Social media in countries bordering Thailand have been flooded with comments and queries after a notice on changes to Thailand’s visa laws was quietly released on the internet. This new Ministerial Regulation of the Thai Ministry of the Interior advises an update on immigration at land borders. According to the notice, immigration checkpoints at land border crossings in Thailand will restrict entry for foreigners who enter under the popular Tourist Visa Exemption Scheme to only two visits per calendar year. The new law is scheduled to enter into force from December 31, 2016.
The Laotian Times contacted the Thai Consulate in Vientiane and was informed that although the consulate is aware of the document, it has not yet received official information from its headquarters in Bangkok.
Thai Visa Restrictions May Cause Difficulties for Foreigners in Laos
The new Thai visa restriction could create difficulties for many foreigners living in countries neighbouring Thailand, who rely on medical and commercial services across the border. An economic impact may also be felt in small border towns such as Nong Khai, which sees a huge influx of traffic each day.
6-Month Thai Visas Now Available
The Thai consulate suggests that foreigners living in Laos who hold a valid Lao work visa may apply for a six-month, multiple entry tourist visa for Thailand, which is valued at around 5,000 baht.
The new restriction will likely not affect Lao citizens, who do not currently require a visa for entry into Thailand.