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Posts Tagged ‘overstay’

10th October 2018

Even less-than-avid readers of news regarding Thai Immigration matters are probably aware that there have been a number of changes which have occurred within the ranks of the Immigration Bureau in Thailand (including the appointment of Surachate Hakparn also known as “Big Joke” as head of Immigration). Also, there have been a number of incidents which point to an overall shift in the paradigm of Immigration officers in the Kingdom of Thailand. For example, the ongoing raids occurring throughout Thailand under the Operation X-Ray Outlaw Foreigner program and the follow-on arrests, deportations, and blacklisting associated therewith.

Meanwhile, Immigration Checkpoints at various ports of entry throughout the country have seen multiple postings of signs explaining that there is to be “No Tipping” of Immigration personnel by those entering the Kingdom from abroad. The initiative appears to be especially aimed at those arriving in Thailand in need of a Visa on Arrival. This news came upon the heels of reports that individuals were recently arrested in connection with an immigration matter as it was found that the individuals in question were apparently attempting to use forged documents in order to obtain a Thai visa extension. The upshot of these arrests has resulted in increased scrutiny of those filing applications for Thai visa extension. As of the time of this writing, the heightened scrutiny of extension applications appears to be being applied across the board and not exclusively to cases which may be deemed suspicious. This is resulting in delays and difficulties for many people seeking to extend their non-immigrant visa status in the Kingdom.

It recently came to this blogger’s attention via the Bangkok Post that there are even further developments with respect to Thai Immigration. To quote directly from a recent Bangkok Post article:

The defence minister has ordered the IB to strictly enforce the law against foreign nationals overstaying their visas and those who remain in the country despite their visas having been revoked…Lt Gen Kongcheep added the foreign nationals identity database has to be integrated with the immigration screening facilities at border checkpoints and airports to help identify more quickly those who might pose as a threat to national security. Meanwhile, Pol Maj Gen Surachate announced IB will begin to deport visa overstayers — of which there are at least 40,000 — within a month.

These developments would represent substantial changes in terms of the way Immigration authorities currently enforce the law. Moreover, it is notable that the Immigration database will soon be linked to a more broad identity database which will likely result in better coordination between different government ministries in Thailand. As a result, Immigration authorities will be better equipped to identify and possibly forestall those deemed to be undesirable from entering or reentering the Kingdom.

If there are actually 40,000 individuals currently overstaying their status in Thailand it seems logical to infer that the implementation of these measures along with those previously implemented will result in a large number of such individuals being apprehended and possibly deported from Thailand. It should be noted that those arrested in Thailand for visa overstay are likely to be placed on the Blacklist and precluded from returning to the Kingdom for a prolonged period of time.

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5th July 2018

It would appear that Thailand is not the only jurisdiction which is tightening immigration regulations and enforcement. In recent weeks, an announcement from the agency which oversees immigration matters is likely to have a significant impact upon future immigrants and non-immigrants alike. For example, in a recent press release from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) it was noted that certain non-immigrants such as J-1, F-1, and M-1 visa holders will no longer be granted an effective reprieve from accruing unlawful presence in the USA through use of so-called “duration of status” exemption.

What is “duration of status”? Duration of status (also referred to as “DS”, “D of S”, or D/S in certain immigration circles) refers to the status by which certain non-immigrant are admitted into the United States. In this blogger’s opinion it was designed to streamline immigration functions as certain exchange visitor programs and course curricula do not necessarily have a definite end date (this is especially the case with so-called practicum courses following after a more organized academic schedule). Due to the fact that it is somewhat difficult to nail down policymakers allowed for “duration of status” to act as a sort of floating grace period. In the past, those admitted in this status were unable to accrue unlawful presence once admitted even where a course or other reason for admission had clearly terminated. This lead to what some would describe as abuse of the system. This was simply a “loophole” in the rules that allowed such individuals to obtain later immigration benefits without the need to worry about an finding of inadmissibility for overstay since unlawful presence could not ever be determined. Pursuant to a recent announcement from USCIS this appears to be changing. To quote directly from the USCIS website:

Individuals in F, J, or M status who fail to maintain their status on or after Aug. 9, 2018, will start accruing unlawful presence on the earliest of any of the following:

  • The day after they no longer pursue the course of study or the authorized activity, or the day after they engage in an unauthorized activity;
  • The day after completing the course of study or program, including any authorized practical training plus any authorized grace period;
  • The day after the I-94 expires; or
  • The day after an immigration judge, or in certain cases, the BIA, orders them excluded, deported, or removed (whether or not the decision is appealed).

This change in policy will have a significant impact upon those who have been admitted to the USA in one of the above categories. Moreover, those previously admitted in duration of status who are no longer pursuing the program for which they were admitted are well advised to consult an immigration attorney soon in order to understand their options. Obviously, failure to remain in lawful status could harm future applications for further immigration benefits pursuant to the forthcoming rule change. It seems logical to infer that more findings of accrued unlawful presence are likely to be made in future immigration cases and in that case such matters will only be remedied through use of an I-601 waiver petition.

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22nd January 2016

In a recent article in the Pattaya Mail it was noted that those who overstay their visa in Thailand will soon be facing harsh consequences. To quote directly from the aforementioned article:

For those who surrender, foreigners overstaying up to one year will be banned for a year from coming back to Thailand. Three-year bans await overstayers of 1-3 years while those who have lived here without a visa for 3-5 years will be banned for five years. Overstayers of more than five years will be banned for 10 years.

It appears from reading the original notice from immigration that even those who overstay for a period of 90 days will be blacklisted for a 90 day period following their last departure. It would also appear that in conjunction with the recently announced blacklisting rules the Royal Thai Immigration Police have measures in place which will greatly improve that organization’s ability to monitor travelers arriving in Thailand. To quote directly from a recent article in the Bangkok Post:

Immigration police announced Monday the opening of a centralised mechanism to oversee and control the entry and exit of foreigners. The newly established Thai Immigration 24/7 Centre, located at Immigration Bureau headquarters, is divided into three working rooms where officers can monitor real-time CCTV footage at airports, ports and border checkpoints. An advance passenger processing system installed at the centre will allow officers to know personal details of visitors before they arrive, with more than 50 airlines cooperating.

Clearly, Immigration authorities in Thailand are committed to more thorough enforcement of Thailand’s immigration laws. The practical impact of these measures remains to be seen as the new rules regarding overstay are not to come into wide effect until March 20, 2016.

What do these developments mean for foreigner nationals traveling, living, and working in Thailand? First, it is clear that foreigners who once used Thailand’s somewhat lax overstay policy to remain in the Kingdom long term will no longer be able to remain in Thailand this way without some serious repercussions. Also, as Thailand recently announced changes in tourist visa and visa exemption stamp policies it seems clear that although true long term tourists will be able to remain longer in the Kingdom, those who simply use tourist visas as a means of living in Thailand will see this avenue closed in the future.

The Thai business visa remains a viable option for some who wish to remain in Thailand long term while those with a Thai spouse can avail themselves of the O visa to remain in Thailand with their family. Meanwhile, for those who qualify, the Thai retirement visa and the Thai Education visa are also methods of maintaining long term status in the Kingdom.

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12th September 2009

Every year, many people from all over the world enter the United States of America and remain temporarily. As previously mentioned on this blog and on this website, there are many different types of non-immigrant visas for those who wish to go to the United States and remain for a short period of time or for a particular endeavor which has a definitive chronological endpoint.

United States Tourist visas are a prime example of a non-immigrant category visa that can grant the applicant a long duration of stay. This type of visa is meant for those entering the USA for recreational purposes who intend to leave after their vacation has ended. US Student visas are meant for those who are traveling to the United States to engage in a course of study. Finally American Exchange visitor visas are designed for those who wish to travel to America to live and/or work in a travel exchange program.

With any of the aforementioned visa categories the underlying visa’s validity has an end date. When the non-immigrant visa’s expiration date arrives, the applicant must either depart the United States or seek an extension. An US visa extension is similar to a Thai visa extension in that the applicant must apply for the extension while in the country and if granted, the applicant may remain for longer than the initial visa’s validity.

Those who do not depart or extend are considered in violation of their visa as they are overstaying its validity. In US Immigration circles, the alien is deemed to be in the United States “on overstay.” The longer a violator remains in the United States the higher the probability that the violator will be caught and either removed from the country or given the option to voluntarily depart.

After departing the United States due to overstay, the alien may be deemed inadmissible depending upon the duration of the overstay. Further, the duration of the bar on reentry depends upon how long the violator overstayed. The alien could be subjected to a 10 year bar if he remained in the US without lawful status for a long enough period of time.

In cases involving inadmissibility based upon overstay it may be possible to obtain a waiver of the inadmissibility. The applicant will need to file an I-601 waiver in order to clear up the overstay issue because if the waiver is granted the applicant will be allowed to reenter the country on either an immigrant or non-immigrant visa.

If the alien was removed from the United States because of an overstay, it may be necessary to file an I-212 application for permission to apply for reentry. That being said, either application is approved only at the discretion of the adjudicating officer at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service.

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11th May 2009

Some Visas in Thailand do not confer resident status which can be beneficial for a number of reasons. Thai education visas and Thai tourist visas do not confer resident status and as a result accrual of time spent in Thailand on either of these visas will not count towards the necessary time requirements for Thai permanent residence.

Currently, Thailand is issuing visa exemptions (the right to remain in Thailand without a proper visa) for 30 days at an airport and for 15 days at a land border. However, Thai tourist visas are currently free to applicants at certain Embassies.

Thai “O” Visas or Other Visas, are issued to those who are either a family member of a Thai national, permanent resident, or visa holder, based upon a filial relationship to the visa holder. Currently, it is possible to obtain O visas for Non-Thai children, but for those children under a certain age, it is not possible to overstay in Thailand. This situation is similar in US Immigration where non-Citizen children cannot accrual unlawful presence in the United States. A child may be overstaying a visa, but the child cannot accrue time as a person present in the USA unlawfully.

At one time, Thai work permits were used as a basis for granting business visa extensions in Thailand. Before that time, a business visa extension could be obtained without obtaining a work permit, but this situation was considered unacceptable because it left many non-Thais in Thailand on business visas, some of whom were working, but without a work permit. For a period of time, the work permit was the foundation of the business visa extension application. Recently, the Thai work permit was “untied” from the business visa extension and as a result it is easier to obtain a work permit, but seemingly more difficult to obtain a Thai visa extension.

Many people forget that a Thai multiple entry visa is good until its expiration date and the visa holder will be granted a stay of 90 days upon entry. This leads to the situation where the non-Thai presents his visa to Thai Immigration one day before the visa’s expiration, but is granted entry into Thailand for nearly 90 days past the visa’s expiration.

(Please note: this post is not a substitute for personal legal advice from a licensed attorney. No lawyer-client relationship is created between author and reader.)

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