Currently, visitors who come from countries on Thailand’s list of nationalities that may arrive with no visa and receive a visa on arrival can also hop out of Thailand into a neighbouring country and back, and get another 30 days. Some repeat this indefinitely.
Now, however, Immigration has announced that anyone arriving in Thailand across a land border will receive only 15 days. This will not apply to the first arrival in Thailand, whether by land or air, but will apply for subsequent arrivals by road or rail.
The number of back-to-back visa runs may also be limited.
The main aim is to discourage foreigners from staying long-term in Thailand by doing multiple back-to-back tourist visa runs.
Immigration has attempted before to discourage visa hoppers. The most recent attempt was when it was announced that no one would be able to spend more than 90 days total in Thailand on multiple visa runs. This has apparently been applied selectively, and will continue to be used this way, along with the new 15-day rule, in cases of people recognised as serial visa-hoppers.
A Phuket Immigration officer told The Phuket News they knew about the new rule, but that it is not yet being applied, and they are not sure just when it will be.