The news follows a notice – circulated via a Line group directly linked to Phuket Immigration – plainly stating: “it is not acceptable for children under 14 years old not to have a visa. If your child is under 14 years old and has no visa, you must apply for a visa by 20th Of March 2016.
“If they get caught without a visa, they will be banned from Thailand for a minimum of 1 year,” the notice read.
Phuket Immigration Col Sunchai Chokkajaykij yesterday and today (Mar 15-16) has been unavailable for comment on the issue.
A senior-ranking officer at Phuket Immigration, who specifically asked not to be publicly identified in this report, would not confirm or deny whether the notice was issued by Phuket Immigration staff.
However, the officer did tell The Phuket News today, “The Immigration Bureau wants all foreigners to have the right documents while staying in the country and expects all foreigners and their children to have valid permits-to-stay without any exception – unlike in the past.
“The announcement that we will enforce the new overstay rules came three months ago, BUT the issue that is still being discussed is how these rules will apply to children and whether they will need a valid permit-to-stay by March 20 or be blacklisted.
“It is a very sensitive issue and covers many criteria. The Immigration Bureau will have a press conference sometime next week to announce more details on this issue,” the officer added.
Immigration Bureau chief Nathathorn Prousoontorn on Saturday (Mar 12) repeated his warning to all foreigners illegally staying in the country on “overstay’.
Under new Interior Ministry regulations, foreign travellers who overstay more than 90 days will be banned from re-entering the country for one year, he said.
People who overstay more than one year, will face a re-entry ban of three years. (See story here.)