regulation.

“Real tourists do not have to worry about this, but people who repeatedly enter Thailand on 30-day or 60-day visas will come under scrutiny,” he added.

Asked if bank statements or ATM receipts would be accepted, Col Chalermpong said that this, too, would be up to the discretion of each checkpoint.

He added, however, that any officer who refused to accept valid traveler’s checks as proof of financial status would be liable to prosecution.

Pol Col Sa’ngob Sun-udorn, Superintendent of Mae Sai Immigration, said that his office was simply following ministerial regulations in enforcing the rule.

“Mae Sai Immigration was criticized by the Chiang Rai Governor, who asked us why there are are so many strange cases of people stamping in and out of Thailand on tourist visas – some for as long as 15 years. What are [such people] still doing in Chiang Rai?

“We have to enforce this rule strictly in such cases, and we will begin to do so on October 1,” he confirmed.

However, Pol Capt Krissarat Nuesen of Phuket Provincial Immigration Office (PPIO) told the Gazette, “We have not strictly enforced this regulation because [doing so] would cause long queues and we would be criticized.”

He added, however, that PPIO officers would not rule out using the regulation in cases involving foreigners staying in the country for a long time on a string of tourist visas.

Pol Col Chawalit Busayarat, Superintendent of Ranong Immigration, has a similiar view of how the rules will be applied. “We do not enforce this regulation on all foreigners. We mainly check for people on Immigration’s blacklist,” he said.

“We also check foreigners staying on tourist visas, who apply repeatedly for extensions to stay. If they continue applying for extensions, then we send their documents to Bangkok to be checked.

“Most of these people are Europeans and Americans. They keep applying because they have Thai wives and families here to support,” Col Chawalit added.


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