With the military junta government of Thailand becoming much more serious about stopping undesirable foreigners visiting the country in the last couple of years, more and more people are being blacklisted in Thailand.
If you are blacklisted in Thailand, that means you cannot enter the country for any reason until the term you have been blacklisted for is over. If you are blacklisted permanently, you can never go back.
If you are blacklisted in Thailand for a period of a few years, however, can you go back? When can you go back, and are there ways around a blacklist?
Reasons for being blacklisted in Thailand
While some non-Thais end up on a Thailand blacklist for committing crimes, many nowadays are ending up on a blacklist due to overstaying a visa.
While still a crime in the eyes of the Thai government, it is a lesser crime than those of stealing, taking or selling drugs or some of the illegal business practices that are also getting people banned.
In most cases, those that overstay have simply traveled to Thailand on a tourist visa, on a visa on arrival or by getting a 30-day stamp upon arrival in the country, and then…never left. Some have been in the country illegally for years.
Nowadays, however, if you overstay for longer than 90 days and leave of your own volition, you will be banned from re-entering Thailand for a year. If you overstay longer than 90 days, your ban period will be much longer (you can find out information on doing overstays and current ban times here).
If you overstay even one day and are caught by police or Thai immigration before attempting to leave the country, however, you will be deported and put on a Thailand blacklist for five years. If you overstay for longer than a year and are caught, it is a 10 year ban.
You will also be imprisoned before you are allowed to leave the country.
Can you go back to Thailand if you are blacklisted?
Yes, you can go back to Thailand if you are blacklisted once the period of your ban has expired. Until then, it is going to be difficult for you to return to the country, unless you are given a special dispensation.
These, however, can be hard to get, if even possible at all.
For instance, I have heard of one man who was banned due to an overstay and who tried to get back into Thailand due to his Thai child being extremely ill. He applied to a Thai embassy for a special dispensation but was turned down.
In other words, in the eyes of Thailand, if you do the crime you do the time.
Honestly, you cannot really blame Thailand, as their visa laws are available all over the Internet. So, if you do overstay, it will almost always be your fault.
Of course, if you feel your situation has extenuating circumstances, you can contact the Thailand Immigration department and ask if your place on the blacklist can be removed. There probably is not much chance it would be, but something like that is always worth a try. Especially as you would be trying to do it legally.
If you do, however, it would probably be a good idea to also engage the services of a Thai law firm to see if they can help.
Ways to get back into Thailand if you are blacklisted?
I have heard of a couple of men that have been blacklisted, gone back to their home country and legally changed their names. They then applied for new passports in their new name, and returned to Thailand.
Thai authorities are not able to cross-reference an old name with a new one so, as far as I know, both men were allowed to re-enter Thailand.
However…If you choose this route, not only are you giving up a name you have had your entire life, you may still have problems with documents needed in Thailand still being in your old name. (University degrees, CELTA and TEFL certificates etc), which could cause you problems if you intend to stay long-term.
Remember, too, if you re-enter Thailand this way and are eventually caught, it could mean you being put on a permanent blacklist for Thailand for the rest of your life. After all, what you did was illegal under the law in Thailand.
If you are quite wealthy, you could also apply for a Thailand Elite membership. This is a special type of visa available for 500,000 baht (approximately $15,280), and it allows you to a five-year visa for Thailand, plus allows you to stay in Thailand for one-year at a time without having to get new visas or extensions.
You do still have to do the 90-day reporting, but you can easily do that at the Elite office if you live in Bangkok.
Of course, there is no guarantee you would even be given a Thailand Elite membership if you are on a blacklist. But, as Thailand is like most countries in this respect, if you have money there is often a way around many things. Even a blacklist. So it would be worth a try. Particularly as you would be attempting to do it legally.
Otherwise, if you are on a Thai blacklist, other than trying to enter the country illegally, which could end up with you in a Thai jail for a long period of time, there probably is not much you can do to get off it.
Returning to Thailand once your blacklist period has expired
If you have been put on a Thai blacklist for a specific period of time, you are allowed to re-enter the country once that period is over.
Before you just get on a plane and head to Thailand, however, you should contact the Thai Immigration Office.
This is because you usually have to submit a request for permission to re-enter Thailand.
If you have not tried to return to Thailand illegally, or had any legal problems in other countries during your blacklist period, you will almost always be approved for re-entry.
Good luck with whatever you do and, for those who are contemplating overstay in Thailand, remember it is not a good idea. Not if you love the country, and would love to be able to visit or live there whenever you want.
For more information on being blacklisted from Thailand, watch the video below from Integrity Legal, a law firm in Thailand.