How do multiple entry visas work in practice?

Can someone explain how multiple entry visas are used to extend a stay beyond their designated term?

For example, see:

This presents the definition that I understood to be the case–the clock starts running on your first entry, and any exits and re-entries don’t change that. (You still only have 60 or 90 days, or whatever, “since your registered arrival date.”)

Same here:

I can’t find any official information about how the start date is somehow “reset” to the most recent entry date which, if I’ve understood everything I’ve read correctly, is what most people are doing/recommending.

In other words, how does a normal 60-day tourist visa, which can be extended for another 30 days, get turned into a 6-month stay with the multiple entry option? (Which again, I read as only permitting exits during the designated time, not multiplying the length of the stay in some way.)

I’ve read a ton of writing about the general topic, but this is one of those areas that tends to be glossed over, or referred to only in passing.

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Please correct me, but I’m making the assumption you are a passport holder for a Western European Country, the U.S., or Canada.

For the U.S. I know the standard tourist visa is 30 days, not 60, but this may differ for your country.

With Vietnam you must be careful to choose your proposed entry date wisely. As the clock starts ticking from then, not from your first entry. And you are also not allowed to enter the country before that date.

Also, are you unsure that you will want to re-enter Vietnam, after 30 days? Because the visa itself is not so cheap, compared to other countries in SEA. You should pay for a 90day or multi-entry visa upfront, if you know you will use it. This is a cheaper option, and much less a hassle than extending your visa after arrival.

Also, from reading the link you given me, it states clearly to me: “if you apply for 3 months multiple entry visa, you are allowed to enter and exit Vietnam multiple times within 90 days since your registered arrival date”

This means there is no “reset”. Your visa is only valid for 90 days after your proposed arrival date.

If you leave Vietnam for 2 weeks, you won’t get an additional 2 weeks to make up for your “lost” time.

Just let me know if you have any other questions. Hope that helped.

Hi Aaron, thanks for your response. I’m a US passport holder.

I know I’m referring to both Vietnam and Thailand here, which may be a bit of an apples-and-oranges comparison, depending on their respective policies.

I guess, then, this is directed more to the Thailand ex-pats. I regularly see people referring to a 6-month or so stay, gotten with a “double entry” visa. We can get a 60-day visa from the Thai embassy here in the states, which can then be extended for another 30 days.

That means roughly 3 months, and then the “double entry” is apparently used (with a visa or border run or whatever) to repeat the cycle, for a total of 6 months. That’s the part I don’t understand, because the official text I’ve read seems to indicate that the clock starts on the first entry, and isn’t automatically reset on a second.

But the “reset” seems to be exactly how they’re used, if I’m understanding correctly. Otherwise, how are people getting 6 months? ((60 + 30) x 2)

If someone could provide a fourth-grade-level explanation of this, I (and I’m sure others) would appreciate it.

It’s 60 days and two entries. Each entry allows you to stay for 60 days.

So day 1 you enter. Stay 60 days. Sometime towards the end, extend for another 30 at the immigration office. So you’ve stayed a total of 90 days.

On day 90, you leave. Go to Singapore or somewhere else where you can enter with a stamp, stay a few days if you like, and then return on say… day 95.

Enter on day 95, you can stay another 60 days now. Say until day 155 and sometime around there, extend for another 30 days.

Stay the total period of 30 days and by day 185 you should leave. That’s 6 months that you spent inside Thailand (about 5 days outside but you can even come back the same day and it’s usually fine…).

It is as @flyonthewall describes, but there is one more thing you must note, and that is the 'Enter Before" date on the visa.

For my last Thailand double entry visa for example, the visa was issued on 8 July with an “Enter Before” date of 7 October - which is 91 days from the date of issue. The way it was explained to me is that you must do your second entry before that date.

So typically you will enter on the date of issue, or a day or two after that, and then extend for 30 days at immigration sometimes towards the 60 day mark. But you will need to exit and re-enter for the second entry before 7 October, which is 90 days. So your first entry will usually be a couple of days short of 90 days.

But, like I said, that is how the “Enter Before” date was explained to me by immigration. The chance for a miscommunication is big… :wink:

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