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Unlimited number of 30-day Visa exempt entries to Thailand?

visa

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#1 joeyb

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 07:16 PM

So I'm in a situation where I might be able to go one week every month to Thailand as a tourist for a period of time. I know I can show up in Thailand and get 30 days without having to apply for a Visa. But can I do this as many times as I'd like?

 

To clarify:

 

I'm not talking about simply flying out of Thailand and back to renew. I'm talking about flying in for a week or so, then going back home for at least a couple of weeks before returning. I guess I would be away from Thailand for anything between 2-4 weeks between each visit.

 

Will I have an unlimited number of 30-day Visa exempt entries to Thailand? Or would I at some point have to apply for a Tourist Visa?

 

Theoretical scenario: I travel to Thailand the first week of every remaining month of the year. I go back home after a week and stay home for the rest of that month until the start of next month, when I go back to Thailand for a week.


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#2 Diabolic

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 07:33 PM

No, eventually they will stop you and tell you "last time" and force you to buy visas... Some people have been stopped and told to go home without entry. Even if you buy tourist visas, you might be stopped at some point and asked why you're returning X number of times per year on tourist visas and told that it's the last time. I believe they call this the "red stamp."

 

There is no definitive amount of times you can come and go, and you don't know when it will happen either. I would recommend reading the visa section on Thaivisa.com to get the most up to date information. A lot of people come 3-4 times per year on visa exemptions, but you'll probably get stopped at some point if you come 12 times per year.


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#3 joeyb

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 07:41 PM

Thanks, so the safest way to do this is to simply apply for a Tourist Visa then.

 

Will a Visa with a validity of 60 days allow me to travel freely into and out of Thailand within those 60 days? Or will the Visa only apply to one single in-out trip?


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#4 Diabolic

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 08:34 PM

Get a multi-Entry tourist visa. Last I checked, you could come and go 3 times on one multi-entry but the rules may have changed. It might be more open now.


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#5 joeyb

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 09:08 PM

Thanks for the tip. I'll definitely check it out.


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#6 Tom Tit

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 02:10 AM

Joeyb,

 

I'm a UK citizen based in Japan (EU Passport). I made about 12 or so weeklong mongering visits to Thailand (about one list every two months) over a 2-year period 2013-15 (which sounds a bit like what you've got in mind, and is highly recommended!). Got the free 30-day visa on entry each time, no problem. 

 

BUT... I did get hassled quite a few times at UK entry point or on re-entering Japan (I'd stay in Thailand on my way to or my way back from UK). 'You visit Thailand very often, Mr Tit. Why is that?' (They no doubt suspected I might be a druggie (understandable given some of the disheveled states I've been in after a week on the piss and on the fanny on Soi 4..).)

 

I always told them I had a British pal in BKK and visited him and his family on my way to and fro, and they were okay with that, though once they laboriously went through my carry-on luggage at Heathrow. No big deal, but just to let you know what possibly to expect...

(I find the Thai immigration folks very affable, as long as you're calm and polite, and a smile goes a long, long way. I've seen punters get stroppy with them, and it never ends well. Even if they whisk you away for an 'interview' (as they did with me when I visa-overstayed this January), keep smiling, say sorry, pay the fine, and you're on your way.)

 

Tom Tit  :blink:


Edited by Tom Tit, 03 May 2017 - 02:12 AM.

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#7 js89

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 05:48 AM

That's very interesting you were questioned by UK border agency. They don't actually have the right to ask you this type of question. The only thing they're allowed is to ask you questions to establish that you are the rightful holder of the passport. The fact that you come and go often to Thailand is, frankly, none of their business. 

 

See here


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#8 null

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 10:15 AM

The e-passport machine are quite good at Heathrow. No need to go to a jobsworth immigration officer and those searching questions with a sullen look.
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#9 dexxter2010

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Posted 01 July 2017 - 10:42 AM

Get a multi-Entry tourist visa. Last I checked, you could come and go 3 times on one multi-entry but the rules may have changed. It might be more open now.

 

You are not limited to 3 entries with a 6 month multi-entry tourist visa.


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#10 detectivethai

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 05:30 AM

I usually average about 7/8 trips out of Thailand per year on a multi-entry visa and never had a problem or query. However, it does depend on the officer on the counter if said person wants to make any enquiries. The only time (a few years ago) when I had a rude immigration office flick through my passport and count how many entries I had made and ask "Why you come to Thailand so much?" was at the Nong Khai bridge when I was going to visit Laos. I just mentioned that I had a family here and he retorted "ah you have a lot of money, eh?". I replied "No, I don't, that is why I do a land crossing rather than fly." he just gave me a dirty look and said I can go. I did think he was gonna be an arse and mess me about but that was it.


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#11 Tom Tit

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 08:32 AM

That's very interesting you were questioned by UK border agency. They don't actually have the right to ask you this type of question. The only thing they're allowed is to ask you questions to establish that you are the rightful holder of the passport. The fact that you come and go often to Thailand is, frankly, none of their business. 

 

See here

 

That's good to know. But really? They 'don't have the right to ask you this type of question ... the only thing they're allowed is to ask you questions to establish that you are the rightful holder of the passport'? Hmm... <_<

 

Well, the latter sections of the document you linked to state that, as of 2008, UK Border Agency 'immigration staff' dealing with 'British Citizens' at the 'primary checkpoint' have 'additionally been conferred with certain Customs powers' and 'may therefore ask questions with regard to goods in baggage and ... ask the passenger the origin of their flight/journey' which leaves it nicely vague thus giving the bastards veritable carte blanche to make your life a fucking misery.  :angry:

 

To clarify, having racked my addled memory...

 

In Japan, it's not the dudes at passport control ('Border Agency': that check your entry visa, before you pick up your checked-in baggage), but rather the folks at Customs (as you go through the 'Nothing To Declare' EXIT bit with your suitcase) that have stopped me and quizzed me about Thailand in the past. These clowns (probably wanting to practice their shit English, though I only talk to them in Japanese) almost always glance through my passport and check my Jap Resident card then ask a question or two (usually 'What do you do in Japan?' and 'What did you do in Thailand?' before waving me through, no worries.  :P

 

But in the UK, I've flown into London via Thailand. I've been asked a couple of times at the initial passport check (Border Agency) 'Why do you go to Thailand so often?'. I also once got a connecting domestic flight to Manchester (I think it was). A uniformed bloke at the baggage carousel (so, a Customs officer I presume) stopped me as I made to depart with my case. He asked me where i was arriving from, took my passport, flicked through it, and started asking me all sorts of shit: where I'd been in Thailand, what for, how many times had I visited Thailand in the last 12 months... He then took me aside and rifled through my case, asked me to open my laptop and show him images in the photos folder... He then asked if he could test my hand luggage for 'narcotics'. I said okay. He brought this prod-like scanner stick with a bit of cotton wool at one end that he rubbed around the inside of the bag, Lights flashing and buzzers buzzing: Your bag's tested positive for narcotics, he says. Why might that be? I can only imagine that your machine if not correctly calibrated, I reply. He tries again with a new bit of cotton. This time no bells and whistles. He says I can go.  :wacko:

 

Never been narcotics in my bag as far as I know. Maybe he was just trying to freak me out: scare tactics, so I'd panic and blab if I had a greased condom full of cocaine stuffed up my arse or whatnot? Well, I didn't, and I didn't.  ;) 

Tom Tit  :blink:


Edited by Tom Tit, 06 July 2017 - 08:48 AM.

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#12 pykster

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 04:50 PM

Two years ago I did almost the same thing (two weeks in thailand every month of the year) and I had no issues, smile, have your passport ready, make sure to let a bit of time pass in between two stays (no immediate re-entry) and answer any question without being defensive.

 

Immigration at DMK has always been much more problematic for me than at the main airport, probably because that's the one people who don't do land border visa use. After a while I had a couple of agents ask me "what you do in thailand", I answered I had taken a year off of work and enjoying my holiday, then renewed my passport at home to be stamp free (yes the system keeps track of it anyway, but they never seem to care what's on their screen except if it says denied, whereas when you have lots of stuff in your passport they sometime look - I once had questions about my numerous stamp to another country too ...).

 

Ultimately they want to make sure you're not abusing the visa exemption rules (meant for holidays) to live in thailand, which is fair and is their job. At least that's how I see it.


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