Recently I was having a conversation with someone who’s been in prison for a bar brawl and he was nervous about going to Thailand since he has a criminal record. So I looked into this for him and I wanted to share this with you as well, in case you have a criminal record and are planning to go to Thailand.
The Thai government has no access to foreign criminal registries and therefore will not be able to check whether or not, you have a criminal record. As long as the country you have residency in allows you a passport and to leave the country, you can travel to Thailand with a criminal record.
This is for when you’re traveling to Thailand,
But there are a few differences when you want to move to Thailand. So if you want to travel to Thailand and stay there permanently, or even get a job, make sure to read on, because I will explain this more thoroughly below.
Visiting Thailand on a Visa exemption
If you have a criminal record and are in possession of a valid passport, the easiest way to visit Thailand for a holiday is with a visa exemption.
This means that you don’t need to file for a tourist visa and you are free to enter Thailand as long as you stay no longer than 30 days.
As I’m writing this, the Thai government has extended this from 30 to 45 days, but that is officially only valid until March of 2023.
Whether or not they will extend this again, only time can tell.
In order to be approved for this visa exemption, you’d need to be originated from one of the 64 countries below.
- Czech Republic
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- San Marino
- Slovak Republic
- South Africa
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States
Again, the visa exempt rule is when you don’t have to file for a tourist visa and you are to stay in Thailand as long as you can show that you’re leaving the Thai borders before the 30 days expire, or until March of 2023 that would be the 45 days.
Visiting Thailand on a tourist visa
If you want to stay longer in Thailand and need to file for a tourist visa and have a criminal record, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.
In order to even be able to leave your country, you do need a valid passport.
And in your country of origin, the Thai embassy can check on your status.
If you’ve been convicted of a felony, the Thai embassy may decide to not approve your visa and the best way to find out about this is to file for the visa and see whether or not they will approve it.
Also if you are on the no-fly list, maintained by the TSC, for obvious reasons, you’re not allowed to leave your country and therefore can’t go to Thailand.
Visiting Thailand after being prosecuted in Thailand
In case you were prosecuted in the past by the Thai government. Whether that’s for Drugs, violence, trafficking, or anything else, chances of you being allowed back into the Kingdom of Thailand are almost non-existent.
In most cases, after being released from jail, people will receive a travel ban which makes it hard if not impossible to come back to Thailand.
The difficult part of whether or not you’d be granted a visa to Thailand is that it’s all relying on a day-by-day situation.
Most people will have no issues with getting the visa, even with a felony, but if you happen to meet that cranky person on an early Monday morning, they may disapprove the visa.
My personal advice would be to just file for the tourist visa if you’re unsure and if you get the visa, you’re free to go.
The last thing you want is to go to Thailand and get denied entry when arriving at Suvernaverbi Airport.