Denial of Entry into Thailand

Common Reasons for Being Denied Entry into Thailand and How to Avoid Them

It is generally accepted that tourists are allowed to enter Thailand providing they meet three requirements.  That is to say they possess:

– A return ticket

– A confirmed hotel booking

– The required 10,000 Baht funds per person ( 20,000 Baht per family) in cash

In reality the vast majority of visitors to the Kingdom aren’t asked to provide these when they enter the country.  They are stamped into Thailand and enjoy their vacation.

But anyone who has a history of staying longterm on Tourist visas or Visa exempt entries or who appears in some way suspicious to the immigration officer on duty may be asked to provide them.

Failure to do some can result in being denied entry into Thailand.

During covid, when travel restrictions were in place, many people took advantage of the Thai government’s relaxing of the rules and allowing foreigners to stay longterm and extend their visas without having to leave the country.

However, those days are over.  As of late 2023 anyone with a history of using or abusing incorrect visas (i.e. Exemption of Stay, Tourist Visas, Volunteer / Education)  in order to stay longer than is generally permitted is facing more scrutiny.

This is especially true for those entering Thailand at Suvarnabhumi or Don Mueang airports.

What Happens When You are Denied Entry?

If this happens to you, firstly realise that you are not being deported from Thailand. You are being denied entry.  ( In order to be deported you first have to be allowed to enter.)

When you’re denied entry the Immigration officer has the choice to do one of three things. They can:

1 – Send you back to where you just flew in from
2 – Send you back to any country you can buy a ticket for
3 – Send you back to the country of passport origin.

1 and 2 are by far the most common.

Denied at an Airport

If you are denied entry then it is your responsibility to pay for your ticket to another country.
You will be taken to a holding cell at the airport where  you will stay until you have arranged your flight out.  There’s wifi and the staff can order food for you (at your expense)

Denied at a Land Border

If you’re denied entry at a land border, they just turn you around and send you back from where you just left. The country you just left cancels your exit stamp and you get back in there.

The Reason For Denial

Almost every case of denial of entry (no matter what they tell you the reason is) will get the same reason code in the passport for why you were denied.

This is Immigration Act Clause 12 subsection 2 – ไม่มีปัจจัยยังชีพตามสมควร = no reasonable means of sustenance

This is regardless of whether you can show proof of funds.

There is also a rule regarding the number of visa exempt entries overland.  It is limited to two per calendar year.

Therefore if you try to enter three times overland you may be refused and have a stamp quoting Immigration act clause 12, subsection 1 – ไม่มีวีซ่าเข้าประเทศ = no visa to enter Thailand plus the border crossing you were denied at.

What to do After Being Refused Entry?

Almost everyone denied entry just tries to enter again, either at another border, another airport, some get tourist visas from Thai consulates and enter by land, and most people will find a way to legally get in.

If in doubt get a Tourist Visa from a Thai consulate or Embassy.

Full List of Reasons for Denying Entry

The 1979 Immigration Act states eleven reasons why someone might be refused entry into Thailand. The first wo are those mentioned above:

(1) Having no genuine valid passport or document used in lieu of passport; or having a genuine valid passport or document used in lieu of passport
without valid visa issuance by the Royal Thai Embassies, the Royal Thai Consulates-General or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with exception of those
who meet visa exemption requirements. The terms and conditions of visa issuance and visa exemption are prescribed by the Ministerial Regulations.

(2) Having no appropriate means of living following entry into the Kingdom.

(3) Having entered the Kingdom to be employed as an unskilled or untrained labourer, or to work in violation of the Alien Work Permit Law.

4) Being mentally unstable or having any of the diseases stated in the Ministerial Regulations.

5) Having not yet been vaccinated against smallpox; or inoculated, or undergone any other medical treatment for protection against disease; and
having refused to have such vaccinations administered by the Immigration Doctor.

6) Having been imprisoned by judgment of the Thai Court; or by lawful injunction or judgment of the Court of a foreign country, except for when
the penalty is for a petty offence, or negligence, or is provided for as an exception by the Ministerial Regulations.

7) Having behaviour which could cause possible danger to the public; or having the likelihood of being a nuisance or constituting any violence to the
peace, safety and security of the public or to the security of the nation; or being under warrant of arrest by competent officials of foreign governments.

8) Reason to believe that entry into Kingdom is for the purpose of being involved in prostitution, the trafficking of women or children, drug
smuggling, or other types of smuggling which are against public morality.

9) Having no money or bond as prescribed by the Minister under Section 14 of the Immigration Act B.E. 2522 (1979).

(10) Being a person prohibited by the Minister under Section 16 of the Immigration Act B.E. 2522 (1979).

(11) Being deported by either the Government of Thailand or that of other foreign countries; or having been revoked the right of stay in the
Kingdom or in foreign countries; or having been expelled from the Kingdom by competent officials at the expense of the Government of Thailand
unless exemption is provided by the Minister on an individual basis.


Advice on Thailand Visa Overstay Regulations

  1. Thailand Immigration overstay rules

Overstaying your visa is illegal.  If you overstay for a short period you will have to pay a fine.  However,  if you overstay for more than 90 days then it is a serious offence and the result will be you are deported from Thailand and banned from visiting again.  The length of the ban depends on how long you have overstayed your visa.

If you are caught overstaying by an Immigration officer, then it can result in being taken to jail if you are not able to pay the fine or have a long overstay.

From 20th March 2016, if you are caught overstaying by even one day, you will face a ban from re-entering Thailand of five years. If you have overstayed by more than one year, you will face a ban of ten years.

If you have a very long overstay and turn yourself in to the authorities you will have to go before a judge in court. The overstay fine is usually waived and in it’s place a smaller fine imposed.   You will then be held in the IDC ( Immigration Detention Center ) until you can arrange for a ticket on a direct flight back to your own country.  You will then have to pay a small fee to the immigration officers to take you to the airport and accompany you through Immigration, where you will get the blacklist stamp in your passport, and to the gate.  Your passport will be given to a steward on the flight and they will return it to you when you land in your home country.

How much is the fine for overstaying?

The fine depends on the number of days you have overstayed. The minimum charge is 500 Baht per day.  This goes to a maximum of 20,000 Baht for overstays of 40 days or longer.

The good news is that if your overstay is under 90 days and you  pay the fine  then leave the country then you won’t have any problem returning to Thailand at a future date.  There won’t be any black mark next to your name.

What is overstaying?

Overstaying is when someone resides in Thailand for a period exceeding the length of time they are permitted to do so by their visa or entry stamp.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you do not overstay.

However, the Thai Immigration officials realise that sometimes people make mistakes and book a flight a day too late or their plans change, a flight is cancelled and they have to leave a day late.  In cases such as these, with a few hours overstay, the 500 Baht overstay fine is usually waived.

If you are in a situation like this, don’t panic.  Just explain to the immigration officer when you are being stamped out of the county.  Apologise and you will be treated fairly.

If you have a longer overstay, for example, 1 week, then you will be required to pay this ( 7 days x 500 Baht = 3,500 Baht )  before you can leave the country.  It is easiest to pay when you fly out.  Again, explain the reason to the immigration office at the airport, then you will be taken to a nearby counter when you can pay the overstay fine.  Please ensure that you have enough funds to cover this. If not, then you may be taken to the holding cells until you can raise funds.

Children under the age of 15 are not charged a fine for overstaying but still get overstay stamps when they leave the country. Being exempt from the fine does not make them exempt from needing a valid visa entry or extension to stay in the country.

Consequences of overstaying your Thai visa

Please note that repeated violations of overstaying can hold serious consequences. In the event that you have had a few overstays, your passport could be stamped with a stamp declaring you in violation of the immigration laws and regulations of Thailand.

This stamp will label you as an “undesirable alien”, which could make travel and obtaining entry to other countries much harder than it should be.

Where is the Immigration Detention Centre?

The IDC is located in central Bangkok at the Immigration Office on Soi Suanplu, Bangkok.  This is where anyone who has been arrested for overstaying will be held prior to attending court and then whilst waiting for their flight back home to be arranged.

You can call on: 02 213 2369 but it is better to go in person.  Go to Building 5 at the IDC.  You will need the overstayer’s details: Name, nationality, age, arrest date and location.