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I’ve been denied entry to Thailand – Now What?


What happens if you are being denied entry to Thailand?

The Thaiger asked Tod Daniels, visa expert at ASEAN NOW visa forum, what do do in this situation.

Tod: The first thing is DO NOT panic, many many hundreds of people per week are denied entry and it is not the end of the world OR of your time in thailand.

If you are being denied entry it does not mean you’re being “deported” (to get deported you have to be stamped IN to thailand). What they are doing is not letting you in this time.

When you are denied entry at a land border, all they do is put a denial of entry stamp in your passport and send you back to the country you just stamped out of. That country voids your exit stamp and they let you back in. Then you either fly in, go to a consulate and BUY a real tourist visa to come back OR try to “work something out” with the people at the border to get in the next day when the border opens. Most land borders have people approach you as soon as you go back to the country you just left when you’re denied. They’ll offer a way to “get you in tomorrow” for a fee. It really does work and I know people who ended up cutting a deal with those people showing up at the border at 6am the next morning and skating right in no issue.

Usually what you can’t do once you have a denial of entry stamp from one border is to go try another border because that seems to not work at all. I know peopled denied entry at one Cambo boder, slog over to another one and be told, nope you can’t cross out here, go fly back to thailand

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If you’re denied entry flying in, you’ll get pulled aside, questioned about what you’re doing coming into thailand so much on free stamp entries, told you’re being denied entry, given some story about 90 days in 180 (which is a fake rule) even shown a sheet in english stating that.

First tip – remain calm, you’re not the first person denied entry, you’re not even the first person that day. It happens, in fact it happens a LOT; especially at BKK (Suvarnabhumi), DMK (Don Mueang) and now we’re seeing more and more denials at HKT (Phuket)

Interestingly there hasn’t been a confirmed denial of entry at CNX since the country re-opened after Covid).

Second tip – DO NOT SIGN the denial of entry forms (which are usually all in thai except your name). If you don’t sign them they can’t put a denial of entry stamp in your passport. Don’t get me wrong, they will still deny you entry and it’ll be in the computer database that you were denied, but they won’t put that GIANT half page stamp in it for everyone to see everytime an officer pages thru your passport

Generally you’re sent back to the airport you just flew in from, but they can let you go to any country you can get in to. One thing to keep in mind is the officer has the right to make you go back to country of passport origin (doesn’t matter in the least if you live there or not). So if push comes to shove they can make you use a flag carrier and go back there. The flight out is your expense.

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You’ll get put into IDC holding at the airport, it is not fun, BUT it’s about 1000 times better than IDC lock up at Suan Plu in Bangkok, so be glad that’s where you are. Depending on the officer you can sometimes “pay” to have them take you around, get food, get money out of an ATM, you can still use your mobile phone, etc. You just kill time until your flight out. Usually they’ll give your passport to the steward on the flight and you’ll get it when you land.

Sadly once you’re in lock up at the airport it’s WAY too late to call a safe entry company to help you get in. That is something you have to set up BEFORE you fly in. Although believe it or not, if you contact one of them when you’re denied you can set it up so you can fly in the next day (even at the same airport) and you’ll get right in.

No matter what they tell you the reason is, 99.99% of the denial of entry by air and land all say the same time “no means of support” the thai will say ไม่มีปัจจัยยังชีพตามสมควร. That’s because it’s one of the ONLY reasons you can be denied entry. There is no “you used too many visa exempt entries by air” rule, there is no 90 in 180 rule, there is no “you stay too long in thailand” rule. Those are just b/s excuses parroted to you by the officer. they will write “no means of support” stamp on the denial of entry stamp. They will write that as the reason even if you show them the proof of funds in CASH that you can be asked for (20K baht or the equivalent), it’s just the reason they stamp in why you were denied

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Many people ask, IF I have a valid tourist visa to Thailand will I get in? The answer to that is no, a tourist visa does not guarantee you get in to thailand. It only means that if they let you in, you get in for the 60 days that visa allows. It’s your previous entry/stay history that controls you getting in free stamp or on a tourist visa, whereas if you have a new Non-Immigrant type visa you will get in no matter your entry/stay history.

I probably get 10 or more messages each week from people being denied entry at land borders or some airport here. Not much can be done once the decision is made to deny you entry, you just go thru the process and get sent back out. THEN you come up with a plan to get back in. This is one reason I tell people not to burn BOTH their free stamp land entries and to keep one in reserve because that way IF you’re denied by air, you can just fly to a border country and enter by land. That’s actually how most people who are denied by air get back in. They fly to KL, then to Penang and cross at Sadao border crossing.

More info and discussion about Denial of Entry to Thailand in our visa forum here.

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