Penang halts issuance of double-entry tourist visas
PHUKET: The Royal Thai Consulate in neighboring Penang, Malaysia, has stopped issuing double-entry tourist visas for Thailand. The only tourist visa currently available there is a 60-day single-entry one.
An official at the consulate this afternoon told the Gazette that Consul Pramote Pramoonsab had issued an order to cease issuance of double-entry tourist visas.
Other visa categories are unaffected by the order, the official added.
The Royal Thai Consulate in Kota Bharu and the Royal Thai Embassy in Kuala Lumpur are, for the time being, still issuing double-entry tourist visas.
Fareeda Chewae of the Royal Thai Embassy in Kuala Lumpur warned that this may change in the near future, however.
The Gazette contacted the consulates following the news that from October 1 Thai Immigration will limit to three the number of visas on arrival its officers will issue at Immigration checkpoints in Thailand.
To cope with the new policy, many long-stay tourists who currently do ‘visa runs’ every month are looking for alternative ways to spend more than three months with their families or friends in Thailand. As a possible short term solution to the problem, some foreigners had been contemplating short trips to Penang where they would obtain multiple-entry tourist visas that would not be counted against the new limit of three visas issued on arrival in Thailand.
The chiefs of all Immigration offices will meet in Bangkok tomorrow to discuss the details of the new Immigration policy, after which they will make a much-awaited statement.
While intended as a crackdown measure on foreigners working illegally in the county, the policy has created widespread concern across the foreign community in Phuket, particularly among the more affluent who do not work and have no interest in doing so.
Perceived correctly or incorrectly as a move to discourage foreigners from extended visits to Thailand, the new policy has alarmed local residents, both Thai and foreign, about the future of the country’s all-important tourism and property industries.
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