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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawVisa NewsWhat's the Difference Between a Visa Run and a Border Run?

What's the Difference Between a Visa Run and a Border Run?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing “Visa Runs” and “Border Runs” while I won't sit here and pontificate that I am the arbiter of all things “Thai Immigration terminology” I did want to come make this video because I think people fundamentally misunderstand two different aspects sometimes of maintaining lawful status in Thailand. 

So people often use the term "I have got to go do a Visa Run" or "I have to do a border Run".  For the purposes of this video and I would hope down the line in the future, when people think "Visa Run" and "Border Run" I hope they think of two qualitatively different things and I will explain why. 

A "Border Run" I think should be viewed as a run to a border in order to cross out and return, presumably the same day or practically within moments of the entry and exit, in order to have a new stamp issued to maintain one's status. We might see this in the context for example of a 30 day stamp here in Thailand. One's 30 days is about to run up, they don't particularly want to extend their status and they do a "border run". In many cases people spend a couple of days, a 3-day weekend at a destination or you know they might fly to one or they might run to a land border, spend a couple of days in a country bordering Thailand for example, and then cross back in and receive a new stamp to maintain their status thereafter. That is fine. 

In the context of Thailand, border running has become far less common shall we say. It is in effect not used quite as often as it once was. The reason for that is 30-day stamps are not issued with the frequency that they once were. There was a time some 10 - 12 years ago where it was possible to simply live in Thailand maintaining one's status with the sort of infinite border run strategy. That time has come to a close. That window has closed. Immigration has changed policies with respect to issuance of 30-day stamps and the fact of it is 30-day stamps are just issued to individuals with much less frequency than they once were. That being stated a "border run" might be used in the context of a multiple entry Visa that has been issued for Thailand. For those who are unaware, there are Visas such as the multiple entry Business Visa or the multiple entry O Visa, often times based on marriage to a Thai national, wherein they are given a Visa sticker and the stickers validity will have a 1-year validity but that individual will be granted lawful status when stamped into the country for 90-day intervals at every stamping. Well presumably that individual if they wish to primarily reside in Thailand may need to do a border, either land, air, or sea, leave the Kingdom return to get their next 90 days stamp. This can be accomplished again through use of a border run. 

Now I would argue strongly in fact that a Border Run is qualitatively different from a Visa Run. A Visa Run in my opinion should be used as the term that one uses when going to an Embassy or Consulate abroad, outside of the place where they are at, in this case Thailand, to go ahead and obtain a new Visa in order to come back in and maintain their status. So, for example if one is using a multiple entry Business Visa because they do a lot of business in the region, and they simply don't really want to go through the process of extending their status here in Thailand, they want to use their multiple-entry Business Visa to use Thailand is a base. Well that multiple-entry Business Visa in this case, again the sticker validity maybe only for one year and that sticker validity may be coming to an end so a new sticker, a new visa, is going to be necessary and applying at a Thai Embassy or a Thai Consulate abroad is going to be where one needs to go ahead and lodge that application in order to go ahead and obtain a new multiple-entry Visa sticker. That is what I would argue a Visa Run is. A run to an Embassy or Consulate as opposed to simply running over a border in the case of a border run, in order to basically continue maintaining one’s status in the Kingdom. 

Again I understand this can be viewed as kind of a pedantic distinction but that being said, they are qualitatively different things and they require a different level of documentation and effort in order to achieve the goal that is being sought by the individual undertaking either a "Border Run" or "Visa Run" from the Kingdom of Thailand.