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.

 

55 thoughts on “Denial of Entry into Thailand”

  1. Hi I have a question I have a tear in one of my pages of my passport, I been travelling on it for 1.5 years, other countries say its not important I went to Phuket just recently and they complained my passport damaged, but they did let me in the supervisor stated if I come back there she can’t let me in again on my current passport

    i must travel urgently to Bangkok and cannot get new passport in time, what are your thoughts.

    1. Thailand is known for being pretty tough on damaged passports. Assuming Phuket immigration didn’t stamp your passport to say you need to replace it, you shouldn’t have a major problem entering again. If they did stamp it then you’d probably be refused entry.

      So be prepared to be questioned about it and have a good reason why you haven’t had time to get a replacement passport ready.

  2. Hello. I applied for NonB visa at Royal Embassy in Penang today May 14, 2024 but was told that it will take two weeks of processing before it to be released. That was my second time going to Malaysia and second time coming back to Thailand. I will go back to Malaysia on May 26, 2024 to get my NonB and will enter Thailand for the third time. Will there be any problem for me or will I be denied of entry by the Thai border in Sadao? Thank you for the response.

    1. Assuming you get your Non Imm B visa and enter Thailand using it there shouldn’t be any issues.

      The limitation on two entries overland is only applicable if you don’t have a visa and are getting a 30 day visa exemption stamp.

  3. Hello. I am a Swedish citizen. I ve already been in Thailand 2 times already. Do i need a visa for the third time in the same calender year Or should i take the leap of faith with immigration officer at the border enterence ? Thank you

    1. There is a limit of two visa exemption entries into Thailand by land border per year. But no limit on entering by plane. Although if immigration staff suspect you are using visa exemptions to live in Thailand then you will be advised to get the correct visa next time you enter.

  4. My prior employer forgot to revoke my working visa (Non-B) before I departed Bangkok in early 2024. While I contacted to my previous company, they said they cannot help me to cancel working visa on my passport since they have already cancelled working permit so they dont have any documents to cancel it.
    Now, there is no cancelled stamp on my passport, therefore I wonder whether they enable me to fly to Thailand as a tourist because my country does not require a tourist visa to travel to Thailand, where I can stay for up to 30 days

  5. Hi, I am travelling from pakistan to Thailand on the 24th April and have a return ticket confirmed, my British passport expires on the 5th August 2024, will I be denied entry. My trip is literally 10 day.

    1. You should first check with your airline as they may well refuse to allow you to fly with less than 6 months validity. If they permit you, then you should be allowed entry you arrive in Thailand. Thailand rarely enforces the 6 month validity rule, especially for people entering on Visa Exemption for a short holiday.

      Most airlines will use the IATA site for information regarding eligibility to travel and travel requirements to various countries. See: https://www.iatatravelcentre.com/TH-Thailand-passport-visa-health-travel-document-requirements.htm

  6. Hi: I plan to retire soon, spending roughly 3 months in the USA, and three months in SE Asia, bouncing back and forth every 3 months. For starters I plan to get an easy long term visa from the Philippines or Cambodia. Thus, my question: will I be able to do <60 day stays in Thailand, twice a year, via the regular tourist visa, at 6 month intervals?

    1. There’s no reason you can’t do this. A lot of retirees spend a few months each year in Thailand and return every year.

  7. Hello, I am flying from Finland to Bangkok for 2 weeks. Does my passport validity have to be at least 6 months or is it enough it is valid for the length of stay?

      1. sy pernah kethailan tgl 26 Juni 2022 dan pas turun dr pesawat sblm lewat imigrasi kami ditanya petugas dan gara2travel yg bawa sy TDK bisa membuktikan akomodasi hotel dll akhirnya kami di inapkan semalam lalu dipulangkan rencana tgl 15 mei 2024sy mau kethailand kira2 bakal bisa masuk atau tdk ya

        1. If you can prove you are a genuine tourist then you shouldn’t have any problem. You will need a confirmed hotel booking, return flight home and proof of funds. But there is no guarantee of entry, it is up to the office on duty to decide to allow you to enter or not.

  8. Hi. I am a Philippine passport holder. I worked in Thailand last 2018. I had a valid work permit. I went home in the Philippines and was not able to cancel my work permit. Now, my family is planning on visiting Thailand, will I have a problem entering the country, or will they fine me for not cancelling my permit 5 years ago?

    1. It is your employers responsibility to cancel your Work Permit. Once they have done that you should have gone to Immigration to cancel your visa. But in reality as you will have left Thailand before your visa expired you shouldnt have any problem returning for a holiday. You were working here legally and haven’t overstayed.

  9. Hi, I was denied to enter Thailand wayback 2019 (land border from Malaysia) due to not having a return ticket (by bus). I’m just planning to have a day tour that day, unfortunately the immigration officer denied it. how long will it be on their system? thanks

    1. The system shows details of all your previous entries / attempted entries into Thailand. There isn’t a cut off date.

      1. what will be the effect if I plan to visit again but this time with complete ticket and hotel accomodation. thank you

        1. You shouldn’t have any problems if you can show you are here as a genuine tourist, with return ticket, hotel booking and funds to support yourself.

  10. Hi,

    I am an Australian citizen here accompanying my elderly father for cancer treatment in Bangkok. This question is about my visa, not my fathers. I arrived Bkk on the 30 day visa exemption and then got a further 30 days extension arranged by the hospital.

    Question 1. can I get a second 30 day extension as my fathers treatment is being prolonged?

    Question 2. How many times can I use the 30 day visa exemption in a calendar year given the above information?

    Question 3. Is it possible or acceptable to use back-to-back 30 day visa exemption (for example, I will exit Thailand after this second extension expires to go to my home in Australia for some work and then come back again in maybe 2 weeks to join my fathers continued traetment in Bkk.

    Thank you for your help.

    1. The 30 day exemption can only be extended once before you have to leave the country.

      You won’t have any problem leaving and then returning almost immediately and doing the same thing. There is a limit of 2 visa exemptions per year for people crossing at land borders. By air, there’s no written rule. But that doesn’t mean you can fly in every couple of months for as long as you like.

      You will get stopped by Immigration and told to get the correct visa, which would be a Non Immigrant I visa based on supporting someone who is receiving medical treatment here.

      If your father is expected to remain in hospital for a long period then it’s best to ask the hospital staff who deal with Immigration to get details of how you can apply for the Non Immigrant visa.

      If the treatment is relatively short term, another couple of months, then you’d be OK doing the same as you have done now.

  11. Hi! I have been working in Thailand since December and now my work contract has come to an end and the work permit is no longer in use as of next week. The most recent stamp in my passport states that I am allowed to stay in the country until 13th of June though. I am going out of the country next week to travel to Vietnam but then I will return to Thailand in may – do I need to apply for a re entry or will my other visa just be cancelled and I can get in on a 30 day tourist stay? Kind regards Emilia

    1. Your visa is linked to your Work permit. When your WP is cancelled or expires your employer must also contact immigration to tell them. You then have 7 days from the expiration of the WP / visa to either get another visa that allows you to stay in the country or leave the country. So, when you re-enter from Vietnam you can get a 30 day visa exemption stamp.

  12. Hi, I as Under Visa Exemption scheme, I went to Thailand first time that is last year in November and came back, now after 5 months I want to go again under Visa Exemption, will my entry get denied?

    1. There’s no reason you would be denied, as many tourists visit Thailand more than once or twice a year.

      There is a limit on only two entries by a land border with a Visa Exemption in a calendar year. But by air there’s no official limit.

      1. hello I have question could you plz provide help I got deportation stamp in my passpoort from indonesia from 2020 i overstayed 44 days is that an issue entering thailand next week??

        thank you

        1. It will be up to the Immigration officer on duty. You might be asked to show that you have confirmed hotel booking, funds to support yourself and a return ticket – which are the requirements for visiting Thailand as a tourist.

  13. I had to leave my job in Thailand last year and my work permit was cancelled. I want to go back for a month’s holiday soon. Do you think there would be any issue getting a one month visa on arrival? I’m a UK citizen. Thank you.

  14. Hi

    I am planning to travel to Thailand with family as tourists for a week via flight into Phuket.
    Travel from India is currently Visa exempt.
    I have a 20yr old conviction for assault from the US.
    Will I get barred or have trouble entering

    1. You wont have any problems. Thai Immigration would only stop you if there was an international warrant for your arrest / apprehension. Which wont be the case for a minor 20 year old charge.

  15. Hello,I was in Bankkok till 14th jan 2024 and I stayed for 3months including 30days extension,, I’m now in Laos and I’m planning to get another tourist visa to enter Thailand, my question is ,will there be a problem with my entry at the immigration as in to why I extended my previous visa,and should I enter by border or airport…??

    1. You shouldn’t have any problem entering overland or by air if you have a Tourist Visa and are a genuine tourist. ( Meaning you don’t have a history of using Visa exemptions, for example, or other tourist visas to stay longterm in Thailand in the last year or two.)

      There is a limit of two land entries overland per year, but that is for people using a Visa Exemption, not if you have a Tourist Visa.

  16. Thanks for the post. The last time I entered Thailand was with a 60 day Tourist Visa in August 2023. Despite having the visa, I was pulled out of line at immigration and questioned for over an hour. The agents were very hostile and almost didn’t let me in. I asked what rule I broke so I know not to do it again, but they wouldn’t tell me. (It must be because I had spent too much time in Thailand on multiple tourist waivers, but they wouldn’t tell me what the time limit was per year).

    When I finally got through immigration I tried asking when it was okay to return again next time, and they didn’t tell me.

    So, 2 questions.

    I plan to return again in May 2024. This would be ~6 months since I left in November 2023. I plan to get a 60 day Tourist Visa in advance + extend for 30 more days there, like I did last time.

    1. Do you think in this circumstance they would deny me entry?
    2. Much more important to me, what happens when you get denied entry to your passport? I often visit e.g. Japan which asks on their slip if you’ve ever been denied entry to a country before.. so I would need to check Yes to that if Thailand denies me? I’m really worried that being denied entry to Thailand will hurt my ability to enter other countries in the future.

    Thanks so much for your help!
    Bryan

    1. Assuming you can show the required funds, hotel booking and return ticket you should be OK. But it is always at the discretion of the officer on duty. Entry isn’t a guaranteed right for any foreign visitor.

      If you get denied entry there will be a stamp in Thai language in your passport.

  17. Hello,

    I was removed from Thailand a few months ago because the U.S. sent a notification about me being imprisoned almost 20 years ago. I have been to Thailand multiple times since then and now they want to deny me entry. I noticed that they did not stamp my passport with any denial stamps. I am wanting to know if there is an issue with me doing a border crossing instead?

    1. Entry into Thailand is at the discretion of the officer on duty. It isn’t automatic. They may feel that your past record indicates that you aren’t a desirable type of person to allow into the country, based on your prison record, or that you may be trying to live here without the correct visa.

  18. Hi I am from europe and I am wondering, Can you extend your visa exemption for another 30 days? going to immigration two times?

  19. Hello and thank you for this article. It was very helpful.

    I have been to Thailand several times over the past two years and last year had a multiple entry tourist visa. (I’m a US citizen.) I did not extend during any of of my stay periods (usually about 45-50 days) and overall I stayed just over 5 months. I’m currently in Penang and considering a single entry tourist visa to enter again for about 50 days and then later this year another multiple entry visa.

    These aren’t back to back, but they would be visas with two or three months in between. Do you see that as an issue? If so, how much time outside the country is advisable before trying to reenter on a visa?

    Lastly, on a travel website they suggest that the Penang consulate does not issue visas to anybody who’s had a tourist visa in the last 12 months. I’ve never heard of that anywhere before. Does that sound accurate to you?

    1. Penang is known for being a tough consulate. It is much easier to get visas in Laos for example.

      Entering Thailand on Tourist visas a couple of months apart shouldn’t be an issue. A lot of people do that.

      But the more times you enter in a short period of time the more likely you are to be questioned on arrival by the Immigration officer. As it might appear you are using tourist visas or Visa exemptions to live in Thailand.

  20. Hello, simple question. How many times a year can a tourist enter Thailand by air on the visa exemption assuming each stay is less than 30 days.

    1. There isn’t an official limit.

      However if immigration officers suspect you aren’t a genuine tourist and you are using 30 day visa exemptions for the purpose of living or working in Thailand then you could be denied entry.

      So if you are planning on staying long term you should apply for the appropriate visa.

      1. Hello, I am planning a trip to Thailand soon, arriving by air on a British Passport and with a 60 days Single Entry Tourist Visa. I then plan to do some backpacking into Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia. My question is, will I then be able to re-enter Thailand with a 30 day Visa on Arrival before eventually continuing on to Malaysia? Please let me know. thank you.

        1. There’s no reason why you can’t do that. You don’t have to get a Visa on Arrival with a British passport. You’ll automatically get a 30 day Visa exemption stamp when you cross the border.

          1. I am reading on the internet and am a bit confused. On the visa exemption, do we get 15 or 30 days when we cross by land?

            Thanks

          2. Many years ago the visa exemption for crossing at a land border was 15 days. It is now 30.

            Full details of visa requirements for all nationalities are on this PDF from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

  21. Hi, good evening. I have a question regarding visa. I am Philippine passport holder and on Visa exempt when going Thailand. i was there from June 12, 2023 to December 9, 2023 with 2 exits by air and 3 extensions. Is the 180 days rule per year still applies for foreigners or can I come back to thailand in January?

    if 180 days rule per calendar year still applies, means I can come back soon when the calendar year (january to december) starts?

    1. Entry is always at the discretion of the immigration officer on duty. If they suspect you are working in Thailand illegally then you will be asked to show proof you are a genuine tourist.

  22. Good afternoon. I am Colombian and this week I will process my tourist visa to enter Thailand in the Savannaketh consulate in Laos. I have all the documents ready to be presented. But my question is, can I enter Thailand through the Ubbon Ratchathani border? In other words, it is correct if I present my bus tickets to enter the country from Laos through said border. I already have a plane ticket to leave the country, but the truth is that I would love to enter by land and enjoy the train trip to Bangkok. I was attentive to your response, thank you very much.

    1. When you are in Thailand you can choose to take the bus or train to Bangkok. That is up to you. No one will check how you decide to travel.

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