Foreign nationals who enter the country by foot at border crossings are granted a 15 day visa. Previously there was no limit on the number of consecutive entries possible, however under new legislation, enforced from today, four consecutive re-entries (a total stay of 60 days) is the maximum number possible.
After 60 days of short-term visas, the traveller is only permitted to re-enter the country on a plane - which will grant an automatic 30 day visa.
As usual, the biggest moaners on Thai Visa have kicked off with arguments that Thailand is mistreating residing farangs and tourists.
Anyone with any experience of living in Thailand can tell you this isn't the case.
The 15 day visa is pretty obsolete to anyone, be they traveller or expat [unless changing from a 3 month to a permanent stay - see below for more]. There are many other options with less hassle, reduced costs and, ultimately, a longer stay.
It seems likely that the 15 day visa will die its death very soon. It is little more than a reduced remnant of days gone when expats could stay in the country making unlimited 30 day border runs.
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Off the top of my head here is a list of different visas available to long and short term visitors to Thailand. Please feel free to highlight any others I may have missed out.
Anyone residing in Thailand on 15 days visas is a few coconuts short of a tree. Apart from the hassle, and expense, of commuting to the border every two weeks there are a number of relatively hassle-free options including:
- Work permit: one year stay through employment, must report to immigration office every 90 days
- Retirement visa: one year stay based on applicants age (50 years +) and a regular income (I forget the exactly figure which changes year on year)
- One year visa: not entirely sure how this one works but a friend recently shopped his in for a work permit, he'd had it for 2 years with no problems renewing annually.
- Marriage visa: for those married to a Thai national who can show regular income (I believe)
- Child visa: over 50 with a Thai child, there is a clause which allows you to stay for a year, if you can show proof of a regular income (not 100% on the details of this one)
- Holiday makers: those arriving on holiday (no more than a month) by plane need not worry as a passport will receive a 3o day visa when stamped at airport immigration.
- Long stayers: anyone planning on staying longer than a month can (easily) arrange a 3 month visa from a Thai embassy. Different types are available to allow for a variety of stays, including multiple entry/exit.