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Gino122

How many visa exempt entries (by air)?

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I have been reading throughout some of the posts in this forum and I have some doubts I want to ask you because I am in a mess.

The number of visa exempt entries by air is really unlimited? I have read that Immigration Officers receive a warning when you get six visa exempt entries? Do they receive this warning when you do six VEE during all your lifetime, during last years or only in the rolling year? I have read something related to 180 days in the country but I don't remember right now.

If you make quick visits of less than 30 days to Thailand under the VEE, are they below immigration radar?

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Currently, it is six visa exempt entries since some time in the middle of 2015. On your larger question of when visa exempt entry becomes a risk, there is no hard and fast rule. It may (not certain) depend on the airport you arrive at, and definitely depends on the immigration official, some of whom are stricter than others. The biggest factors, it is believed, are time spent in country over the last 12 months, whether you have had long periods in Thailand at any point in the last few years with minimal breaks in between, and whether you are trying to return visa exempt immediately after another tourist entry (especially when returning by air from a nearby country). My advice would be not to risk visa exempt entry by air if

  • you have spent longer than 90 days in the last 12 months in Thailand on tourist entries; or
  • you have had any period of six months almost continuous stay in Thailand at any stage over the last three years.

This is based on my gut feel, not any knowledge of the criteria used at any specific airport, or by any specific immigration official.

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8 hours ago, Gino122 said:

If you make quick visits of less than 30 days to Thailand under the VEE, are they below immigration radar?

No. Immigration are alerted by the system after 6 Visa exempt entries.

Whether you stay for 10 or 30 days is irrelevant.

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11 minutes ago, Tanoshi said:

No. Immigration are alerted by the system after 6 Visa exempt entries.

Whether you stay for 10 or 30 days is irrelevant.

Ok, for this reason I asked if it should be six visa exempt entries during your lifetime or during some years. In the last entry, BritTim tells that it is six VEE from 2015

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5 hours ago, BritTim said:

Currently, it is six visa exempt entries since some time in the middle of 2015. On your larger question of when visa exempt entry becomes a risk, there is no hard and fast rule. It may (not certain) depend on the airport you arrive at, and definitely depends on the immigration official, some of whom are stricter than others. The biggest factors, it is believed, are time spent in country over the last 12 months, whether you have had long periods in Thailand at any point in the last few years with minimal breaks in between, and whether you are trying to return visa exempt immediately after another tourist entry (especially when returning by air from a nearby country). My advice would be not to risk visa exempt entry by air if

  • you have spent longer than 90 days in the last 12 months in Thailand on tourist entries; or
  • you have had any period of six months almost continuous stay in Thailand at any stage over the last three years.

This is based on my gut feel, not any knowledge of the criteria used at any specific airport, or by any specific immigration official.

Thank you for your answer. So, if I stay a gap year in my home country, this problem could be a bit better, I suppose

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15 minutes ago, Gino122 said:

Ok, for this reason I asked if it should be six visa exempt entries during your lifetime or during some years. In the last entry, BritTim tells that it is six VEE from 2015

Immigration officers have been advised to use their own discretion to determine whether you are a genuine Tourist, or possibly entering for other reasons. The alert is after 6 entries, but they will look at the frequency of entries as well.

 

You could have entered 8 times since 2015, but if the frequency is twice a year for 2/3 weeks at a time that would be expected for the genuine tourist. I know 'oil workers' who have Thai wives/family and genuinely enter 4 times a year to visit , but this year they have all been stopped for questioning and instructed to get the correct Visa for the purpose of their visits.

They were allowed in this time, but a note of warning has been registered on the system.

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I have a friend who lives in a neighbouring country which can be evidenced by visas in his passport. He has been coming and going every three months on visa exempt for the last 10 years but he only stays about 2 weeks. He has never had any problem. He says it's because:

1. He is outside the normal working age.

2. He has a history of only staying for a short time and never overstays.

3. He has a return ticket. 

4. He has only ever been asked once why he comes to Thailand and he told them he needed to see a     doctor which apparently was an acceptable reason. (remember TAT claiming that Thailand would become a HUB of medical tourism - good excuse, blame TAT).

 

He has never been asked to show evidence of funds available.

I think immigration knows who is abusing the system and who is not. 

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'

I have read something related to 180 days in the country but I don't remember right now.

If you make quick visits of less than 30 days to Thailand under the VEE, are they below immigration radar?'

 

I traveled for 4.5 years mainly with VE, and hardly had any issues. Once the IO warned me about the 180d limit, but he still let me through. My visits were mostly 2 weeks in TH, 2 weeks abroad in Europe, so clearly not someone working illegally. Still I got myself approx 4 TV during the 4th year as I was getting cautious. I think one key issue that saved me from trouble was 1) I mostly used the priority lane immigration flying business and 2) I always dress up well and have no tattoos, flip flops, Singha T-shirts or other 'landmarks'.

 

I traveled on VE from 2014 to 2018; but now I have NON-O. My flight frequency was mostly about 1 in-out flight a month.

Edited by somtumwrong

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1 hour ago, Gino122 said:

Thank you for your answer. So, if I stay a gap year in my home country, this problem could be a bit better, I suppose

Definitely better. However, any really long period of continuous stay on tourist entries in the last two or three years could catch the official's eye. If in doubt, get a tourist visa. It is cheap, and easy in most home countries.

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10 minutes ago, somtumwrong said:

Once the IO warned me about the 180d limit,

There is no official limit or rule.

Some IO's have adopted this 180 day rule as guidance to use their discretion when making decisions.

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3 hours ago, Tanoshi said:

There is no official limit or rule.

Some IO's have adopted this 180 day rule as guidance to use their discretion when making decisions.

Actually after a search I'll recant and amend  that statement.

 

There does appear a to be a rule of 3 VEE entries by air within a 6 month period.

30-day Visa Exemption Scheme

 

Passport holders of the countries eligible for Tourist Visa Exemption Scheme are not required to obtain a visa when entering Thailand for tourism purposes and will be permitted to stay in Thailand for a period not exceeding 30 days on each visit (please click on the list for more details). 

 

Foreigners who enter Thailand under this Tourist Visa Exemption Scheme may only do so for 30 days at one time with a maximum of 3 times in a 6-month period by flight and 2 times a year for overland crossing.

http://www.thaiembassy.org/london/en/services/7742/84451-Tourist-Visa.html

 

 

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12 minutes ago, Tanoshi said:

Actually after a search I'll recant and amend  that statement.

 

There does appear a to be a rule of 3 VEE entries by air within a 6 month period.

30-day Visa Exemption Scheme

 

Passport holders of the countries eligible for Tourist Visa Exemption Scheme are not required to obtain a visa when entering Thailand for tourism purposes and will be permitted to stay in Thailand for a period not exceeding 30 days on each visit (please click on the list for more details). 

 

Foreigners who enter Thailand under this Tourist Visa Exemption Scheme may only do so for 30 days at one time with a maximum of 3 times in a 6-month period by flight and 2 times a year for overland crossing.

http://www.thaiembassy.org/london/en/services/7742/84451-Tourist-Visa.html

 

 

But take into account that VEE can be extended at Immigration Offices for 30 days more. So, if you summarize 3 VEE and 3 extensions of stay, we have the 180 days (6 months) you were talking about.

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7 minutes ago, Tanoshi said:

Actually after a search I'll recant and amend  that statement.

 

There does appear a to be a rule of 3 VEE entries by air within a 6 month period.

30-day Visa Exemption Scheme

 

Passport holders of the countries eligible for Tourist Visa Exemption Scheme are not required to obtain a visa when entering Thailand for tourism purposes and will be permitted to stay in Thailand for a period not exceeding 30 days on each visit (please click on the list for more details). 

 

Foreigners who enter Thailand under this Tourist Visa Exemption Scheme may only do so for 30 days at one time with a maximum of 3 times in a 6-month period by flight and 2 times a year for overland crossing.

http://www.thaiembassy.org/london/en/services/7742/84451-Tourist-Visa.html

I would take any information about immigration matters on a Thai embassy website with a large grain of salt. Those websites are notoriously unreliable when it comes to the rules applied by the Immigration Bureau.

 

The limit of two visa exempt entries by land has been announced in an official order. The limit by air cited in the link seems highly dubious for a number of reasons. It has never been official announced. In theory, it would allow you to live full time on visa exempt entries. Three entries each extended for a further 30 days gives you 177 nights in Thailand meaning only six days outside in a typical six month period. Meanwhile, apparently, someone entering for four weekends (8 nights) over a six month period would supposedly not be able to enter visa exempt. I suspect the purported rule on the embassy website reflects a typical case of Chinese whispers. It feels like someone taking the rule in force for a short period a decade ago of 90 days in six months on visa exempt entries, and deciding (i) that it means three visa exempt entries; and (ii) that it is still in force.

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16 minutes ago, BritTim said:

I would take any information about immigration matters on a Thai embassy website with a large grain of salt. Those websites are notoriously unreliable when it comes to the rules applied by the Immigration Bureau.

I earlier had the same information from the MFA website, but buggered if I can find it again.

Knew I should have saved the page...…...damn!

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6 hours ago, Gino122 said:

Ok, for this reason I asked if it should be six visa exempt entries during your lifetime or during some years. In the last entry, BritTim tells that it is six VEE from 2015

I land at swampy every 3 to 4 weeks and stay 10to 16 days. Been doing this for three years. Never had a problem, but my pattern shows I am not trying to live in Thailand long term which is what immigration are concerned about in my opinion. 

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