Thailand Tights Up Short-Stay Visa Rules For Foreigners

Visa run at land borders of Thailand has been an easy way for many foreigners such as semi-permanent residents or illegal immigrants to obtain a visa extension by just leaving for a few hours Thailand and come back. The trick seems now to be over, particularly as Thailand looks now at tightening security inside the country. It seems that the perpetrators of the bomb attack at the Erawan Shrine in August entered illegally the country by bribing officers at borders for a short stay. 

“The order is not new. But in this current situation of heightened security, all officers have to step up restrictions,” said an official at the Immigration Bureau to the newspaper Bangkok Post.

First checkpoint where rules will be tighten is the one to Cambodia at Sa Kaeo immigration, where illegal groups provide one-day circuit to Cambodia to cover a new visa for 15-30 days stay.

Law enforcement will be tightened with tourists just staying outside Thailand just for a short time will be asked to provide details of their accommodation, tour companies and date of departure. If foreign travellers are not able to provide these details, they will be denied the entrance into the Kingdom.

The tightening follows a reshuffle ten days ago of the immigration police, which will now be put under tight scrutinity to avoid bribery from officers in activity. A report of Pol Gen Somyot addressed to the government shows that bribery is commonly accepted at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok to help cutting queue for visa application. According to the report, the practice generates about two million baht (US$ 400,000) a day.