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Thread: Visa issues

  1. #1

    Visa issues

    It has been a long standing tradition. The ever beloved tourist visa.

    If you come to Thailand from America, or, most European countries, you can get a thirty day tourist visa automatically, when you arrive at the airport. Some countries are more restricted; you need to check out the Thai Embassy website for more information.

    What was nice about this thirty day tourist visa, is that, at the end of thirty days, if you traveled out of Thailand to another country, and then, returned, you would automatically get another thirty days.

    Thus, began, the "visa run". Getting on a little shit minibus full of smelly farang (foreigners), at some ungodly hour in the morning, and driving six hours or so, along with a brief but beautiful boat trip, to Ranong, which is the western / northern border of Thailand with Burma, became a veritable institution. Six hours up, six hours back, with an hour, or two, or three, or four, at the border itself, all depending on the "quality" of your fellow journeyists, and you would get another thirty days. God forbid one of your fellow passengers had a drug problem, a previous felony, or just an unfriendly attitude, and his delay at the border meant you had to sit in the bus to wait, before you did another six hours to return back to Phuket that day. It could be a quick fourteen hour day; it could be a miserable eighteen hour nightmare; it could be a half week. Yes, a few days. Sometimes, the Burmese closed the border with Thailand, and the visa run farangs got stuck. Nobody got hurt. They just got pissed.

    So, if you wanted to stay a few months, this is what you did every thirty days. The Thai government tried to limit this behavior to only six visa runs, but, nobody paid attention. In fact, I just heard of one guy who did these monthly visa runs, for quite some time. He had a Thai girlfriend (wonderful creatures by the way), a job, and a life, in Phuket. But, he didn't have a legal means of getting a long term visa, and he certainly didn't want to get involved with the "C" word. No, marriage was kind of out of the question. So, he did these monthly visa runs to stay in the country.

    He did them for over twenty one years.

    Well, it wasn't because of him specifically, but, just recently, with the military coup and the "democratic change in government", there are new visa regulations. And, it seems that they are enforcing them.

    You can get the automatic thirty day tourist visa upon entry to the airport, provided you are from certain (most) countries. You can do the monthly visa run to get another thirty days.

    But, now, you can only do the runs twice, for a total of three months. At the end of the three months, you must leave the country for three months, before you can do the process again.

    The Thai government is just trying to crack down on people who are working here without work permits. No work permits, no taxes or health insurance paid.

    Student visas are available, for those wanting to come here and train / study, for one year periods. The problems with these, are that the school that sponsors you, and gets you the one year visa, also becomes completely and totally legally responsible for all of your actions while you are in Thailand. The schools generally don't get involved.

    Currently, limiting your stay to three months seems to be the reasonable option, until things get "relaxed" again.
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  2. #2
    All the official Thailand Government Websites are down.
    Phuket Immigration had a really good site a couple months ago, not sure what the deal is with it now.

    Try the US Embassy in Bangkok Website for more info...
    http://bangkok.usembassy.gov/

    Or Thai Embassy in Washington DC ...
    http://www.thaiembdc.org/consular/visa/visa.htm
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  3. #3
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    son of a bitch why do things have to change right when I want to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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