Thailand Visa Run Changes

Crackdown of Thailand Visa Runs are effective immediately.  Planning on making a border run to extend your Thai visa?  You might be turned away.  The Thai government is tired of foreigners illegally living in Thailand and making border runs to nearby Mae Sai, Burma.   No longer will you be able to take a minibus to the border and return with a new visa stamp.

This sucks right?  Well, luckily for us, there are alternatives.

The original question posted on my fb wall.

Final crackdown for border runners - New strict Immigration regulation in force from today

BANGKOK: -- From today, foreign nationals residing in Thailand will no longer be able to exit and then re-enter the kingdom via a land border crossing in order to gain another 30 or 15 day stay in Thailand.

What does this actually mean?

Basically, as of today, no one is allowed to make border runs anymore.  In previous years, you could simply hop on a mini bus, walk across the border and come back with a new 30 day visa.  Then they changed it to a 14 day visa to deter people from doing it once a month.  

Now that option is gone and you'll have to either fly out of the country to get another 30 day visa exemption, or leave the country to apply for another tourist visa.  The good news is however, you can still make a border run to activate your 2nd or 3rd entry if you already have a Thai visa.  The only change is that you will no longer be able to make border runs to get the 14 day stamp.

The Thai Visa Run Mini-Bus

How to get around the new Thai Visa laws:

The easiest way to get around the new visa run changes is to get a double or triple entry Tourist visa in your home country before you come to Thailand.  Each entry gives you 60 days in Thailand, which can be extended to 90 days total without leaving the country.

You would just go to the local immigration office in Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Koh Samui or whichever is closest to you.  I would advise calling or emailing your local Thai consulate to see if they currently grant double or triple entry visas, as it changes with the officer's current mood.

Getting a new Thai Visa from Thailand:

You can't.  Once you're here, it becomes a lot more difficult, so get it before you come.  However, if you're already here, or need to extend it longer you'll have to fly to a neighboring country such as Laos or Malaysia to apply for another Tourist visa.  The bad thing however is they won't give you a multiple entry, so your visa will only be good for 90 days total.  

Getting a Business or Educational Visa:

This is a good option for people staying for a year or more that don't want to leave the country often for visa runs.  I would check out the forums at for more info.

What I do:

I go back to the U.S. once a year to visit friends and family and while i'm there I get a double entry (or triple if I can find one) Tourist Visa which is good for two 90 day entries. In between entries I use that opportunity to check out another country or go on a vacation.  

I think it's a good idea to take a vacation every three months anyways, and flights out of Thailand to neighboring countries is cheap, so why not take advantage of it and see some cool places.  It's such a waste of a day and bad for your health to sit in a minivan for 10 hours to drive to the border and back. It's a blessing in disguise to get rid of the border runs as it's not a good alternative anyways.  Instead of trying to game the system and live as cheaply as possible in Thailand, let's take this opportunity to set goals to be able to afford to travel every three months.

Update: Now I get the 6 month Multiple Entry Visa. 

Places to go:

With Air Asia, Nok, Tigerair and other cheap airlines, you can go to Vietnam, Cambodia, Bali, India, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and even the Maldives.  You can get a new tourist visa good for another 90 days in any of those countries as long as they have a Thai consulate.  

Let us strive to stop being cheap, and start making enough money where we don't need to game the system anymore.  Let us become the rich tourists that Thailand welcomes by being able to afford to fly, and let us vow never to sit in a cramped minibus ever again.  Who's with me?

This is the year for all of us to start Traveling Like a Boss!

If you don't know where to start, Start Here.

Or listen to the Travel Like a Boss Podcast for more ideas from successful entrepreneurs who make enough money online that they can actually travel like a boss and not worry about things like visa runs!

Keep in touch,


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  1. I'm with you Johnny! It all boils down to a wealthy mentality. I can't wait to get out to thailand in October and see everyone. I will make this work. I must!

    1. I completely agree Jaykob, having a wealthy mentality instead of a negative one changes everything.

  2. Hey Johnny,
    I've been following you for quite some time now and now that I'm in Thailand, I think i should give you a shout! I also wanted to advise that the border run I heard won't be doable by air as of August 12th so in case people were looking for a loophole, that would be the end date. It's good of you to give alternatives to people as there are many entrepreneurs in Thailand and who like yourself need to find means of staying here. I am working for a company here in Thailand for one year so I have a work permit however I've been really tired with it as it is draining! I just want to enjoy Thailand for what it is without the stresses from work. I hope to meet you someday as I find our mentalities are very similar. Let me know if you ever come to Bangkok and keep up the good work. Your blog is very inspirational, especially since it seems to be targeted to someone in my situation ;)

    1. Hey Len, thanks for the update. You've taken the first big step moving to Thailand for the job. If you're stressed and unhappy at your current job, I would suggest you start working on something on the side and switch over as soon as you are making enough side income =) Best of luck!

  3. Hi Johnny

    I've heard you can apply for like a 6 - 12 month visa in Thailand if you have a letter from a Muay Thai Gym saying you're going to be training there for a year etc.
    I think I remember seeing this on a Gym website.
    Perhaps it's possible to get a longer visa this way, train a month or 2 at the gym and move on

    1. I've gotten a 1 year Educational Visa before with my Muay Thai letter, but my consulate stopped honoring them. You used to be able to do it with scuba diving as well if you were taking your divemaster course. It seems that now the only ed visas for learning thai, but I suggest you call your local consulate to see what they will accept.

  4. I was going to buy your book on living cheap in Thailand but now i'm confused. Do you have a new book called "How to burn through 5k a month in Thaland, date white women, and live like a king"? If you're selling a new dream i'm buying Johnny just be clear and let us know. ;)

    1. That'll be the next book! =) Although now a days I spend closer to $1,500 a month, dating a white woman, living like a king and eating steak every night. But I spent 4 years living for $600 a month and that's a great starting point for anyone who wants to come to Thailand without a lot of money. Read the book, 98% of what's in there is still valid with the exception of the cheap border runs.

  5. Hey Johnny,

    Just discovered your blog the other week as I started to plan my own escape to Thailand. I was dismayed when I heard about the visa issues the other day, but your post makes total sense, and I appreciate the info on the double entry visas as I wasn't aware of them. Your post makes me feel a whole lot better and I completely support your comments - well done on promoting a healthy attitude to long term stays in Thailand and not gaming the system.

    1. Hey i'm glad you're making a plan to come out to Thailand. I'm glad it made you aware of the double entry tourist visas, definitely get one before you come. Best of luck with your goals and doing it the right way without gaming the system -)

  6. What is the best way to get permanent residency? - a marriage, a job or a business

    Continue to do great work. Thank you very much.

    1. Hey glad you've been enjoying my work. You would be surprised how difficult to get permanent residency even if you are married, have a job or a business here. The easiest way is to be 50 years old and have $27,000US in the bank. See below for details. If you're under 50, A Business visa would be easiest. See's forums for details =)

      Retirement Visas

      Retirement visas for Thailand are available to foreigners 50 years of age or older. These visas are valid for only one year and employment of any kind is strictly prohibited. According to Thai immigration, applicants must meet the following qualifications:

      Applicant must be able to provide proof of a pension or other regular income from a source outside of Thailand;
      Applicant’s pension or other regular income must be no less than the equivalent of 65,000 Baht per month;
      Alternatively, the applicant may meet the financial requirement by maintaining a Thai bank account with a minimum amount of 800,000 Baht. (Applicants will need to show that they have 800,000 Baht in savings each year when they renew their visa.)

  7. Hey Johnny, I found you through a Youtube video searching for Chiang Mai apartments. I am heading out to CM the end of June for a few months. You showed your $210 apartment next to Punspace, however I didn't recall you mentioning the name. Are you able to share that information with me? As I am looking for affordable accommodations while getting a feel for the place. Thanks in advance!!

    1. Hey Nina, the particular one I showed is currently full as it's a small place. But, if you just walk around whatever neighborhood you want to stay at and ask around, there are literally hundreds of apartment buildings (most without ENglish names or websites) that are in the same price range. Best of luck Nina.

  8. it will be interesting to see how far they take this... i've made myself a little crazy reading all the threads on about the new restrictions. apparently its a political move related to ousting the prime minister recently. what they are trying to curb is people "working" in Thailand. Particularly wage workers like food service staff, tutors, teachers, etc... people who might possibly be taking jobs away from Thai people.

    Makes a lot of people wonder if they will stop letting people do back to back to back tourist visas as well since technically a tourist visa is also not meant to be a loop hole for living long-term in Thailand.

    1. Hey Mark, yeah too much time can be wasted on forums, which is why I avoid them. We'll see what happens with Tourist visas. I'm not too worried, there are always options, especially since we all have location independant businesses. I just really like it here. =)

  9. Hey Johnny, I got scared when I read about this but after doing research the best way is to fly or bus it to a Thai Embassy in a neighboring country. The restriction is only for same day over and back not proper visas issued at Thai Embassies. But anyone listening do yourself a favor and get a tourist visa from the Thai Embassy in your home country before coming over. Don't be intimidated, it's just something you have to deal with when you travel.

  10. Hey Johnny,

    If you have a multiple entry visa, do you need proof of a return ticket? Im unsure whether to buy a return ticket for the sake of it. It would save me money

    1. Hey Rick, call your consulate before you send in your paperwork and ask. I know the one in LA doesn't need to see it, or your bank statement. If worst comes to worse, book a cheap Air Asia ticket out of Thailand to a neighboring country instead of a return ticket. Flights to Bali are $100 or less.

  11. Hi
    Thanks for your informative article. About a year ago, my fiance and I were doing border runs to Mae Sai for about four months--our travel plans were not really set in stone and we just kept deciding to stay in Thailand and it was easy to hop on a bus from Chiang Mai. We work online so no illegal jobs or anything of that nature. Our last visit we got tourist visas while we were visiting our home country of the US. I was in Phuket when all those changes started happening at a rapid rate regarding the taxi mafia, illegal beach businesses,etc...and I had a strong feeling the visa runs were going to be one of the next big issues to be tackled. I imagine this turn of events are leaving a lot of people screwed!

    1. Hey Kelli, glad you enjoyed this article. Phuket and the other islands in the south is a big reason why the new changes are in effect as there is a lot of illegal business and money grabbing down there.

      I'm sure it'll all work out for the best. By the way I tried clicking the Nepal photo on your blog hoping it would be an article as my gf and I are going there in Oct.

  12. The Regulation does not affect the rules regarding the conditions for issuing long-stay visas.

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  14. keep it up! I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your points and have come to the conclusion that you are right about many of them. To apply for visa countries offering digital nomad visas in 2021 online, eligible foreign visitors must have a passport and valid documents for which should be required at the time of visa what are the requirements international flights operated by air India.


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