Overstaying a visa in any country is a pretty bad decision to make, but for those who are doing it or at risk of overstaying in the Land of Smiles, their lives just got a little bit harder. News emerged this week that Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan has asked the military and other relevant agencies to crack down on those who are overstaying their visas – here’s why, what that might mean for you and what you should do if you’re affected.
Visa overstayers now a priority
Earlier in the week, the English-language broadsheet newspaper The Nation reported that there are as many as 100,000 foreigners currently living in Thailand on expired visas. Deputy Prime Minister Gen. Prawit believes that many of these overstayers have done so because they are involved in criminal activities. In the past, there have been several cases of foreigners committing serious crimes such as human trafficking, weapons trading and drug dealing whilst overstaying their visas, and Gen. Prawit is keen to prevent these things from happening again
It’s also emerged that overstayers have been involved in the bribing of local police officers in order to remain in the country. In Phuket alone, it was found that a group of 142 foreigners were paying as much as 100 million baht a month in order to not be reported to immigration, and an investigation is to follow.
As inconvenient as heading to an immigration office to extend your visa is, or heading across the border may be, it pales in comparison with the punishments you will face for an overstay. Every day that you overstay your visa, you will have to pay 500 baht, with the maximum fee being 20,000 baht for if you overstayed by 40 days or more. On top of that, there are other punishments involved. Depending on the length of your overstay, you may be prohibited from entering Thailand:
- Overstayed more than 90 days – 1 year ban from Thailand
- Overstayed more than 1 year – 3 year ban from Thailand
- Overstayed more than 3 years – 5 year ban from Thailand
- Overstayed more than 5 years – 10 year ban from Thailand
- Overstayed less than 1 year but apprehended and arrested – 5 year ban from Thailand
- Overstayed more than one year but apprehended and arrested – 10 year ban from Thailand