Overstaying Brit avoids blacklist by turning self in early

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A British man who said time got away from him turned himself in to immigration police for overstaying in the kingdom for more than a year.

Ashley Philip Kent, 27, of the United Kingdom entered Thailand on Jan. 10 last year on a 30-day visa.

But when he turned himself in at the Chonburi Immigration Office in Jomtien Beach Feb. 9, he admitted he had enjoyed staying in Pattaya and didn’t realize he had been here a year until he heard about new immigration rules coming into effect March 20 and checked his passport.

New rules approved Nov. 27 will prohibit overstayers from re-entering the kingdom for up to 10 years, depending on how long they resided illegally in Thailand. By turning himself in now, Kent can re-enter the kingdom with no penalty or delay.

Under the new system, penalties vary depending on whether the overstaying foreigner voluntarily turns himself in or is arrested.

For those who surrender, foreigners overstaying up to one year will be banned for a year from coming back to Thailand. Three-year bans await overstayers of 1-3 years while those who have lived here without a visa for 3-5 years will be banned for five years. Overstayers of more than five years will be banned for 10 years.

For those whose overstay is found upon arrest, the bans begin at five years for up to a year of overstay. Those here longer will be blacklisted for 10 years.