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Expat Criminals Are The Visa Run Targets

Expat Criminals Are The Visa Run Targets

Monday, May 5, 2014
PHUKET: A crackdown on visa runners means Phuket expats trying to renew their documentation at the border port of Ranong are being turned back after three renewals.

Senior Thai police have imposed the new rule to reduce the number of international criminals operating in Phuket and other parts of Thailand, a Ranong Immigration officer said today.

Visa run companies confirmed today that the new, harsher interpretation of the rules means anyone attempting a fourth visa renewal via Ranong and the Burmese border port of Victoria Point will be turned away.

The crackdown is aimed at ending the practice of people who come to Phuket and other parts of Thailand on tourist visas and stay on by continuing to renew their visas indefinitely.

''Many of these people are here for no good reason,'' the Ranong Immigration officer said. ''Some of them are heavily involved in criminal activities.''

Russians and Filippinos have been alarmed that they were being singled out by Immigration authorities. But visa run company spokespeople say that the crackdown applies to all nationalities.

''Every 'tourist' who tries to go to Ranong for a fourth visa extension will be turned away,'' one visa company owner said today. ''This applies across the board, to Europeans and Australians, Japanese and Koreans as well as Russians and Filippinos.''

The new interpretation was put into effect late last month, the visa run company owner said.

''What it means is that anyone who notches up three trips to Ranong in a row - whether for 15-day or 30-day extensions - will have to leave Thailand and start the visa process all over again with a fresh arrival visa.''

The problem for expats making a fourth run to Ranong means that if they are turned back, they could face the prospect of being charged 500 baht for each day they overstay their visa.

The count begins when people arrive in Thailand. That's considered visa one.

Any tourist who has arrived in Thailand and has subsequently made three visa runs to Ranong will be turned away on the fourth visa run.

Thai police hope many people turned away will be forced to leave the country and will decide not to return.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Clever foreigners willing to avoid the hassle to renew visa at border prefer to set up a "Ghost Thai Company" with Thai nominees as shareholders and get no problem to get Visa (B) with rogue accounting or lawyer offices.
In less that 2-3 weeks and 30,000 Baht you have a legal Thai company and a work-permit.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on May 5, 2014 10:00


sounds fair to me.

Posted by bill on May 5, 2014 10:22


Some clarity please..

You state "means anyone attempting a fourth visa renewal via Ranong and the Burmese border port of Victoria Point will be turned away" but later you reference 15 and 30 day entries, which are for people who do not have visas.

Do you actually mean visa renewals (tourist, non imms) or do you mean the visa exempt entry?

Posted by LivinLOS on May 5, 2014 10:23


Hi, I just rang Immigration and the rule does not apply for flights to exit and re-enter Thailand on the same day.

Posted by Fiesty Farang on May 5, 2014 10:58


Does the Dept of Immigration come under the RTP, if not, then the police have no right to interpret the rules, The visas issued by the Thai government are based on the authority of the ministerial law, which the minister of the Interior, based on sections 5, 12 (1), and 34 (15) of the 1979 immigration act. I would hope the police can provide evidence of this new "interpretation" and that it is in the guidelines set out be the Thai government and not something they have made up themselves.

Whistle-Blower, on a (B) visa many still have to do a "run" every 90 days. From all your posts it seems you wish to be the only expat in Thailand, will you ever be happy?

Posted by Laurie Howells on May 5, 2014 11:44



a) It is never "clever" (to attempt) to create a set up which is designed to circumvent the law. It is much better to follow the rules and simply pick the right visa such as a retirement visa, then there is no need for such a complicated and costly construct (providing for a business visa). b) There are various laws, regulations and policies in place to prevent people from doing so; c) It would be appreciated if new and interesting contributions could be submitted to this and other is getting really boring to read over and over the same stuff.

Posted by Anonymous on May 5, 2014 11:59


Not so fast WB, You'll have to pay yourself a salary, pay taxes and have an accountant. You'll also need at least one worker and a work permit to kep getting a new B visa every year, plus 4 border stamp runs per year and all of the above = headache galore !!
Seems a few years ago the " new " limit was 90 days in a 6 month period for tourists,( which is really the existing law.) Just too much money to be made from the border runs.

Posted by The Night Mare on May 5, 2014 12:00


Mr Whistle Blower, your comment is pure fiction. To set up a Thai company, including work permit, costs far more than THB30,000 and even if you have the permit, unless the company employs at least 4 Thai nationals, you still must leave the kingdom every 90 days. In addition the company must have a capitalization of THB2,000,000 in order to qualify for a work permit. Plus the paperwork required must be done by a qualified Thai legal and accounting firm, if you try and do it yourself, well all I can say is best of luck.

Posted by Tom on May 5, 2014 12:21


"Thai police hope many people turned away will be forced to leave the country and will decide not to return."

Many of us expats staying here legally hope so too.

Posted by Smithy on May 5, 2014 12:46


Anonymous, to save Whistle-Blower the effort he goes through Ed should just automatically insert WB's previous comments... they never change.... as for his name, with all he has to say, I don't think he has "blown the whistle" on anyone.

Posted by Laurie Howells on May 5, 2014 12:55


The terms 'visa extension', 'visa' and 'visa exempt entry' are quite often used randomly. This article does not clarify anything, with the terms used incorrectly.

Posted by stevenl on May 5, 2014 13:10


It seems very clear to me. They are basically saying that you can do three back to back visa runs at Ranong and after that you must leave the country and get a proper visa.
The 15 days or 30 days refers to visa exempt stamps as some countries only receive 15 days at the border crossing while other countries such as the USA will receive 30 days.

What they are doing basically is clamping down on people staying for prolonged periods of time in Thailand for no real reason - this includes many people working illegally.

As for WB he basically copies and pastes the same thing week in week out. He never has anything new to add and it becomes slightly boring after a while.

Posted by Ciaran on May 5, 2014 13:14


Well, the silver lining to this new "interpretation" is the fact that it will cause those crazy visa run van drivers to have less customers and maybe a few lives will be saved.

On another note, it is indeed interesting how the RTP can interfere in Immigration practices but on the other hand last time I left Thailand via BKK the person checking my passport was a police and not immigration officer.

Posted by ThaiMike on May 5, 2014 14:36


Excellent news. There are so many people who are here {many working} who have not paid for the correct visa's or work permits. This is unfair on the people who have done everything correctly. It is about time the Thai's kick out these people and concentrate on the illegal immigrants and leave the legal ones in peace.

Posted by Anonymous on May 5, 2014 16:11


Finally!Normal turists are treated,in a bad suspicious way ,because of criminals,and I really hope they send them to monkey houses,,,where ever,,,but away them as a broblem pulp,,,,,,,,,,

Posted by Rebecca Aro on May 5, 2014 16:51


Everything is possible in Thailand... For ligal visa need to contact right person... ...

Posted by Tom on May 5, 2014 18:33


Anonymous, being so knowledgeable, perhaps you can justify your comment by giving us a few figures and where this dangerous criminals are working, as the authorities seem to have trouble locating them. Really, Phuket is a small island, I don't think there could be too many illegal workers, excluding the Burmese.

Posted by Laurie Howells on May 5, 2014 21:06

Monday September 25, 2023
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