Thailand extends free visa to more countries and longer-stay travelers

2024-05-29 Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Tourists enjoy the traditional Thai festival Loy Krathong in Chiang Mai last November. (YANG WANLI/CHINA DAILY)

Thai cabinet has adopted multiple visa measures to stimulate tourism, which will benefit tourists from 36 more countries and Chinese travelers who may have plan to stay in the kingdom for more than 30 days.

Visa measures approved on Tuesday include 60-day visa exemption, a new "Destination Thailand" visa, permission for foreign university students who have studied in Thailand to stay for a year after graduation, and changes in regulations for long-stay visas for retirees.

After a meeting on Tuesday, Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin revealed that extension of the period of visa-free stays from 30 days to 60 days will come into effect in June.

The government will also increase the number of visa-free countries from 57 to 93, including Cambodia, India, Kazakhstan, Laos, etc. Countries eligible for visa arrivals will also be added from 19 to 31.

For digital nomads, remote workers, freelancers, Muay Thai students, Thai food students, the period of stay will be tripled from 60 days to 180 days.

Moreover, the government will also extend the period of stay for foreign university students to one year after graduation, allowing them to work in professions not restricted to Thais only.

Government spokesperson Chai Watcharong revealed that the estimated cost of the measures, in terms of lost visa fee collections, is approximately 12.3 billion baht ($340 million) per year. However, it is anticipated that there will be a substantial increase in tourist receipts, ranging from 800 billion baht to one trillion baht.

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