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The end of visa runs or not

For decades tourists or ex-pats who are below the retirement visa age limit, have extended their stay in Thailand by so-called ‘visa runs.’ 

One example is when people travel to a nearby country to apply for a tourist visa and extend their stay for another two to three months.

This is commonly called a ‘visa run.’

Companies providing ‘Visa Runs’ leave every tourist town in Thailand on a daily basis in convoys of mini-vans and coaches to head for the nearest border.

Tourists typically travel to border towns such as Aranyapratet on the Cambodian border, Nongkhai on the Lao border, Mae Sai or Mae Sot a Bangkok jack report on the Burma border, Vientiane in Laos or to Penang near Malaysia’s border.

Visa runs may be a unique (or even traditional) part of Thailand’s tourism scene.

But, this week reports are coming in of tourists and ex-pats being DENIED new visas at Vientiane, on the Laos border.

The Royal Thai Embassy at Vientiane, usually one of the easiest to pass through with a new stamp, has begun turning foreigners away.

Yesterday one American reported to a Visa Forum, ‘Just got denied my second tourist visa at Vientiane. Have one visa in my US passport from December 2018 and 3 exempt stamps. The guy simply said ‘my boss didn’t give you a visa, you have to go back to your country.’

Another American in the same queue was also denied and new visa. When his Thai girlfriend asked for an explanation she was told that there is a ‘new rule’ and foreigners can only have ONE tourist visa every twelve months.

One tourist visa would only be enough to qualify for a three-month stay. IE, one two-month visa plus a thirty-day extension at a local immigration office.

At that point, it is usually time for the famous VISA RUN, but not anymore it seems.

Not for these two Americans, it isn’t.



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