Thailand changes visa rules for tourists, students: What you must know | Personal Finance

Thailand

Thailand. Photo: Shutterstock


Thailand’s Cabinet has approved several new visa and travel measures aimed at stimulating the economy and boosting tourism. This follows a proposal by the Department of Consular Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on May 28, 2024.


In the short term, five key changes are expected to take effect by late June or early July 2024, according to the Thai government:


1. Extended visa exemptions: The visa exemption period for tourists and short-term business visitors will be extended to 60 days, up from the current 30 days, for passport holders from 93 countries.


2. Expanded visa on arrival: The number of countries whose passport holders are eligible for Visa on Arrival (VOA) will increase from 19 to 31.


3. Destination Thailand visa: A new visa, the Destination Thailand Visa (DTV), will be introduced. This visa caters to long-term travellers, digital nomads, and participants in certain cultural activities, allowing a stay of up to 180 days per visit on a multiple-entry basis within five years.


4. Digital nomads and remote workers


For remote workers, the government has introduced a new five-year visa. The validity of so-called digital nomad visas for self-employed remote workers will be extended to five years, from 60 days presently, and each stay will be limited to 180 days. This move is designed to attract self-employed and remote workers who want to stay in Thailand for extended periods while continuing their work.


5. Postgraduate students


Foreign postgraduate students pursuing bachelor’s degrees or higher will find it easier to stay in Thailand and seek employment after graduation. They will be allowed to extend their stay for one year to search for jobs, travel, or engage in other activities, provided they obtain certification from the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research, and Innovation.


6. Visa policy committee: A new Visa Policy Committee will be established to refine Thailand’s entry processes and enhance immigration efficiency.


Medium-term measures


Three measures are planned for the medium term:


1. Streamlined non-immigrant visas: Non-immigrant visa types will be grouped and streamlined.


2. Lowered health insurance requirements: Health insurance requirements will be reduced, and the list of countries eligible for long-term non-immigrant visas will be expanded.


3. e-Visa system expansion: The e-Visa system will be implemented at all embassies and consulates by December 2024.


Long-term measure


In the long term, Thailand will introduce an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system. This system will be rolled out in conjunction with the e-Visa system, providing a more seamless entry process for international visitors.


Thailand’s popularity on the rise


Over the years, Thailand has become a popular destination as it offers beautiful pristine beaches, nature reserves, rustic countryside and hillside towns, fascinating cities with stunning temples, delicious food, exciting nightlife, and high-quality accommodation, at very affordable prices.


Thailand recorded 9.4 million foreign tourists in the first three months of this year, who contributed an estimated 454.6 billion baht ($12.4 billion) to the economy in spending, the tourism ministry said last month.


The island nation is targeting a record of 40 million tourists this year, a figure close to that of pre-pandemic 2019.


Exemption for Indian tourists


Tourists from India can enter Thailand without a visa until November 11, 2024. The temporary extension follows the success of the initial waiver in November last year.

First Published: Jun 05 2024 | 3:32 PM IST

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