Overstaying – What It Is, and How to Avoid It

The issue of overstaying has become popular lately because of the new rules that have been recently passed by Thai authorities on the offense. Under the new rules, one can find himself or herself banned from the Kingdom for overstaying. The longer you overstay in the country, the longer the ban on you from entering Thailand once again.

If you find yourself regularly coming to Thailand, whether for leisure or business purposes, then it is a good idea to educate yourself about overstaying. You might not be doing it, but you could make a mistake that could find you overdoing your welcome in the Kingdom. As the penalties are severe, it’s best to understand what overstaying is and what you can do to avoid consequences.

What is Overstaying?

The name is actually self-explanatory. You commit this act when you stay beyond the time allowed by your visa to you. In the case of multiple re-entry visas, you don’t leave the country on the date that your visa requires you to in order to get an exit stamp on your passport. If you’ve been required to leave, say, on the 15th of a certain month, but you decide to stay for a little bit then you’re overstaying.

Why do people overstay in Thailand? The circumstances vary from person to person, and the reasons are different in every situation. However, that doesn’t change the fact that you will still face serious consequences especially when the new penalties are enforced beginning March this year.

How to Avoid Overstaying

Ignorance of the law is never an excuse. It’s your obligation as a tourist to abide by the rules and regulations that the government has imposed on your stay or visit to the Kingdom of Thailand. Here are ways that you can avoid overstaying:

• Leave on or before the date on your visa

It’s best to plan your holidays or business trips in a manner that will let you leave earlier than you are required to. If you’re required to leave on the 15th, why not try to leave on the 14th if possible? Unless you have serious business to attend to, one day will not matter at all.

• Go through the requisite steps to extend your visa

Circumstances could require you to stay longer than what’s allowed, for whatever reason. The Kingdom’s government recognizes that, and actually gives you an avenue to gain permission to stay longer in Thailand. Visit the immigration office and obtain an extension to your visa, and you should be fine. You’ll have to pay some fees, of course.

Getting your visa extended is never a difficult process. The penalties that await you are even more difficult than getting in line to pay for a visa extension.

If you’re currently in Thailand and you’ve overstayed, whether intentionally or unintentionally, contact immigration officials to settle the issue. As the new penalties are not yet enforced, you could only expect to pay at most THB20,000, depending on how long you’ve exceeded your allowed number of days to stay in the Kingdom.

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