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Thailand Immigration & Custom Regulations

Immigration control Suvarnabhumi International Airport Bangkok

Before, arrival in Thailand by air you will be given an immigration card with two parts for recording your arrival and departure. You are required to fill in both parts. If entering by air you are usually given this card before landing and are advised to complete it on the plane. You are also given the same card at the border if entering overland by train, bus or car. The arrival part will be retained by immigration and the departure section will be attached to your passport and checked on your departure from Thailand.

It is extremely rare, but you may be asked to produce proof of sufficient funds for your stay in terms of cash, traveller cheques and credit cards. Foreign visitors may bring in personal effects, other goods which are not prohibited by current customs regulations and import any amount of traveller cheques. Cash in excess of 10,000 euros must be declared in the prevention money laundering.

The duty-free allowance is 200 cigarettes, or rolling tobacco and cigars totallling no more than 250 grammes in weight. You are also allowed one litre of wine or spirits. It goes without saying that importing weapons and pornography is strictly prohibited. Over quantities undeclared could well result in a fine of four times plus tax and duty applied over the duty free allowance. All items will be confiscated, and if the fine is not met imprisonment could result. The Thai authorities also have zero tolerance to any form of drugs. If detected the smuggling of drugs will quite simply result in guaranteed imprisonment. In very serious cases it could result in the loss of life as Thailand has the death penalty for drug. Therefore it is important you always pack your own bags on the inward and return journeys. Under no circumstances all carry any goods for anyone else in your own case as you are held solely responsible for its contents.

On leaving Thailand, a foreign tourist is not allowed to take out more than 50,000 baht (or its equivalent in foreign notes and coins) in cash out of the country without prior authorisation. Failure to do so could lead to arrest, confiscation of the extra amount involved and result in prosecution. Other than personal effects, departing visitors are allowed to take out merchandise brought from duty free shops such as precious stones, gold and platinum ornaments. If goods are purchased outside VAT will be refunded on a valid receipt obtained at the time of purchase. There are restrictions on the export of antiques, fine arts and larger images of Buddha without the appropriate export licence. Tourists are allowed to take out gold ornaments free. But the import or export of gold other than jewelery is subject to licensing by the Ministry of Finance.

Prohibited Goods

Obscene objects, literature or Pornographic pictures. Narcotics of any sort including marijuana, hemp, opium, cocaine, morphine and heroin. Counterfeit trademark goods, and oddly enough goods with Thai national flag.

Overstayed Visas

The authorities have now taken a more forceful stance on overstaying your visa. Before its expiry date, you are required to renew it or otherwise leave Thailand. The overstay fine each day is 500 baht up to a maximum of 20,000 baht sometimes your passport is stamped as overstay. However, after 42 days overstay the situation becomes more serious you are likely to be arrested by the police and spend a period in jail.

In genuine cases of not being able to leave Thailand on the due date for situations outside your control it is advisable to report to the nearest police station, or your own Embassy and give an explanation of your circumstances. At least make a genuine attempt to correct or explain the visa overstay. At best they may write a note to make it easier with immigration for problems you will encounter later. Alternatively contact +66 2134 0222 or 1111 for 24 hour help and advice if you have got a visa concern whilst in Thailand.

Lost or stolen passports

If you should lose or have your passport stolen whilst in Thailand you should first report to the nearest police station and fill in a report. Take the documented report to your embassy who can issue you emergency travel documents. Remember to take along with as much proof as possible as to your identity. You will also need to visit the immigration bureau to validate it to leave the kingdom. For British nationals, the British Embassy is situated on Wireless Road, Bangkok. Please note that the British Embassy is only open for personal visits from 0800-1100 am. At other times only documents can be collected from the previous day.

The British Embassy representative in Pattaya is British Honorary Consul, Howard Miller (038 267 113). The consular officer is Khun Sasamon Khempookeau. A representative can be seen at Soi 5 at Jomtien most working days and no appointment is required between 0900-1130 am mailto: howard.miller@fconet.fco.gov.uk.

All information on our website is intended as a general guideline only and maybe subject to changes without prior notice.

Travellers cheques and Banking

Travellers cheques can be conveniently cashed at all provincial banks and authorised moneychangers. Travellers cheques are best changed in Bangkok or Pattaya where better rates will prevail. Generally, airport and hotel exchange rates are lower than those offered by city banks and legalised moneychangers. Major international credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diners and Carte Blanche are accepted by banks, restaurants, hotels and shops. A word of caution be vigilant when using credit cards, only using whenever necessary because of high exchange rates and the danger of the card being cloned. It is rare, but has been known, better to be in cash whenever possible.

Thai and foreign banks provide standard services nationwide, Monday to Friday (except public holidays) between 8:30 AM and 3:30 PM. Major banks such as Bangkok Bank, Thai Danu Bank, Kasikorn and Siam Commercial open at weekends and operate currency exchange counters in most tourist areas from 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM, seven days a week, including holidays.

Foreign visitors are welcome to open a current or savings account with any commercial bank in Thailand. As a special gesture to non-residents, no restrictions are imposed on the maintenance of or withdrawal from the account, as long as the funds originate from abroad. For additional information concerning foreign exchange regulations, please contact any authorised banks.

Many first-class hotels provide 24 hour money exchange services for major currencies such as American dollars, British pounds, Euros and Swiss Francs. Travellers cheques are generally accepted only by hotels and guesthouses.

Update

Rumour had it that the immigration office would soon be closed at Jomtien and transferred to Bangkok. This being the case it would have been a real inconvenience to tourists and expats alike in Pattaya seeking to extend their visas. As with rumours it appears unfounded and the office remains open for business as usual.