In yet another display of gross stupidity, Thailand has altered the rules for tourist visas (again) and this will effect you.
More info here: http://t.co/DnuKjnz
I'll post more as I hear it.
The gross stupidity of this move really beggars belief.
C&Ped from ministry of Foreign affairs...
Required documents are:
One completed and signed application formOne photo (colour, size 4 x 6 cm)
Citizens of following countries are required to provide 5 photos and 5 copies of application form
* Citizens of Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Democratic People Republic of Korea, Lebanon, Libya, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria and YemenPassport (valid for no less than 6 months)Copy of ID cardCopy of residence certificate (Carnet de Residence/ Family Record Book)
6.1 Company employee must prepare company work certificate (Business card is not acceptable)
6.2 Self-employed applicant must prepare business registration/license (original)
6.3 Student must prepare guarantee letter from university or student card
(Copy of parent’s ID card and proof of parent’s profession)
6.4 Pensioner must prepare bank statement or pension fund
Hotel reservation in Thailand with name and dates of checking in/outAirline ticket or confirmation slip with flight number and date of entry/exit Passport holders of Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sudan, Syria, Yemen and Palestinian State are requested to file for application in person at the Royal Thai Embassy. In certain case, a certificate of no criminal record is required.
Please note that
Consular officers reserve the rights to ask for additional documents as deemed necessary.
In the absence of a required document, a letter indicating the unavailability of such document must be provided.
So if you are planning on arriving in Thailand without a visa ( planning to get a 15- or 30- day visa free stay) then you are not affected.
If you are planning on getting a tourist visa from a Thai embassy or consulate before arrival, then this does effect you. According to the letter on Thaivisa (see link above) you will need flight ticket in and out of the country AND a confirmed reservation at a hotel/guesthouse etc.
There are a few obvious problems with this, the prime ones being people arriving and departing by land, and people staying with friends rather than in hotels. There are a bunch if other odd ones as well.
As it stands I can't see how they can seriously expect to enforce this and I imagine it will be used selectively to make things more difficult for some people that Thailand would prefer went elsewhere.
Can't really say anything more, but if they do enforce this, it will be quite a but of a mess!
I guess the "letter" mentioned by SBE offers Abbott in that you have a letter explaining you are arriving and departing by land and plan to sleep in bus stations which you have been unable to book online...
Am in Phuket at the moment, stranded in heaving rain halfway to Patong Beach - oh the joys of monsoon travel
It looks like you'd still get a 30 day visa exempt stamp when you fly into Thailand (or 15 days if you arrive overland).
Otherwise you have to jump through all these hoops! Maybe they just don't want foreign tourists visiting Thailand any more.
I think a lot of people will say f*ck it, I'm not dealing with all this paperwork to go on holiday.
I'll go to Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam or Myanmar instead.
SBE you no my problem I have with my passport I had a 60 day double entry stamp on my passport so when I get my new passport will I just get my stamp again no questions or show all this stuff or whatever the stupid new rules say?
God knows potta! TIT (This is Thailand). I'm guessing that as the visa was issued and paid for before these wonderful new rules came in it won't change anything for you but I really don't know. As I said I got reissued with a visa (for free) when my passport got nicked but I think I did have to fill in forms and provide photos too.
Sorry I can't be more precise...I remember having to go and see someone in an office at immigration and having to nip out to get something they needed that I didn't have... a photocopy of the police report/embassy letter or passport photos but I can't remember which exactly.
Maybe as you're on Samui you should go and ask immigration there what the deal is?
Will this really be enforced? More people are applying for 60 day entry visas in order to avoid a visa run, or an extra flight, even if they stay under 60 days, anyway the smart ones do With the new govt. I thought they might even ease up on the 15 day overland rule! Guess not.
The hotel reservation rule, especially, is completely ridiculous.
I'm planning to apply for a visa at the New York consulate some time in the next month or so, and definitely not planning to have all my hotels booked in advance! I'll be sure to let y'all know how that goes.
I think it's getting taken way too seriously by people since this was "announced". Many Thai consulates have already been requiring things like proof of air travel for quite some time and it's at each consulate's discretion how many of these "rules" they want to enforce. The MFA "telling" consulates abroad what do has never been very successful. The hotel booking thing is just a joke. Most people of course don't book a room in advance, and it's not that hard to just write in the name of some hotel or make stuff up, and I can't see this getting enforced much anyway.
Ha ha at the same time TAT is allocating itself a 40% increase in next year's budget, and the Tourism Department are asking 1.5 billion baht in 2012 to "spruce up" tourist destinations. So at the same time let's make it even harder for tourists to actually get here? LOL anyway I would take this with a grain of salt. There have been many such "clampdowns" announced over the years and it's hardly mattered in the big picture. Ah except the 15-day land entry visa exemption, now THAT is stupid.
I wouldn't go looking for supporting evidence one way or another on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website http://www.mfa.go.th
It is always pathetically out of date.
With the new govt. I thought they might even ease up on the 15 day overland rule! Guess not.
Wasn't it Thaksin's lot who introduced the 15 day overland rule? The previous government was giving out FREE tourist visas to encourage tourists to come to Thailand!
The new hotel rules seem specially tailored to fit people who don't even need a two month visa. If you already know exactly which hotels you'll be staying in the whole time, then the chances are that you're a package tourist and will only be staying in Thailand for a couple of weeks at most anyway.
The new rules are just going to encourage people who want to stay two months or longer to either use the free 30 day entry stamps and do monthly visa runs or go someplace else. Either way they won't be paying any visa fees and that will mean lost tourist revenue for the govt.
They certainly seem to want to make life more difficult for younger backpackers though. Look at the paperwork a gap year student would have to provide under these new regulations:
-letter of guarantee from their university
-copy of parent's IDs
-and their parents' work certificates (or original business registration papers if their parents are self employed) because they have to prove their parents' professions too.(So if your parents are unemployed, that means you aren't allowed to go on holiday to Thailand, even if you've left home and saved up enough money by working yourself?)
How many gap year students wanting to travel into Thailand overland will be carrying all that around with them? None. So if they apply for a visa from a Thai consulate in a neighboring country they'll be refused and only be allowed in for 15 days. Bye bye smelly young backpackers.
It would be very interesting to get your feedback about how strictly the consulate in NY is actually applying these new hotel rules DLeuk. Bob seems quite upbeat about it all so hopefully he's correct in assuming it just won't be implemented. If he isn't then it's small guesthouses like his which are going to be most badly affected in terms of business loss.
Thai rak thai, but only the rich ones.
It is essentially the same government that tightened the visa rules back in 2006, just under a new leader.
They don't like backpackers or people staying long term. They want the rich 2 week holiday tourists. It is their way of trying to eliminate those working illegally or those that just never leave. Also to crack down on sex tourism.
A few years ago they were doing this already and it stopped after about a month or so. So perhaps the same will happen again. Only time can tell what effect this will have on the country.
#15 guava_girl has been a member since 21/10/2010. Posts: 252
I do agree with Bob in that I think it will be highly unlikely that these new rules will be enforced across the board. Instead I'd expect a few consulates that are popular with the visa run brigade (namely Vientiane and Penang and, to a lesser extent, Phnom Penh ) to use these rules selectively to make life more complicated for serial visa renewers.
BUT, stranger things have happened. If they do decide to enforce these across the board then things are going to become quite complicated.
So,. watch this space. Don't panic. We should know in the coming weeks what approach is going to result.
Remember first-hand back in 2006 the Thai consulate in Penang had a strict proof of outbound flight requirement. It didn't last very long though and meanwhile the travel agents on Chulia street were having a little heyday issuing "confirmed" air tickets which you just paid a small fee for and tore up after. Even in Vientiane I've sometimes been asked not just for where I'm staying in Thailand (grab a name out of a guidebook) but was pressed for the address and phone number as though they really cared. It's mostly about making face.
Will be curious if/how they try to implement such policies in "user-friendly" consulates like Vientiane with literally hundreds of applicants per day, most of whom almost certainly have no flight ticket out or any intention of staying in a hotel.
Anyway, here's the ThaiVisa posting that started all this discussion/panic:
But note the link given as it's source is for the Royal Embassy in Phnom Penh (piggybacked off the MFA site as is common practice)
and indeed there are reports of these new "requirements" getting a visa in PP last couple days. But does the Phnom Penh Embassy make up the rules for the whole world? Anyone seen this actually announced by the MFA themselves???
Nothing new on the Vientiane website - appears business as usual
The guy who posted the link on TV prefaced it with this:
"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bangkok has instructed the Thai Embassies and Consulates abroad to be stricter with requirements when applicants are applying for 60-days Tourist visas for Thailand. The Royal Thai Embassies, Consulates and Consulates-General will from now require a confirmed airline ticket with flight numbers and date of entry/exit, plus confirmed hotel reservations with name and dates of checking in/out"
What is the source of this text? It's not on the link he gave, so did he just make it up or what? And now it's been passed on as fact by the social media, that this applies to every consulate worldwide? I smell fish.
Ok, it looks like Vientiane is going to be my achilles heel. Any recent experiences here?
My itinerary is Melbourne to Bangkok/Chiang Rai on 8/9th November, Chiang Khong to Vientiane by car around 4th to 10th December; then fly Bangkok/Saigon 13th December, and Hanoi/Bangkok 16th January, flying out of Bangkok on 2nd February.
Air flights were booked couple of months ago, and it looks like I may have left arrangement for visas too late.
Any suggestions or recommendations?
So you're in Thailand 3 times but only a couple days first then a few more days after Laos then a couple weeks at the end. You just get a visa-exempt entry each time (30 days by air, 15 days by land). Should be pretty straightforward as long as each length of stay is within those limits. No actual visa required.
not sure how recently these changes go into effect but here in the states I just got a tourist visa very recently at the royal Thai consulate in Boston MA with nothing but a plane ticket and passport photos. got my visa within 20 minutes after walking in.
anyone in this are I believe will have no trouble getting as visa here. the woman at reception is very friendly and the process in painless. I even had a one way ticket. perhaps consulates are less strict then full embassies. this place has the feel of a small office.
After sitting down and studying, I've come to the same conclusion as you, Cap'n.
My first leg in Thailand is 26 days - within the 30 day period. After the period in Laos, my concern was the doubt expressed about getting re-entry through Vientiane . I've decided that, as I have all flights booked, I'll take the chance. Worst case, I fly from Vientiane to Saigon instead of from Bangkok.
Thanks, fellers. Appreciate the advice.
"Vientiane by car around 4th to 10th December; then fly Bangkok/Saigon 13th December"
"my concern was the doubt expressed about getting re-entry through Vientiane"
So enter Thailand by land border you get 15 days visa exempt, no problem.
I just picked up my 3 month tourist visa from the embassy in New York City and it's business as usual there. I was not asked to show proof of hotel reservations or proof of onward travel. The only difference from normal was that it took 3 days (2 nights) to be processed rather than the usual 2 days.