Integrity Legal

10th Sep 2009

In an apparent effort to deal with a are number of foreign nationals using Thai Tourist visas for unintended purposes, the authorities at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are instructing Consular Officials at Royal Thai Embassies and Consulates to heavily scrutinize applicants for tourist visas. This edict seems especially targeted at Consulates and Embassies in the Southeast Asia region. is covering the story and quotes the edict directly:

“As there has been a number of visa applicants having entered Thailand via tourist visa and misused it to illegally seek employment during their stay and, upon its expiry, sought to re-apply their tourist visas at the Royal Thai Embassy or the Royal Thai Consulate in neighboring countries, requests for visa renewal by such applicants are subject to rejection as their applications are not based on tourism motive, but to continue their illegal employment, which is unlawful.

This is in accordance with the Immigration Act, B.B. 2552 which stipulates that visa applicants are required to clearly express their real purpose of visiting Thailand. Should the case be found that the applicant’s real intention were concealed, the application will be rejected.

Please be informed that the intention of applicants to repeatedly depart and re-enter Thailand via tourist visa issued by the Royal Thai Embassy or the Royal Thai Consulate in neighboring countries in recent years upon its expiry, is considered as concealment of real purpose of visiting Thailand. Thus their visas applications will be rejected.”

Unlike the Thai O visa and the Thai Business visa, the Thai Tourist visa is not designed for those who wish to work in the Kingdom.  One present on a tourist visa is not entitled to apply for a Thai work permit. Due to this restriction, many foreigners opt to stay in Thailand and work illegally or “off the books.” Although tolerated at one time, this practice is viewed with increasing animosity by Thai Immigration officials particularly since the world wide economic downturn.

Thailand’s policy regarding this practice is similar to Section 214b of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act. This statute creates the presumption that those entering the United States on a non-immigrant visa, like a US Tourist visa, are in fact intending immigrants. United States Consular officers often reject tourist visa applicants because they cannot demonstrate true “tourist intention,” meaning that they do not have sufficiently strong ties to a country outside of the US which would compel them to depart the United States.  Working in the United States on a tourist visa without work authorization is also considered to be a major violation of non-immigrant status (although not a ground of inadmissibility). Thailand seems like it is beginning to tighten up immigration protocols and coincidentally these measures are making the system resemble the US Immigration system.

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2 Responses to “Thailand Immigration Officials To Scrutinize Tourist Visa Applicants”

  1. jesse says:

    so, what can I do if I have money to live here and dont work?
    I have been doing back-2-back tourist visas for 3 years!
    so, what alternatives do I have now?

  2. admin says:

    I would apply for another type of Thai visa category. Think about possibly applying for a Thai business visa or a Thai O Visa. We can assist if need be.

    For more on the Thai business visa please see:

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