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Minor Past Overstays May Bar Future Lawful Entries to Thailand

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video would suggest, we are discussing overstay. This is a recent development but it is a theme that I have seen arising over the past 3 or 4 months; not 6 or 8 months frankly. In the past, and we have noted, there are increasingly negative penalties associated with overstaying in the Kingdom of Thailand most notably blacklisting for various durations  including effective lifetime blacklisting associated with over staying in the Kingdom especially those who overstay and commit some form of criminal act in the Kingdom and are apprehended while in overstay. 

This video really isn't about people who have been in substantial overstay. The point at which overstay results in automatic blacklisting is 90 days from the last lawful date of status in the Kingdom. Past the 90-day mark one starts facing blacklisting issues. That is not really the point of this video.

In a recent announcement made by the Thai Consulate in Penang it was noted and I quote, "Overstays: high risk of visa refusal."  Now what are we talking about? I would assume that they are talking about substantial over stayers but that being said I think that they are also talking about perhaps minor over stayers. What do I mean here? Well per the regulations as stated, day 89 does not result in an automatic blacklisting. However and as I have noted in prior videos, kind of at length, Thai Immigration Officials have fairly, I won't say unfettered but a substantial amount of discretion associated with allowing people to enter the Kingdom. The same can be said for Ministry of Foreign Affairs Officials with respect to adjudication of visa applications, so those who are sort of attempting to "walk between the raindrops" as it were, and stay 88 days in over stay, run out of the country and do a new visa run, I think that it is becoming increasingly clear that not only is that frowned upon but it could result in substantially negative consequences because those who are in a position where they are trying to reenter the country and it is clear that a prior over stay has existed, I have seen recent anecdotal evidence almost in a first-hand context, where prior over stayers, even ones that haven't overstayed by much,  and definitely haven't gone over the 90-day mark, Immigration Officers are putting heightened scrutiny on those folks and it is not unheard of to see them turned away from entry at a Port of Entry here in the Kingdom. To me it is becoming increasingly clear, at least in a regional context, that prior over stays are going to be looked askance at by definitely the Thai Consulate in Penang as they have posted as such. I suspect this is a policy that is a bit more pervasive than simply dealing with Penang. I suspect we're going to see this happening in Vientiane, Laos or Yangon, Myanmar, perhaps KL Malaysia, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: again probably any place in ASEAN you are going to see this attitude probably be coming more pervasive as time goes on. And what do I mean by more pervasive? I simply mean, okay if you did a one-day over stay that happens. I don't think in a one-off situation, especially if you can show a prolonged amount of lawful status in the Kingdom, I don't think a one-off overstay is going to really get someone in trouble especially where one can show prolonged non-immigrant status in the Kingdom as opposed to tourist visa status or something of that ilk; I don't think a one-day over stay is going to kill anybody. It is still not advisable, but I don't think it is going to destroy anybody's situation. With respect to a prolonged over stay that is clearly staying under the 90 days, Immigration officers don't particularly like people trying to be tricky, so that is not going to be viewed particularly well. Again clearly from the announcement of the Thai Consulate in Penang.

So what to take away from this video? Well don't overstay and even minor overstays which again were once just simply considered an issue of paying the fine at the airport, I think moving forward, especially where one has a history even of minor overstays, one could see oneself in a substantively negative position in a future attempt to enter the Kingdom where one has this history or one has multiple over stays where it is clear they are sort of skirting around the regulations with respect to automatic blacklisting I think it is very possible that that can have really negative side effects for folks moving forward.