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Thai Immigration Introduces Jail Time For Overstayers

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VISA OVERSTAY: The Untold Story

Jail time for foreigners


Immigration Detention Center, Suan Phlu, Bangkok

-- File photo

BANGKOK (thaivisa.com): -- Allegedly tired of overstaying foreigners arriving at Suvarnabhumi airport with a valid air ticket and the maximum fine of 20,000 baht in their hands, the Immigration Department is now arresting and jailing people before permitting them to leave Thailand.

Anybody who has overstayed a valid visa in Thailand beyond a period of six weeks (42 days) is no longer permitted to simply turn up with the cash and an air ticket and leave the country after filling in a few forms and handing over the wedge.

For many years now it has been possible for people on long overstay to simply gather together the maximum fine under law of 20,000 baht, purchase an air ticket, travel to Suvarnabhumi and leave Thailand after completing a few formalities. With a change in the command at the top of the Immigration Department ladder this has now altered and anyone whose overstay is 42 days or longer is likely to be arrested.

People on overstay of less than three weeks (21 days) are still able to arrive at the airport with the correct amount of folding stuff, pay the fine due and leave Thailand.

The grey area is for those whose overstay falls in the period between three and six weeks; that is, between 22 and 41 days. They can potentially have a problem. It is being suggested anyone whose overstay falls into this time frame should be aware that it will be up to the Immigration officer and his superiors at an airport or land border crossing to decide whether to detain the recalcitrant foreigner or permit him, or her, to leave unhindered, after payment of the overstay fine has been levied.

As with many legal situations in Thailand involving foreigners and money, the rules tend to bend with the circumstances, and the mood of the relevant official or officials.

Nonetheless, it is being stated quite unequivocally that anyone on overstay exceeding 42 days (six weeks) will be arrested. They will then spend at the very least one or two days behind bars while waiting for the necessary paperwork to be processed. Most will eventually spend some time inspecting the stripy sunlight at the Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) in Bangkok.


Thaivisa.com has been told it is better to clear up long overstay issues in Bangkok rather than in Phuket, Pattaya or elsewhere.


While embassy officers cannot circumvent or interfere in the process of Thai law they can advise overstayers on the best course of action and provide assistance for their nationals while in custody.

For full story see Edition 1 of Pattaya One out 1 October


-- 2010-09-24



Under the Immigration Act 2522 overstay is punishable by a jail term of 2 years and/or a fine of maximum 20,000 baht.

"Section 81 : Any alien who stay in the Kingdom without permission or with

permission expired or revoked shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding

two years or a fine not exceeding 20,000 Baht or both."

Immigration Act download: http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/post-a84562-Immigration-Act-EN.pdf.html

* Overstay 1 - 21 days: Pay a fine 500 Baht/day at Airport/land border

* Overstay 22 - 41 days: Pay a fine 500 Baht/day, possible arrest/detention, deportation, possible blacklisting

* Overstay 42 days or more: Pay a fine up to 20,000 Baht, arrest/detention, deportation, possible blacklisting


The Golden Rule: Never go overstay in Thailand, not even a single day!


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Oh well, never overstayed more than 2 days.

Maybe another cash cow for who get caught and don't want to do time? I don't know, I try to obey the rules as much as I can.

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What crap.

It will be interesting to see what happens to the next few long overstay farangs who attempt to exit the Kingdom.

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