Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘Visa free’

17th January 2017

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that law enforcement authorities are set to shortly begin implementation of electronic monitoring of suspected criminals who have been released on bail. In a recent article in The Nation it was noted that the initiative has begun in an effort to create a more equitable system for accused defendants who seem to fall in a sort of middle category between those accused of minor offenses and those accused of more serious violations of the law. Those who are unable to make bail and looking at trial for offenses carrying less than a 5 year sentence are eligible to be released provided that such defendants are tracked using an ankle monitoring device similar to those used in the USA, UK, and other western countries.

Thailand has had issues with prison overcrowding in recent years and this initiative seems to be aimed at reducing prison populations while also providing a degree of leniency for those who cannot afford to pay bail. It should be noted that the use of these devices in limited release scenarios is entirely at the discretion of the judiciary. In most cases involving foreign nationals facing trial in Thailand it appears that bail may be the best option of ensuring release as it seems this particular initiative is intended to provide assistance to indigent Thais accused of relatively minor offenses. For more information on criminal law pertaining to foreign nationals in Thailand please see: Thailand Criminal Lawyer.

Meanwhile, in other news it appears the Thai passport has declined somewhat in the global ranking of passports based upon visa-free and visa-on-arrival numbers. Thailand fell behind some other countries as the Thai passport’s relative options for visa free travel to other countries decreased. However, Thailand’s passport remains one of the most flexible travel documents among the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries. It should be noted that as of the time of this writing Thailand is not on the list of countries that the United States of America allows to utilize the visa waiver program. As a result, all Thai nationals wishing to travel to the USA must obtain a US visa before traveling. For some, this requirement can be rather cumbersome especially in light of the more stringent application of section 214(b) of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act. This section in conjunction with doctrines such as the doctrine of Consular Absolutism makes getting into the USA on a non-immigrant visa very difficult for some Thai passport holders.

more Comments: 04

1st August 2016

In prior postings on this blog the issues of Thai immigration law and immigration enforcement have been discussed. In a rather recent posting it was noted that Thai immigration is placing increased scrutiny upon those seeking marriage visas (officially referred to as Thai O visas) in the Kingdom. It appears that after discovery of a spate of sham marriages perpetuated in order to obtain Thai immigration benefits, Thai immigration authorities began to subject Thai marriage visa applications to more intense scrutiny. This matter apparently remains a top priority of immigration officials in Thailand as a recent article in the Bangkok Post points out that high ranking officials with the Royal Thai Immigration Police have issued new directives with respect to this issue:

Pol Lt Gen Nathathorn warned officers against dishonest acts as he listed the bureau’s action plans to screen foreigners in the country illegally…He ordered immigration officers to investigate if authorities colluded with foreigners to help enable sham marriages.

This news comes amidst the recent revelation that the so-called “border run” method of maintaining lawful immigration status in Thailand is coming to an end. In a recent posting on the Love Pattaya Thailand website it has been noted that as of August 13th 2016 the days of visa running to obtain a 15, 30, or even 60 day stamp is coming to an end. To quote directly from the aforementioned website:

The Immigration Bureau have already told the officials to refuse entry to foreigners on visa runs as a measure to stop the exploitation of tourist visas and visa exemptions to live or work here. Tourists wishing to extend their stay in Thailand must now need to exit the country and apply for a proper tourist visa

In the past, one could hope to obtain a new thirty day stamp at the airport in Thailand so long one was willing to fly out of the country and immediately get on a plane and fly back in. It appears that this is no longer feasible as so-called “fly-out/fly-in” visa runs will be discouraged following August 13th to the point where presumably such travelers will be turned away and not permitted to reenter the country without a duly issued visa from a Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate abroad.

Meanwhile, Japan just recently solidified her position as the number one tourist destination of people from Southeast Asia. Japan tops the list of most favored tourist destinations among Thai nationals. It appears that Thai tourism numbers in Japan has been on the upswing since the easing of visa rules for Thai nationals including 15 day visa free travel.

This news comes at the same time as news that Taiwan is allowing Thai tourists to travel visa free to that country starting August 1st. It will be interesting to see if this move has a positive impact upon the tourism sector in Taiwan.

more Comments: 04

1st July 2013

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan has made a new policy regarding visa-free travel for Thai nationals. In order to explore this issue more fully it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

In celebration of the 40th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation, the Government of Japan has decided that from July 1, nationals of the Kingdom of Thailand in possession of ordinary IC passports who wish to enter Japan for a period not exceeding 15 consecutive days for short-term stay will be made exempt from the visa requirements. The further development of Japan-Thailand exchange is expected as a result of the exemption of visa requirements, including increases in the number of tourists from Thailand who visit Japan and the enhancement of the ease of business transactions between the two countries.

Prior to this announcement, Thai nationals wishing to visit Japan, even for a short period of time, were required to obtain a visa in advance. Although limited to only 15 days of visa-free lawful status in Japan, this policy change is likely to have a significant impact upon Thai-Japanese travel patterns with the upshot that Japan is likely to see a rise in Thai tourists visitng that country. The Japanese government also noted that visa-free travel privileges do not extend to all travelers wishing to visit Japan:

However, those entering Japan with intentions other than those noted above; or in other words, those who wish to stay in Japan for short-term stay of over 15 days or who wish to stay for purposes such as work, will be required to obtain visas in advance. In addition, this visa exemption applies only to those with an ordinary IC passport. Nationals of the Kingdom of Thailand who do not hold an ordinary IC passport continue to be required to obtain a visa.

Those interested in this recent announcement are encouraged to click upon the hyperlink noted above to view this announcement in detail. It would appear that although Japan is granting limited visa-free travel privileges to Thais these privileges are only to be used by those wishing to travel to Japan for short periods of time as tourists. In much the same way that Thailand grants Thai Visa Exemptions to passport holders from many different countries, but requires those wishing to work or reside in Thailand to obtain a long term visa (and later extension) prior to arrival; so too are Japanese officials attempting to make certain that those lawfully present in Japan are there only for short periods of time and not utilizing this privilege as a means of maintaining permanent presence.

For related information please see: Thailand Business Visa.

more Comments: 04

The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisement. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.