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BANGKOK 21 January 2019 00:44
weejun

New Year - Blank Slate? Are "visa counters" reset with a new year?

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Ladies and gents, I'm trying to figure out if it's OK for me to go to Thailand without applying for a visa.

 

I'm from Norway so I can go to Thailand for 30 days without a visa. The problem is, I've been in Thailand so many times last year I had to start applying for visas as I heard that after 3-4 trips without a visa I could be refused entry.

 

Last time I was in Thailand was in November last year, and I naturally applied for a visa.

 

But now it's a new year, so will I still have to apply for a visa because I have been there so many times in the past 12 months? Or can I start fresh with a new year and go 3-4 times without a visa before I start applying for visas again later this year?

 

Or will I always have to keep applying for visas as long as I've been to Thailand more than 3-4 times in the past 12 months?

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The only "reset" in a new calendar year is the "2 per Calendar Year" rule on Land-Crossing Visa-Exempts.  There is not 2x limit of these per-year by air. 

 

Immigration will count all your Visa Exempts since they started an "alert" system (2015?) when a traveler exceeded 6 total.  That doesn't mean you cannot continue beyond that number - only that there may be an alert for them to check further. 

 

If you are coming for short trips of a week or so, leaving for months, then returning, there is no report of a problem - even at the Bangkok airports. 

 

If staying for a month or more at a time - even if leaving for months between visits, you could have problems at bad-checkpoints - even using a Tourist Visa, though a Tourist Visa is better in these cases than Visa-Exempt. 

 

While there are no set-limits on Visa-Exempts, there are guidelines for their issuance which work as a limit, depending on the IOs interpretation.  Legally, there is no limit at all on Tourist Visa use in terms of "total days in-country" - but some immigration checkpoints (including both Bangkok airports) are run as though there is a limit, so one must beware of those if staying for longer-blocks of time.

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My trips are always less than two weeks, usually around one week. It will take between 1-4 months between each trip. Does that mean I may not have to apply for a visa at all, even when going there multiple times within 12 months?

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1 hour ago, weejun said:

My trips are always less than two weeks, usually around one week. It will take between 1-4 months between each trip. Does that mean I may not have to apply for a visa at all, even when going there multiple times within 12 months?

You can continue to enter visa exempt under those circumstances. It appears that you are spending 90 days or less in Thailand each year. It is really unlikely you will be targeted. Beware, though, if you increase the length of your stays in the future. Do then enter at airports only with visas. In fact, if possible, avoid entering at airports at that point, and try to enter with a visa by land.

Edited by BritTim

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I hope that it isn't a problem that I "hijack" this thread for my question, which almost similar with the one of the TO.
My passport (issued in 2011...) has a long history of immigration stamps, most times I was entering the country on VE.
(VE: visa exemption)

For this year I have planned four trips to Thailand, two of them 30days (+) and two short ones with three weeks only.
I already have a SETV for the trip in March and plan to get another SETV for the trip in November.
Port of entry has always been Swampy, the upcoming four trip should also start there - all flight already booked.
All SETVs have been issued in Berlin or Stuttgart, no extension of either SETV or VE, also there isn't a single day of
overstay in the immigrations database.

Now the posting heres made me a bit nervous....
In the last two years I had no problems at immigration, but the IOs asked me "No visa?" when entering on VE.
I answered that I intend to stay only 3 weeks (which was true). No further questions, no need to show my e-ticket or
20k BHT in cash.

So here's my history of visits, starting back in 2015.
I'm 58 and travel in biz class (may be this is important)
What do you think? Any danger of being rejected?
 

lingland.png.f6eb94046e32575b97185fb8fbb466fc.png

 

 

 

Edited by Rohe60
some text added

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10 hours ago, Rohe60 said:

So here's my history of visits, starting back in 2015.
I'm 58 and travel in biz class (may be this is important)
What do you think? Any danger of being rejected?

I see no reason for you to have a problem this year.

Entering business class does help if you are able to use the fast track immigration area.

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