Thailand remains one of the most popular destinations for luxury and budget travellers alike. Many people head to Thailand because of the ease of obtaining a Visa on Arrival, without any considerations. Last year, the Thai government decided to waive off the 2000 Thai Baht fee between November and January 2019, in order to boost tourism revenue.
Between November 15, 2018, and January 13, 2019 tourists from 21 countries were exempt from paying the short term Thai Visa on Arrival (VOA) fee. Then, the Thai Government extended the period when you could get a free Visa on Arrival between January 14 to April 30, 2019. The good news now is, that the Thai Government has extended the period when you can get a free Visa on Arrival between May 1 to October 31, 2019. The countries that can get free VOA are:
- Papua New Guinea
- San Marino
- Saudi Arabia
These visas are available at 40 immigration checkpoints including international airports such as the ones in Bangkok and Phuket. You can stay in Thailand for a maximum of 15 Days with this Visa. Do note that the short-term VoA cannot be extended. Here is the official circular. Since you won’t be able to decode it, here is the Google Translation.
Getting a short stay Visa on Arrival in Thailand is a breeze. All you need is a return ticket, a recent 4×6 cm photograph, a proof of income. You fill in the VoA form, hand over the fee at the designated counter and you should get your Visa. I’ve done this before and the whole process for me took about 20 minutes.
Thailand continues to be a tourism powerhouse with over 35 million people visiting the country last year. Indian travellers formed a sizable chunk of this number with over 1.2 million Indians arriving in Thailand during the same period. With no-frills carriers like GoAir and IndiGo ramping up capacity and adding new routes, such as the Mumbai-Phuket one, that number should keep growing.
Thailand’s decision to waive off the Visa fee is a good move for tourists and the local tourism industry alike. If you are travelling to Thailand until October 2019, you can save quite a bit of money.
Will you be travelling to Thailand this summer because of the free Visa on Arrival?