June 15, 2024

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Thailand eases visa rules for tourists

Thailand eases visa rules for tourists

BANGKOK: Thailand’s cabinet on Tuesday (May 28, 2024) approved sweeping changes to visa regulations to boost Thailand’s tourism industry and attract more international visitors. Innovations include visa-free entry and visa-on-arrival (VoA) expansion, as well as extended accommodations for students and simplified health insurance requirements for pensioners.

As the Thai economy relies heavily on tourism, the government hopes these measures will lead to a significant increase in visitor numbers, as announced by government spokesperson Sai Wacharonke. The number of countries that citizens of Albania, Cambodia, China and India can enter without a visa will be increased from 57 to 93. Additionally, the maximum length of stay under this regulation is extended to 60 days.

This regulation was previously applied to 19 countries. Additionally, a new five-year visa (“Destination Thailand Visa”) has been introduced, which should be of particular interest to digital nomads, remote workers and the self-employed. This visa allows a stay of up to 180 days, and can be extended once for another 180 days. “Through the ‘Destination Thailand Visa’, we want people to experience our culture more intensely, like Muay Thai and Thai cuisine, while exploring the country at the same time,” Tsai explains.

Another important change concerns foreign university graduates, who will be allowed to stay in the country for one year after completing their studies and look for work. It affects about 40,000 foreign students in Thailand.

In the area of ​​retirement visas, health insurance requirements have been significantly reduced. From September, applicants over the age of 50 will only need to provide proof of insurance coverage of 440,000 baht (400,000 baht for inpatient treatment and 40,000 baht for outpatient treatment).

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In addition, electronic visa applications have been expanded from the current 47 to 94 Thai embassies and embassies around the world. These changes will take effect from June 1, 2024 and will first apply to long-term stays from September to December.

The Thai government hopes these changes will be key to reviving the tourism industry after challenges in recent years.