5

A family member has contacted us from Thailand saying his visa to visit Thailand expired in April. He wishes to return to UK. He is an Irish citizen. He needs £2000.00 to help him pay fine, bills, flight etc. The fine is for an expired visa and the actual fine is 20,000 baht, approx £400. Just now checked that he got the money. He confirmed it and said that he is seeing a private visa agent tomorrow. I don't know the name of the agency.

Why does he need to do that if he is returning home? Will the agency help him sort out the fine?

  • What kind of visa was he on before? – Gagravarr Aug 13 '14 at 12:58
  • Welcome to expatriates.SE. There are great many questions to clarify what you're asking. Which agency are you talking about? What fines are you talking about? What's the country of citizenship? Visa of which country has expired in April? – Karlson Aug 13 '14 at 13:25
  • 5
    @Sarah, sorry for being paranoid. There are numerous documented cases of scams where supposedly stranded travelers are asking for help (see this article for an example. Are you sure you are talking to the family member and not a scammer? – David Segonds Aug 13 '14 at 13:28
  • Thank you for your replies. The country of citizenship is Ireland. The fine is 20,000 bahts (maximum fine). The visa for visiting Thailand expired in April. I don't know the name of the agency unfortunately. I'm paranoid too David. It's definitely my cousin. I spoke with him. Originally the plan was to receive the money, get to the local airport, report to immigration police, pay the fine, buy a ticket and return to England. Now he's saying that he has an appt with private visa agent tomorrow. Surely that means that he is looking for another visa either for re-entry or other country? – Sarah Aug 13 '14 at 16:42
  • 1
    @Sarah Unfortunately his intent is unknown to us. He can be looking to extend his visa, renew his Thai visa look for another country's visa or just come to talk as of now we have no idea. – Karlson Aug 13 '14 at 18:25
10

The only fee for overstaying in Thailand is the per-day overstay fee, which is capped at 20,000 THB. Add that to the cost of flying to the UK (around 50,000 THB tops) he should need no more than 70,000 THB, which is less than 1,400 GBP.

Once he has a ticket to leave the country, then he just needs to go to Suvarnabhumi airport and pay the overstay fee when going through immigration. He MAY get a stamp in his passport saying he is blacklisted from entering Thailand for a period of time, under new laws.

There is no visa agency to visit, there is nothing else he needs to do to leave.

It is possible that he is trying to scam you out of some money with the intention of either staying in Thailand or going somewhere else in the region.

It is also possible that he himself is being scammed by some low-life in Thailand who has told him horror stories and offered to 'help' with the process of leaving in exchange for a large sum of money. Even the 20,000 THB overstay fee represents more than a month's average salary in Thailand, so it's not uncommon for unscrupulous people to prey on foreigners in trouble (real or perceived) here.

Recent immigration changes have made the previously-common practice of staying in Thailand long-term without the correct visa very difficult, and as a result we are going to hear a lot more stories like this one as people desperate to stay here try to game the system.

My advice would be to get in contact with him, and find out the details of the story. There is much good advice on the new immigration laws, as well as the procedure for leaving the country when on overstay on thaivisa.com, a site with which I am not affiliated in any way, but which contains useful information (as well as the usual nutters that hang out on forums).

  • 4
    NOTE: If one is caught in Thailand overstaying (i.e. not at the airport in a queue to leave), the penalty is MUCH worse, including a stay in the Immigration police cells (which is apparently extremely unpleasant) and then deportation and blacklisting for a much longer period of time – Scott Earle Aug 14 '14 at 6:35
1

2k pounds is not too bad. Remember, the person has to eat and stay somewhere as well and prepare themselves to leave. I don't know other parts of the circumstances, such as if there are unpaid medical bills or a dependent involved. What will he do once he is back in his home country? Needs some cash for that also. Of course today 2k pounds is worth about 20-30% less than it was 2 years ago thanks to Brexit.

Indeed you can handle an overstay yourself. Never go to a land border. Go to an international airport with a ticket in hand and arrive about 3-4 hours prior to departure. You do need the 500 THB/day (20,000 THB maximum) cash in hand when you go through departure immigration. The immigration officer will steer you to the overstay room where you pay a fine, get a stamp, and be on your way to the terminal to await your flight. But with the new Good Guys In, Bad Guys Out program....casual overstaying >90 days is now subject to blacklisting.

In the past, you could overstay for years [sic] and just show up at airport with 20k baht and be on your way. You could literally come back into Thailand the same or next day. But now if you turn yourself in at an airport 'border' you get blacklisted for:

>90 days overstay = 1 year blacklist
>1 year overstay = 3 years blacklist
>3 years overstay = 5 years blacklist

>5 years overstay = 10 years blacklist

If you get caught out casually and they find out you are on overstay, it is more severe:

\<1 year overstay = 5 years blacklist
>1 year overstay = 10 years blacklist

A lawyer can help, but really it would only be necessary if you wish to avoid the blacklisting. A Thai judge can actually reduce the overstay fine and remove some or all of the blacklisting time that you have accumulated. But it is not guaranteed...you are rolling the dice. It would probably be better to leave first, then retain a legit thai lawyer once abroad that will then work to reduce your 'blacklist' sentence.

This was all writing on the wall anyway. Did visitors really think that a country trying to develop itself and trade with other developed countries could just openly allow unlimited overstay without any serious penalty? And even those who were barely legal with unlimited Visa Exempt stamps....it was good while it lasted. But that loophole has tightened as well over the last 3 years or so. You can still come to thailand easily on a Visa Exempt or Tourist Visa. But to stay long term, you have to think long term (visiting family, retirement, business, certain educational goals, or save up for the Elite Visa).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.