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.