Integrity Legal

29th Aug 2009

The popular Website and the Nation Newspaper are reporting on the news that There is a planned expansion of Thailand’s current international airport. To quote the article:

“Airports of Thailand plans to build a domestic passenger terminal at Suvarnabhumi Airport while inviting the private sector to invest in six projects at the old Don Mueang Airport. Construction of the new terminal will start in 2012 for completion in 2015, to accommodate an additional 20 million passengers a year.”

A question upon the lips of many who read this blog is likely: “What about Getting a Reentry Permit at the airport?” Although these two subjects seem only tenuously related, they may in fact be more related than it appears at first glance.

Up until January 1, 2009 it was possible for long term residents of Thailand to obtain a Reentry Permit at the airport. This is an important stamp to obtain for those present in the Kingdom on a Thai visa extension. When one enters the country on a Thai visa, the visa has a set validity. However, it is possible to have one’s visa extended past the visa’s initial validity. Once obtained this instrument is known as a visa extension. However, the extension does not explicitly permit the bearer to leave the country and return while simultaneously remaining in status. Therefore, it may be necessary to acquire a Reentry permit so that one may leave the Kingdom and return while maintaining the same visa status.

There used to be a Royal Thai Immigration Office at Suvarnabhumi Airport that issued Reentry permits to travelers immediately before they left the country. As could be reasonably assumed, this office was very convenient for those leaving Thailand and wishing to return in status. However, for some unknown reason, this office was closed and currently it is not possible to get a Royal Thai Immigration extension issued at the airport. Those wishing to get a reentry permit must do so at another Thai Immigration office.

Hopefully, with the addition of a new terminal, the increased space at the airport may make it possible to reopen an Immigration office in order to facilitate the issuance of reentry permits. This being said, there appears to be no plan in place for opening any new Immigration offices at the airport.

It should be reiterated that anyone staying in Thailand on a visa extension should obtain a reentry permit before they depart from the Kingdom in order to forestall falling out of lawful visa status upon departure. Those present in the Kingdom on a multiple entry visa can depart and return to the Kingdom until the end of their visa’s validity.

For related information please see Thailand business visa

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