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Visa run to Cambodia DENIED. VISA exemption back into Thailand DENIED. Was told I'm not a tourist!


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I came to Thailand in Feb and did a visa run to Cambodia once in April then got an extension for 30 days and it ended in July. I went to Phnom Penh on 25 July 2022. Went to Thai Embassy on the 26 July to apply for a Visa, it was DENIED. They wrote a message on my paper that says "Visa run denied". I flew to Bangkok on the 29 July without a visa thinking I can get the Visa Exemption. At Suvarnabhumi airport immigration denied my visa exemption. They pulled me over and interrogated me for over an hour. One of the immigration officer told me " I think you not a tourist, you tried to live here. Tell me why you went to Cambodia and came back in 4 days? I told the officer I came back to visit my GF for a month (30 days). He told me to call my GF and have him talked to her on the phone. She begged him to let me stay for 30 days. He came back and told me he would let me slide this time but after 30 days I have to go back to my country ( USA) not Cambodia for 2-3 months then apply for tourist visa again. I agreed, signed a paper and he stamp my passport for 30 days. Anybody experience this issue with visa run to Cambodia?

Edited by KaptainRob
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It sounds like he was being very reasonable and kind to you as he was right, you are not a tourist.  Lesson here, get the right visa or suffer the consequences. 

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Thanks, the only visa I qualify for is the single tourist visa. Since they denied my visa run in Cambodia I should've fly to Vietnam and get a visa there. Would that make a difference? My goal is to stay in Thailand for 1 year on a tourist visa.

 

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2 hours ago, Shin said:

Thanks, the only visa I qualify for is the single tourist visa. Since they denied my visa run in Cambodia I should've fly to Vietnam and get a visa there. Would that make a difference? My goal is to stay in Thailand for 1 year on a tourist visa.

The STV would have allowed you to stay almost 9 months without any border runs.

 

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Not wanting to take over the topic, but... this happened to me as well this past weekend at DMK!

I don't live or pretend to live in Thailand, but come here very often (4-6 times a year); my GF is here, I love spending time here, and I can do my academic writing from anywhere in the world, so I prefer doing it from Thailand.  Last October, I spent almost 3mo all over TH (single entry visa) because I was on sabbatical.

On Sunday at DMK, my GF and I were returning from a short trip to Hanoi.  Prior to it, I had stayed in Bkk for 3 weeks on visa exemption.  About to go back to EU/USA in a few days. 

Well, the Thai immigration would not have any of it.  They said they would deny me entry because I come to TH too often and I am not here as a tourist!  My GF tried to explain, but they insisted I was suspicious.  Looked back at my entry log since 2014 and restated: "too often."  "Not on the right visa."  "Cannot return until 2023.  Then get the right visa."

This was rather insulting to me.  I had no opportunity to explain anything.  I never overstayed my visa or visa exemption.  I spend significant funds here on accommodations (I tend to stay in Marriotts, so not cheap.)  But the officers simply wanted to throw me out.

After 30min of conversation with my GF, they let me get in this time because my onward trip is in a few days. But noted whatever they wanted to note in my entry record.  (Mainly emphasizing "no back until 2023" and "even if embassy gives you visa, we will not let you in".)

Really.  I was contemplating getting LTR anyway using Smart (which I would be eligible for) or Retirement.  But this type of treatment turns me off.  Yes, immigration officers anywhere in the world are a special sort of creatures (US and EU included.)  But Thai government states they want tourists and high spending, yet they are happy to turn me back.  Just appalling. 

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Would it make a difference if we landed at Phuket airport instead of Bangkok? Maybe the immigration officers there think differently since Phuket is a tourist destination? After landing there we can drive to Bangkok.

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9 minutes ago, Shin said:

Would it make a difference if we landed at Phuket airport instead of Bangkok? Maybe the immigration officers there think differently since Phuket is a tourist destination? After landing there we can drive to Bangkok.

you could give it a try as they might be more easy going but at the end of the day you admit you are trying to stay a year on a holiday visa so must expect to get challenged for not getting the right visa. you got away with it until now but doubt you will again if its on their computer system now. 

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48 minutes ago, Walt said:

I don't live or pretend to live in Thailand, but come here very often (4-6 times a year); my GF is here, I love spending time here, and I can do my academic writing from anywhere in the world, so I prefer doing it from Thailand.  Last October, I spent almost 3mo all over TH (single entry visa) because I was on sabbatical.

On Sunday at DMK, my GF and I were returning from a short trip to Hanoi.  Prior to it, I had stayed in Bkk for 3 weeks on visa exemption.  About to go back to EU/USA in a few days. 

Most Countries have a limit on how long you're permitted to stay in a Country on the basis of being a Tourist, which is usually 6 months in a 12-month period.

Other options are available for longer term stays.

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51 minutes ago, Walt said:

But this type of treatment turns me off.

Why?  You were not a tourist, but using tourist exempt to enter Thailand too many times. That is against immigration rules, as we all know.  They were being very reasonable with you, as you were clearly not compliant.  As I said previously, as with any country in the world, you need the correct visa to enter, even as a genuine tourist, that is what the visa exempt is for. 

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1 hour ago, Faz said:

Most Countries have a limit on how long you're permitted to stay in a Country on the basis of being a Tourist, which is usually 6 months in a 12-month period.

Other options are available for longer term stays.

That’s very correct.

However, 1) I never exceeded any maximum total number of days, like the 180 days you mentioned. 2)  there is no stipulated max stay that I could find.  Other countries have that clearly defined. Such as 180 for the US, 90 for some EU countries, etc., depending on the nationality of the traveler etc.

The point being is that TH does not have this defined and immigration officers can make up their own arbitrary rules. That’s the issue.

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1 hour ago, Pinetree said:

Why?  You were not a tourist, but using tourist exempt to enter Thailand too many times. That is against immigration rules, as we all know.  They were being very reasonable with you, as you were clearly not compliant.  As I said previously, as with any country in the world, you need the correct visa to enter, even as a genuine tourist, that is what the visa exempt is for. 


What leads you to the conclusion I was not a tourist and not compliant?  Because I visit frequently? Because I have more “free time” than a typical tourist to spend in this beautiful country?

I’m worried about arbitrary interpretations of the very vague immigration law and the lack of willingness to consider individual circumstances.  
 

Again, very typical of many immigration authorities around the world.  But I was, in the past, very impressed with Thai liberal approach that accommodated people around the world spending time in their country.  There’s no harm to hosting people who contribute to the county’s economy.  I’m not a backpacker spending close-to-zero, working illegally, and doing visa runs.

 

Anyway, it looks like the immigration may have decided to do some type of a crackdown. Just my observation.

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2 hours ago, Walt said:

The point being is that TH does not have this defined and immigration officers can make up their own arbitrary rules. That’s the issue.

Correct, unlike many other Countries, Thailand only defines the length of permitted stay by the means of entry, i.e VE 30 days, TV 60 days, or STV 90 days.
Land borders are limited to 2 entries per annum, by air it's always been at the Immigration officer's discretion.

Certain Thai Embassy websites are now issuing advice, on VE entries, such as:

Quote

Foreigners who enter Thailand under this Tourist Visa Exemption Scheme may only do so for 30 days at one time with a maximum of 3 times in a 6-month period by flight and 2 times a year for overland crossing.

Tourist Visa - Royal Thai Embassy, London

Once you've been stopped and questioned, it's time to change tact and obtain the appropriate Visa for the purpose of your visit.

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20 hours ago, Faz said:

Certain Thai Embassy websites are now issuing advice, on VE entries, such as:

Tourist Visa - Royal Thai Embassy, London

Once you've been stopped and questioned, it's time to change tact and obtain the appropriate Visa for the purpose of your visit.

... and just to add that other embassies are not mentioning any limitations, like the one in Washington DC

It really would do TH government a favor to be more explicit about whatever rules they choose to adopt.  It eliminates confusion, reduces loopholes, and makes everyone's travel less stressful.  But then, yes, this is Thailand.

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1 hour ago, Walt said:

It really would do TH government a favor to be more explicit about whatever rules they choose to adopt.  It eliminates confusion, reduces loopholes, and makes everyone's travel less stressful.  But then, yes, this is Thailand.

Heavens above, that would stamp out corruption opportunities. 🙄

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  • 1 month later...

Girlfriend, boyfriend? Doesnt really mean anything in law. You are either married or single.

Time to take the plunge ;) OR come to Thailand through another form long term visa, like education or retirement.

Edited by Netbuddy
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