Thank you Flip.. a very informative post for frequent travellers to Thailand.
There have been several reports recently on another forum of people being refused entry to Thailand - even with a valid Multi Entry Tourist Visa. These reports are usuallly by people who are in fact, using tourist visas as a way of 'living' in Thailand and have made several extensions/visa runs etc.
Although their visa is valid they are usually asked to produce 20,000 baht in cash (or equivalent in another currency) - which in case you didn't know has always been a requirement for entry. Most don't have it and they won't let you go to an ATM (no ATM's before immigration) so that is used as the reason to deny entry.
Also, a couple of years back on one entry the I.O counted up my entry stamps but said nothing. Next trip, the I.O. counted them again and said "next trip get a visa". When I asked what type of visa would be OK he said, "we know you are visiting your wife (how?) so don't get a tourist visa, you need a non o based on marriage". I'd let my non o slip because I was only staying a couple of weeks at a time and couldn't see the point in paying for the visa.
I've never been asked to show 20,000 baht and I'm sure thousands don't get asked every day but there seems to be a general tightening up. Most people will be absolutely fine I'm sure but if you're a frequent visitor - make sure you have the correct visa and everyone should have the 20,000 baht if they're going to play it by the book.
On the matter of entering frequently using the 30 day visa waiver - the general guidline appears to be 6 entries in 12 months but again, if you are doing visa runs or your entries are close together - you could be refused for less.
Its not so long ago that the Thai authorities said 'just get a visa and you'll be fine' - not exactly the case it seems. If you're using visas/waivers wrongly or they suspect you are, you may be refused. If they don't have a valid reason - just a suspicion, they will use the 20,000 baht rule to turn you around.
Thank you Flip.. a very informative post for frequent travellers to Thailand.
so people need 487 pounds (500 gbp) in cash when arriving I have never traveled with less but equally never been asked to show proof of funds
Human beings are seventy percent water, and with some the rest is collagen
All I'm saying Ash is that the rules have always said that - how many of us have complied with it? Very few I'd guess - especially in the days of the old Nationwide Flex Account.
I used to always take my funds in cash but I've built up a healthy amount in my Thai bank account so rather than suffer the hideous exchange rate, on the lst few trips I've used that. I was aware of the 20k baht requirement but always thought I'd get it from an ATM if I was asked. I hadn't realised there are no ATM's before immigration.
In reality, I think they are simply using this old rule to deny entry to those who are bending the rules with back to back entries/ visa runs etc.
Interestingly, I have been aware of this for a while and when I left last month I collared an I.O. after I'd gone through the booths. I explained that I am renovating my house ready for retirement so would be travelling frequently, I'd heard the stories and was worried that I might be refused entry at some stage. He told me that once I've used my METV up I should do another couple of entries on visa waivers then get another METV. I hope he's correct but I will be taking documentation to back up my story just in case.
I really don't think this tightening up will affect many on this forum but there are many 'silent' members who may be pushing their luck.
This has been reported for a long long time now. It's always from a 3rd party stand point and nobody actually knows anyone that this has happened to.
If you're offended by any assistance I give, it says far more about you than it does me.
I was questioned this time on entry by a female IO after looking at my 30 day visa waiver stamps she asked me why I was coming here, I said to see my wife, I said I only come 4 times a year for about 28 days, which she could have seen by the stamps in my passport. I showed her my marriage certificate and and my flight out. She did say for me to get a visa for next time to which I replied that I can not as you don't have anywhere to get one in Iraq. She also said something about any more than 90 days per year and my waivers will get frozen? Didn't really understand that. I didn't see her type anything on the computer. So time will will on my next visit home. But that won't be until the end of Feb 2019.
I rant really sure if there is any thing I can do on the visa side with me working away for 2 months then back for one...and so on!
Lonerider, if you are in Thailand for a month you could always go to Laos for a couple of days holiday with your wife. Savannakhet consulate will give you a one year multi entry O visa. Just need passport and copy of info page, wedding cert and copy, wifes ID card and copy. No need to show any money in the bank. Not far from Chum Phae( if it is in Khon Khean) to Mukdahan.Night in hotel there then cross the bridge, $35 for a Laos visa, go to hotel and check in, then apply for visa at the consulate in the morning and pick up next afternoon.Then you are OK for a year.
Yes I was just going to suggest getting a Non O in Laos Wayne.
I think what the I.O. was saying is that your total time on visa waivers must be no more than 90 days in total per year. I don't know of any rule that says that but I do know they are clamping down on many aspects of immigration. In their eyes you are not a tourist, you are visiting your wife and should have a visa to that effect.
Best to have the correct visa, you don't want to arrive and get a refusal - must be hell.
Also - if you get the timing right, you can get the Non O to last for around 15 months. Enter around the last day of its validiity and you will get a 90 day stamp. Not that it applies to you but each entry can also be extended by 30 or even 60 days at the officers discretion.
Last edited by Flip; 4th Dec 2018 at 11:39.
Thanks for the info guys, I take it I can come in and out as many times as I like in the year? Do I need to have the original Wedding Cert as that is in BKK? Thanks
Yes you can come and go as often as you like but each stay is for 90 days max (+extensions). Note that this type of Non O gives the same benefits as a Non O extension which many married people use to live with their wife in Thailand but far less paperwork is required. No-one comes to your house to check you are living there and no photos of you two together at the house are required. The only downside is that you have to leave every 90 days whereas those on extensions just have to report - which to you Wayne is not a problem.
Several embassies/consulates have been offering these visas for many years but I believe that officially, they should be applied for in either your home country or a country in which you have legal residence. I can see a time where this in enforced but for now they are available.
Not sure if they will accept a copy of your wedding cert - somehow I doubt it. I always applied in the UK and took my original to Hull who then sent it to London by e-mail. Hull no longer do the 12 month ones - they are only available at the Thai embassy and without checking, I don't know whether London want copies or originals but its irrelevant in your case as each immigration office applies the rules differently. Either someone else can answer that or post on Thai Visa.
Last edited by Flip; 4th Dec 2018 at 13:31.
Got my Non O based on Marriage in Savannakhet on the 26th Feb, thanks for the info
Thank you Lonerider for the update on your application, as I my need to apply for the same visa in the coming months, would you consider giving details of the documentation you provided.
Wayne got a Multi Entry Non Immigrant O Visas based upon marriage. That visa requires far less paperwork than what is known as a Non O Extension, it also often needs no evidence of income. The Royal Thai Embassy in London however, state on their website that you need to show an income of 65,000 per month (I think) but they often don't enforce that. I've had to provide evidence once and not had to twice. With this visa you have to leave every 90 days but can (usually) return immediately. The reason I say usually is that this type of visa is intended for those visiting a wife in Thailand but they live or work elsewhere. It is not intended as a means of living in Thailand permanently. Having said that, many do live there on this type of Non O but I was told by an I.O. that it should not be used in that way.
I believe that most people living in Thailand who are applying based on marriage use the Non O Extension but following the recent changes in proving income in Thailand some are saying they intend changing from a Non O Extension to a Non O Multi Entry and leaving/re-entering every 90 days as a way of avoiding the income requirement (40,000 per month) or money in the bank (400,000). It is entirely possible that the Thai authorities will clamp down on people doing that if they get wind of it.
So, if you intend on living in Thailand and want a visa based on being married to a Thai - you need a Non O Extension whereas, if you want a visa that will allow you to visit your wife for extended periods - you need a Multi Entry Non Immigrant O. As I mentioned elsewhere an I.O. told me that a tourist visa is not the correct visa as they do not see your visit as tourism. I was told to get a Multi Entry Non O and I believe Wayne was told the same.
Thank you Flip for your informative reply..... While working in Saudi I have been applying and visiting the wife on Tourist Visa (oops) without question but will check out the Multi Entry Non O.
I got my Multi Entry Non Immigrant O Visas based upon marriage from Savannakhet and my wife came with me for the just in case scenario lol.
Opening times for consulate 0900-1100 for handing paperwork in
1400 till ? 1600 I think, for collecting paperwork the following day
The Photocopy paperwork I took and handed in was :-
A copy of my passport photo page, which I signed.
A copy of the Laos Visa, you can get that across the road from the Consulate, which I signed.
A copy of both sides of my wifes ID card, which she needs to sign.
A copy of the two pages in her Tabian Bahn, which she to needs sign.
Original Paperwork we took :-
The application for the Visa, I made one mistake on the visa...on the length of stay you are requesting in Thailand, I put 80 days....he asked me for 2000 baht with clearly was not for a one year multi entry, so after the explanation he told me to change the length of stay to 1 year and sign near the correction. You also need 2 passport sized photos to attach to it.
The Original Marriage Certificate, and they asked to see it.
Original Tabian Bahn
To be on the safe side and for the just-in-case we took copies of the last 12 months of my pay statements, and statements from our Bangkok Bank accounts, these we got the day before we left for Mukdahan from inside the bank and they stamp them with a date etc, cost us 100 baht. We also carried our Bank books too, I think better to have and not need, than they want and you don't have. But we were not asked for them.
We travelled to Mukdahan by car, stayed in a hotel for the night and they let us leave the car there for the night we were in Savannakhet, up at sparrows the following morning, on the 0630 bus to Savannakhet, yes I know early but they get full to bursting and I wanted some slack in the system and I hate rushing about. Price 45 baht each
Get to Thai Immigration, painless stamp out,
On the bus, over the bridge to Laos, go to the Visa on entry window, Fill in application for Laos Visa and fill in one of those Landing card things too, my wife got one to fill in also, this I had already filled in and took it with me, so all I had to do was fill in the landing card. You also need 1 passport photo to put on the application. I had my visa in less than 10 mins, I was first done, there was only one bloke doing the visa's and about another 6/7 foreigners doing the same thing.
Once done there it was through the Immigration Channel and back on the bus. Be aware the bus does not always wait, although there are over priced Tuk tuks and vehicles there to take you.
We had made good time and went to the bus station then to a coffee shop we use every time we go Cafe De Macchiato, its a little over priced but the food, air and wifi is good.
We went to the consulate at about 0815 and there was about 5 people waiting already.
Once paperwork is handed in thats you with over 24 hrs off, check-in to a hotel, relax.
Following day, I was at the consulate for just gone 1300 and there was 3 people already waiting, I went early as you have the same rigmarole with the bus to get back across the bridge in to Thailand, and we had 350k to drive home
The Laos officials charged my wife 50 baht "for time" both going it to Laos and Leaving, she crossed using her passport, I am not sure if she could have used her ID card!
If there is owt else mate, let me know
Many Thanks Wayne for the detailed reply.
I had planned to return to Thailand in May for six weeks but my contract in Saudi Arabia has unexpectedly been terminated, so my stay maybe much longer. Your post is most helpful, should I need to apply for a visa.