In connection with the new Immigration Law on banning overstaying foreigners in the country which will start on March 20, 2016, Philippine Honorary Consul Agkarajit Phanomvan na Ayudhya has released an advisory stating that,
“In concern with the new OVERSTAY rules which will be effective from March 20th, those who have child/children with Philippine passport should URGENTLY proceed to obtain visa for their child/children and those who have child/children without Philippine passport should obtain the Philippine passport for your child or children and proceed to obtain visa for your child/children. According to the latest information obtained from Chiangmai Immigration Office this afternoon, although the Immigration has not charged OVERSTAY penalties on child/children without passport/visa by presenting Thailand Birth Certificate upon departure, it is illegal for an alien to be in the country without a passport and visa.”
However, many netizens argue that children under 18 years of age can stay in the kingdom without a passport/visa.
While it is true that alien children under 18 are staying in the kingdom without passport/visa, it will soon become an offense considering the new immigration law that will be implemented on March 20, 2016 and the more strict implementation of the existing ” must have” visa rule.
The photo shown below was taken from Immigration website. This announces “Warning for Overstaying”. The remarks in the last picture may cause misinterpretation among some netizens.
“The prohibition of the entry starts from the day alien departs from the country.
This rule does not apply to:
1) An alien who departs the country before the age of 18.
2) An alien who departs the country before enforcing this rule (March 20, 2016.)”
Since this is an issue of overstaying, it is NOT applicable to children below 18 who have not gone out of the kingdom since they don’t have visa stamp on their passport yet. BUT If the children even below 18 should depart the country and come back and then receive a stamp on their passport, they must now obtain the necessary visa after their 30-day visa expires to avoid overstaying. Item no. 1 above does not disqualify children aged 18 below from the “visa law” rather it simply states that a minor can leave the kingdom without a visa but should obtain a visa if they wish to come back and stay in the kingdom with their parents after a 30-day visa from the airport immigration expires.
No. 2 states that this is neither applicable to children if they depart the country before March 20. But once they enter again they must obtain the necessary visa after 30-day visa expires to avoid overstaying.
Below is the reply sent to PinoyThaiyo by Honorary Consul Agkarajit Phanomvan na Ayudhya, Philippine Consulate Chiang Mai, after the former sent an email inquiring about the issue. May his very own words bring enlightenment and answers to our questions.
“Dear Mr. Llanera:
Thank you for your inquiry. There have been many Filipino who contacted us as we posted the new overstay rules on our Facebook page since around mid-January. On Monday, I called the Chiangmai Immigration Office as I have received below messages from a Filipina:
“Sir, a friend just came back from immigration office and was informed of the following:
URGENT: For those who didn’t know yet. Effective March 20 2016 the immigration expects foreigners to have visa including children of any age. They said this new policy applies to all. If last stamp of the child’s passport is less than 1 year, after March 20, the child will be asked to leave the country and won’t be allowed to enter Thailand in 5 years.
2 years overstay without visa is 10 years ban from entering Thailand.”
In concern with Filipino Community, I immediately contacted Chiangmai Immigration and I was advised that there are laws requiring ALIEN to have valid passport and visa/stay permit and there are no exception for small child/children including those who were born in the kingdom. Therefore, I pointed out that to acquire passport alone it takes more than a month as bio-data have to be sent to the Philippine. Moreover, in Thailand, passport services are performed only at the embassy in Bangkok. Mind you on identification issue, please note that Thai minors are required to have a Thai National ID Card when they reach the age of 5 and even new born of foreign labour from neighboring countries require to be registered with immigration.
At this point, despite many comments and arguments being raised by Filipino Community including publications on new overstay rules, it should be pointed out that the new rules are reinforcing the existing laws that required alien to have valid document and tightening the internal security. Moreover, the remarks from the immigration’s website that you mentioned did not exempt children from overstay fines. So, you will be safe to simply say that the THB 500 per day and maximum of THB 20,000 are still applicable unless you can locate an official announcement that minor are exempted. However, on new overstay rules, so far there is no written announcement or instruction on change of overstay fines, the immigration may also continue not to collect overstay fines on foreign minors who were born in Thailand for the reason that they did not have an entry stamp on their first passport.
By next week, I believe that there will be clarification on overstay issue as I heard that the Immigration Commissioner will be in Chiangmai.
Honorary Consul Agkarajit Phanomvan na Ayudhya
Philippine Consulate, Chiang Mai, Thailand