2006 the Thai Government decided to change the rules regarding what
are commonly known as visas on arrival or Visa Exempt which is probably
the more accurate term for the free stamp that permits you to remain in
Thailand for X number of days.
Prior to the change in late 2006, nationals from
42 countries could enter Thailand without a visa for a 15 or 30
day period. These visas, or permission to stay, are free of charge
and can very simply be renewed by doing what is known as a visa
run, or a border hop. This entails simply leaving the country, in
some cases for as little as a few minutes, and then returning to
get a new stamp.
Then on 1 October 2006, the government changed
the rules to allow nationals from 39 countries to remain in
Thailand for no more than 90 days in a six month period. This
would mean that these travellers could no longer border hop
indefinitely and instead would have to try to calculate exactly
how much time had been spent in the country. All very troublesome
and messy, for the traveller as well as immigration!
But in November 2008, the rules pretty much
reverted to what they were prior to the 2006 amenment with one
very important difference. Whereas before a traveller could get
(depending on nationality) a 30 day stamp free of charge
regardless of mode of entry, this is no longer the case.
Now, only travellers arriving by air are
entitled to the 30 day stamp. If your travels take you to a
neighbouring country like Vietnam or Malaysia and you travel back
into Thailand by land then you will
only get 15 days but if you fly
then you would get 30 days.
Confused?! Don't be it is very simple, but
with all our visa suggestions we strongly
advise you to check with your local embassy or consulate as
changes can happen at any time.
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