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Overstaying in Thailand: Penalties and what to do (2024)

People overstay in Thailand for a number of reasons: some miscalculate the days they are staying, some accidentally follow guidelines that applies to a different nationality, and some do it on purpose because they don’t realize that the Thai government takes overstaying very seriously.

If you realize you are about to overstay, we recommend leaving Thailand ASAP.

In the past people could do infinite border runs (leaving by a land border and re-entering, getting a new visa exemption in the process) however as of January 1, 2018 you can only do 2 border runs per calendar year (any more and you will likely be denied). If you absolutely must stay in Thailand, you can do a Laos border run before your visa exemption expires (as of January 2021, the Myanmar land border is still closed).

If you have already overstayed, our advice is different depending on length of overstay.

Overstay a week or two -> prepare the fine and leave by airport immediately.

Overstay more than 90 days -> seek legal help immediately and do not put yourself in any situations where you might be detained by police.

What is overstaying?

Overstaying is simply staying beyond the period you are allowed to.

For example, you are a US citizen who enters Thailand (visa exempt, check here for all visa exemptions/visa on arrival by country).

You are visa exempt for 45 days (extended from 30 days up until March 31, 2023.

You enter on January 1, 2023, and get a stamp in your passport that says February 15, 2023. You must leave Thailand on or before this date (or obtain a new visa).

If you stay past February 15, 2023, you potentially face severe consequences.

You face a 500 Thai baht/day fine for every day you overstay. After 90 days,

Being caught while overstaying

There is a big difference if you are caught while overstaying, and if you are leaving Thailand while overstaying (and prepared to pay the penalty).

You do not want to be caught while overstaying.

There are many situations in which you can be discovered by Thai authorities: you use your passport to check into a hotel, you receive hospital treatment, your taxi is randomly stopped at a traffic police checkpoint, you are detained by police for an unrelated incident etc.

If you are caught overstaying in Thailand you will face a fine and the probability of being detained in a Thai detention center, after which you will be deported from Thailand. The severity of the punishment depends on the length of overstay.

That’s why if you overstay, you should exit Thailand as soon as possible. If you overstay and leave by a Thai airport and pay the penalty, you will not be imprisoned/deported.

Leaving while overstaying

The fine for overstaying is 500 Baht per day, reaching a maximum fine of 20,000 Baht (when overstaying 40 or more days).

You pay the penalty at airport immigration when leaving Thailand:

  • Overstay less than 90 Days = 500 Thai baht/day overstay fine (maximum 20,000 Thai baht)
  • Overstay more than 90 Days = 1 year ban from Thailand and 20,000 Thai baht overstay fine
  • Overstay more than 1 Year = 3 years ban from Thailand and 20,000 Thai baht overstay fine
  • Overstay more than 3 Years = 5 years ban from Thailand and 20,000 baht overstay fine
  • Overstay more than 5 Years = 10 years ban from Thailand and 20,000 baht overstay fine

How do I stay in Thailand for longer?

If you have not overstayed in Thailand yet but the date is coming up and you would like to extend your stay in Thailand, here’s what you can do:

During 2022, one could apply for the so called ‘COVID Extension’ that enabled foreigners to stay in Thailand for 60 days longer. The government enabled this to stimulate the economy during COVID. This extension is no longer available.

Help! I have already overstayed

If you have overstayed by a week and are about to leave Thailand via airport, you will be fine as long as you prepare enough cash to pay the overstay penalty.

Make sure to avoid confrontations with any Thai authorities or police, because if you are detained in an unrelated matter, this will count as you being ‘caught’ overstaying.

Once you reach airport immigration you will be asked to pay a small fine (500 baht for every day you have overstayed).

If you are overstaying in Thailand by a few days but still have time before your flight to leave Thailand and you cannot book an earlier flight, you should head to the nearest Thai immigration office and explain your situation and pay the appropriate fines.

If you find yourself in Thailand having overstayed for more than 90 days it is advised that you immediately seek legal help and prepare to leave the country as soon as possible.

You face the possibility of being banned from re-entering Thailand for a set period of time.