Every year millions of tourists travel to Thailand, drawn in by the many attractions of this paradisiacal country in South-East Asia. Whether to explore the Buddhist temples and numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites, experience Bankok nightlife or simply relax on the beaches of its innumerable tropical islands, travelers from all over the world love to visit Thailand. Tourism is thought to account for around 20 percent of Thailand’s total GDP.
Thanks to the Thailand visa online application, it’s easier than ever to get permission to travel to the country. However, a growing number of visitors are enjoying their holiday in Thailand so much that they don’t want to leave. In 2017, it was estimated that there were around 100,000 foreigners in the country with a Thailand visa overstay.
Accordingly, the government has begun introducing penalties for overstaying the Thai tourist visa. Remaining in the country on an overstayed Thailand tourist visa for even an extra day can incur fines, and longer overstay periods can result in harsher penalties like jail time and a temporary ban. Therefore, it’s wise to get informed about what happens if you overstay your visa in Thailand before you run into trouble!
Thai Visa Requirements
It’s essential to double-check Thai visa requirements well before your trip, as it can vary drastically depending on the country or the period of time you intend to stay.
While the Thailand visa online is available to many counties, some nationalities are currently unable to obtain the Thai visa electronically.
Citizens of certain countries do not need to apply for a visa before travel, but can instead obtain a Thailand visa on arrival.
Many countries do not require a visa to enter Thailand for a short period of time as per the country’s visa exemption scheme. For example, the Thai visa for US citizens is only required for stays of 30 days or more. Instead, travelers must simply complete an arrival card while on the plane journey there.
The Thailand tourist visa must be used within 90 days of the issue date and allows for an initial stay of 60 days, which in many cases can be extended. However, heavy penalties can result from failing to extend a Thai tourist visa.
Penalties for Overstaying a Thai Visa
The penalties for overstaying in Thailand can vary depending on the length of time you have stayed in the country past the visa expiration:
- Overstaying the Thai visa incurs a fine of 500 Baht ($15) /day.
- Passports associated with overstayed visas are stamped to reflect the violation.
- The maximum fine for overstaying (40 days or more) is 20,000 baht ($600).
- Fines can be paid to the Thai Immigration Bureau, the Suvarnabhumi Airport Immigration office, or at other departure points.
- Overstaying for more than 90 days incurs a 1-year ban from Thailand, which increases with the length of the violation. An overstayed Thailand visa of 5 years or more can result in a 10-year ban from the country.
- The penalties increase in severity if you are physically caught in the act and arrested. An overstayed Thai visa for less than a year can result in a 5-year ban, while offenders of a year or more can see a 10-year ban.
- Dramatically overstayed Thailand tourist visas can also incur jail time and deportation on the offender’s own dime.
Can I Get an Extension on my Thailand eVisa?
Thai Tourist Visas can be extended past the 60 days initially permitted by the document.
It’s exceptionally important to renew the Thailand tourist visa before the expiry date, as even one extra day spent with an expired visa can incur fines and cause problems. Be aware that extensions are not available on Saturdays, Sundays or Thai holidays.
Visas cannot be extended electronically and must be renewed in person at any of the immigration offices in Thailand, including Bangkok, Pattaya or Phuket. Extending the Thai visa incurs a fee of 1,900 Baht ($60) for an additional 30 days stay. Overstayed Thai tourist visas can still be extended after paying the fine, but the number of overstayed days accrued will be subtracted from the new 30 day period.
Travelers who are a distance away from any immigration office when their Thai tourist visa expires do have another option. Many travelers take on a ‘border run’ in order to extend their stay in Thailand. This involves crossing the Thai border into neighboring territories in order to re-enter Thailand on a new tourist visa. However, it is often just cheaper and more convenient to get your Thailand tourist visa officially renewed.