Q & A from the TAT about reports that some tourists were refused entry to Thailand

There was a story in The Nation newspaper the other day about some tourists being refused entry to Thailand as they didn't have sufficient money to fund their stay. To be clear, this doesn't really affect genuine tourists who come just for a few weeks holidays. In my opinion, Immigration are cracking down on people who are pretending to be tourists while really working or doing some other illegal activity. These people come and go very often and their passports are full of entry stamps. But, you should be aware that by law, the Immigration official can ask you to show proof of funds if he or she is suspicious. The following is a Q & A on this topic prepared by the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

UPDATE: I've updated this blog by adding Q5 to the end

Q1: Is it true that tourists entering Thailand must be able to prove that they have adequate finances during the stay as currently being widely reported in local and international media?

Yes, this is true, according to the Immigration Act of Thailand B.E. 2522 (1979), foreigners who fall into any of the 11 categories are prohibited to enter Thailand. This includes “having no appropriate means of living following entry into the Kingdom,” which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has clarified that tourists entering Thailand must make sure that they are in possession of a passport valid for at least six months, and a round-trip air ticket.

In addition, holders of tourist visa must be able to prove that they have adequate finances equivalent to at least 20,000 Baht per person or 40,000 Baht per family. For on-arrival-visa tourists, they must be able to prove that they have adequate finances equivalent to at least 10,000 Baht per person or 20,000 Baht per family.

Q2: Why did the news about this inspection of tourists’ financial status by Thai Immigration Officers only emerge now?

Thai Immigration Officers normally conduct random inspection of tourists’ means of living upon arrival at all ports of entry. If tourists are not able to prove that they have adequate finances, the officers will then consider case-by-case whether to allow the entry. The random inspection will not take place after the tourists have been granted an entry and have passed through the Immigration checkpoints.

Q3: What would be considered appropriate preparation for tourists planning to visit Thailand?

Generally, a foreign citizen who wishes to enter the Kingdom of Thailand is required to obtain a visa from a Royal Thai Embassy or a Royal Thai Consulate-General.

But nationals of 42 countries (to see list, visit: www.mfa.go.th) are eligibleto travel to Thailand, for tourism purpose, with the exemption of visa and are permitted to stay in the Kingdom for a period of not exceeding 30 days.

In addition, Thailand has granted temporarily visa fee waiver and reduction for visas on arrival for tourists from 21 countries until 31 August, 2017. This will mean that travellers applying for tourist visas at Royal Thai Embassies or Thai Consulates abroad will not have to pay any fees for entry visas, while the fees for visas on arrival have been reduced from 2,000 Baht to 1,000 Baht per person. (To read more visit: www.tatnews.org, search for “Thailand extends visa fee waiver scheme for tourists from 21 countries”)

Tourists must also make sure that they are in possession of a passport valid for at least six months, a round-trip air ticket. Holders of tourist visa must be able to prove that they have adequate finances equivalent to at least 20,000 Baht per person or 40,000 Baht per family. For on-arrival-visa tourists, they must be able to prove that they have adequate finances equivalent to at least 10,000 Baht per person or 20,000 Baht per family.

For more information on Thailand Visa, visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website at www.mfa.go.th

Q4: Why Thailand, which is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, should be too strict on tourists wanting to enter the country to enjoy the many unique tourism experiences?

Thailand, as many other world’s popular tourist destinations, is facing the problem of overstay foreign visitors. Therefore, from 20 March, 2016, Thailand has imposed a strict re-entry ban on foreign visitors who overstayed in the kingdom, according the Order of Minister of Interior, No. 1/2558, Subject ‘Classes of Aliens Ineligible for Admission to the Kingdom of Thailand.’The Order cited that a number of aliens, or foreign visitors, who have temporary permission to stay in Thailand have overstayed beyond their permitted date, thus placing the safety of people and national’s security at risk. (To read more, visit: www.tatnews.org, search for “Thailand to reinforce re-entry ban on overstay foreign visitors”)

Thailand recognises the huge importance of tourism, and tourist safety is an on-going priority for us.The government will implement whatever measures necessary to ensure Thailand’s reputation for hospitality and safety for all.

Q5: "These days, people don't like to carry so much cash around with them. They prefer to pay with plastic like debit or credit cards. Does Thai Immigration insist on seeing cash or will plastic cards do?"

This random inspection only aims at tourists who may appear as not being able to cover their travel expenses during their stay in Thailand. Thai Immigration will take into consideration all possible facts or information provided by the tourists before making an informed decision whether to grant an entry.

14 thoughts on “Q & A from the TAT about reports that some tourists were refused entry to Thailand

  • July 20, 2017 at 12:23 pm
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    The most important question was never asked though…

    In the age of digital banking, debit and credit cards and the threat of pickpockets on international flights,
    why are people only allowed to show CASH, with according to reports not being allowed to withdraw the funds from an ATM?

    Reply
    • July 22, 2017 at 1:35 pm
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      There are no ATM’s in arrivals before going through Immigration channels, so debit, credit cards are useless in this situation.
      Cash must therefore be carried in transit.
      It doesn’t have to be THB, any currency is accepted.

      Reply
  • July 20, 2017 at 12:50 pm
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    The Immigration Officers sometimes insist on seeing the money IN CASH, and not in the form of Debit/Credit Cards, or combination of part cash and part cards. Carrying so much cash on one’s person is an inconvenience and carries a risk of losing all of it in a robbery.

    Reply
  • July 20, 2017 at 1:12 pm
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    20000 baht wouldn’t last a few days never mind a month or more so it’s just another inconvenience
    Nobody wants to come here now so it’s time to look after tourist like the Neighbours hard times ahead for Thailand

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    • July 21, 2017 at 1:02 pm
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      The funny thing is, for a genuine tourist, 20000 baht would last less than a week, but for a long-stay person in a rented apartment who knows where to get a 40 baht meal, 20,000 baht can last a month.

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      • July 22, 2017 at 3:44 am
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        I have been to Thailand countless times as a genuine tourist and 20,000 can last me a month. What you define as a genuine tourist is actually a big-spending tourist, and not all genuine tourists are here to splash their cash.

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  • July 20, 2017 at 5:18 pm
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    “In addition, holders of tourist visa must be able to prove that they have adequate finances equivalent to at least 20,000 Baht per person or 40,000 Baht per family. For on-arrival-visa tourists, they must be able to prove that they have adequate finances equivalent to at least 10,000 Baht per person or 20,000 Baht per family.”
    So why are some people, according to reports, being required to show cash when they have reasonable proof of “adequate finances”?

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  • July 20, 2017 at 11:25 pm
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    It’s a total Thai cock up again, by the sound of it , som nam na TIT.

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  • July 21, 2017 at 8:50 am
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    Is anyone the wiser after reading the answers? Especially Q5, all waffle ,no clear answer.

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    • July 21, 2017 at 8:52 am
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      Well, it’s not really the TAT’s responsibility. It’s basically a stop gap while we wait for Immigration to release a statement. But don’t hold your breath.

      Reply
  • July 21, 2017 at 8:38 pm
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    Interesting point about the Return airline ticket requirement – i have entered Thailand many times on only a one-way ticket with no problem – haven’t ever been asked about it. But then again, i have only ever entered with a Non-Immigrant Cat ‘O’ 1-year visa, not as a Tourist. This also connects with the old assumption that the airlines themselves won’t let you fly with a one-way ticket to Thailand for fear that they would have to bear the cost of a return flight if one was thrown out of LoS – never had a problem. [Completely agree with Charlie to Dean – 20,000 goes a long way for an experienced long-stayer especially up in Isaan !]

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    • July 22, 2017 at 1:12 am
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      Buy a Returnticket in Germany its allmost cheaper than anOneway and you wont have any problem.

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  • July 22, 2017 at 8:57 am
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    Seriously if you can’t afford to have that much CASH on you then you shouldn’t be there on holiday. Okay you may have it in plastic so then make sure you convert that to CASH before you go through immmigration, for those of you worrying about pickpockets then put your money somewhere safer.
    It’s a law of entry to Thailand if they choose to enforce it is up to them… be prepared to comply with it or not it’s your choice… but why have a whinge about it

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  • August 18, 2017 at 1:09 pm
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    Could not agree with you more. ITS THE LAW OF THE COUNTRY ! ! We ‘should’ all know that before entering.
    OK 20k seems a lot of cash to have in your pocket at one time, but considering the alternative of been refused entry, it’s not worth whinging about. 99% of the time you are never asked to show, BUT you could be that 1%

    Reply

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