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Phuket Immigration clarifies 90-day rule change



Phuket Immigration clarifies 90-day rule change | Thaiger

PHUKET CITY: Following a spate of complaints from confused foreigners entering Thailand on “visa exemptions”, Pol Capt Krissarat Nuesen of the Phuket Provincial Immigration Office has made a statement to clarify the 90-day rule and how it was changed, effective April 1.

Visa exemptions, commonly referred to as “visas on arrival”, allow tourists from certain countries who arrive at the border without a visa to have permits-to-stay, typically for a period of 30 days, issued by Immigration officials.

“People who enter Thailand on a ‘visa exemption’ are permitted to stay only 90 days in a six-month period,” he said, adding that the six months is calculated as a 180-day period starting from the first day that the foreigner enters Thailand on a visa exemption.

“From October 1, 2006 to March 31, 2007, we counted all the days from the foreigner’s first day regardless whether the foreigner was actually in Thailand or not.

“Also, foreigners were not permitted to stay in Thailand after their 180-day period had expired [counted from the foreigner’s first day], regardless whether the foreigner had stayed a full 90 days in Thailand or not,” Capt Krissarat said.

“However, the rule has been changed. From April 1, we now count only the days the foreigner has stayed in Thailand – and foreigners are now allowed to stay past the 180-day period,” he said.

The number of consecutive visa exemptions allowed is no longer limited to three, he added.

As for foreigners who complain about discrepancies in the counting of days, K. Krissarat reminded those who choose to enter on multiple visa exemptions that it is up to the discretion of the Immigration officer on duty how many days to grant the new arrival, provided it is 30 days or fewer.

Capt Krissarat stressed that the 90-day rule does not affect people who have been issued a visa from a Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate.

“If you want to stay longer, then apply for a visa from a Royal Thai Embassy outside Thailand. That way the rule will not apply to you,” he said.

Regarding parents bringing children into Thailand to attend school, Capt Krissarat said, “Foreign parents whose children will study in Thailand can apply for non-immigrant ED visas for their children at any Royal Thai Embassy outside Thailand.

“The parents can apply for non-immigrant O visas for themselves so they can enter the country and care for their children here, and then they can apply for permits to stay at the Immigration office after entering the country.

“Alternatively, if the parents are not going to be staying in the country long, they can get a tourist visa from an embassy or enter on a visa exemption,” he said.

“Many international schools in Thailand help parents prepare applications for permits to stay,” Capt Krissarat said, adding that children under 14 years old are not fined for an overstay.


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