90-day stays on non-immigrant O visas

I recently went to the Immigration Office in Phuket City to extend my non-immigrant O visa after staying 80 days in Phuket.

I was told that I could not, even though the visa is still valid. I was told that I must leave Thailand and then re-enter the country in order to be issued a new 90-day permit to stay.

I knew the tourist visa rules had changed, but I was unaware that non-immigrant O visa rules had changed as well. Can you clarify this for me?

Tom Farnham, Kathu.

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It seems that you did not qualify to have your permit to stay extended, such as by being married to a Thai or by qualifying as a person wanting to stay here on retirement.

A person who has a multiple-entry non-immigrant O visa and does not qualify to have his permit to stay extended must leave the Kingdom at any border, such as at Ranong or Sadao, and re-enter the country in order to be permitted to stay a further 90 days.

You, as a person with non-immigrant O visa, will be permitted to re-enter the country repeatedly until the visa expires.

However, a person staying in Thailand on a tourist visa issued on arrival is allowed to stay no more than 90 days within any period of 180 days. Once the 90 days have passed, the person will not be permitted to re-enter Thailand for 90 days.

Pol Capt Krissarat Nuesen of the Phuket Provincial Immigration Office.

Answered on February 1, 2007.
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