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Thailand Visa Policy | History and More

Thailand is a country in Southeast Asia. Millions of tourists visit Thailand each year because of its elaborate temples, pristine white beaches, quaint water markets, and contemporary cityscapes. 

Many visitors to Thailand are required to have a visa to enter the country. The truth is that the need for a visa does not apply to citizens of many other nations.

Unless travelers are nationals of a country exempt from visa requirements or a nation whose citizens are eligible for eVisa/visa-on-arrival, travelers planning to visit Thailand must get a visa from one of the Thai diplomatic missions.

Travelers from 64 nations and territories are currently permitted to enter Thailand without a visa. The Thai government still maintains bilateral visa waiver agreements with a number of these countries.

A visa-on-arrival is available to citizens of 18 countries. As per news reports, 23 nations around the world have been recently granted access to Thailand's eVisa program.

Reportedly, the eVisa service is currently offered in 38 embassies and consulates in 23 nations. These are:

  • Denmark
  • China (Hong Kong)
  • Hungary
  • the UK
  • the USA
  • Sweden
  • Canada
  • Norway
  • the Netherlands
  • Belgium
  • Finland
  • Romania
  • the Czech Republic
  • Italy
  • Poland
  • Austria
  • Spain
  • Greece
  • France
  • Portugal
  • Switzerland
  • South Korea
  • Germany

Let’s go over Thailand's visa requirements, including who is exempt, who is eligible for eVisa on arrival, and how to apply if a traveler requires one.

The History of the Thailand Visa Policy

After a brief crackdown on visa runs in May 2014, tourists who wished to enter Thailand again (once their visa-on-arrival or visa-free period had ended) were required to either obtain a visa in advance or spend at least one night outside the country. 

The severe enforcement of the rule was having an adverse effect on schools and the tourism sector. Therefore, the prime minister of Thailand ordered the Immigration Police to be more lenient in August 2014.

On October 31, 2018, it was stated that overstay visas would no longer be accepted after 30 days (by the end of November 2018), at which point there would be no overstayers left in the country.

eVisa on Arrival (E-VOA)

Beginning on November 21, 2018, tourists from the nations whose residents were eligible for visa-on-arrival began receiving tourist visas from Thailand that were valid for 15 days and issued through a streamlined process.

In some of Thailand's consulates overseas, electronic visa applications were also available as of February 2019.

As of now, all E-VOA are delivered via email to the email address provided after enrollment. Applicants have the option to download the E-VOA in PDF format.

Temporary Covid 19 modifications

According to Thailand Center for Covid Situational Administration (CCSA), the duration of a visa-on-arrival for Thailand has increased from 15 to 30 days beginning October 1, 2022. Currently, this modification is in force till March 31, 2023.

Who Needs a Visa to Enter Thailand?

Nationals of the following nations and territories with ordinary passports are eligible to enter Thailand without a visa for the term specified below due to bilateral visa waiver agreements with Thailand. 

Any port of entry is acceptable for their entry (unless otherwise specified).

 90 days in any six months

  • Chile
  • Peru
  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • Korea

For 45 days

  • Laos
  • Russia
  • Vietnam
  • Mongolia
  • Hong Kong (for a passport only valid for the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong)
  • Macau
  • Cambodia

For 45 days

  • Myanmar (for air arrivals only)
  • Cambodia

Under the tourist visa exemption scheme, for 45 days the following nations and territories do not require a visa to enter Thailand:

  • Poland
  • Singapore
  • Andorra
  • Belgium
  • Austria
  • Bahrain
  • Australia
  • Brunei Canada
  • Czech Republic
  • Oman
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Estonia
  • France
  • Norway
  • The Philippines
  • Portugal
  • Qatar
  • San Marino
  • Maldives
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Slovak
  • UAE
  • South Africa
  • Ukraine
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • UK
  • Sweden
  • USA
  • Germany
  • Spain
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Indonesia
  • Slovenia
  • Ireland
  • Japan
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Kuwait
  • Latvia
  • Vietnam
  • Liechtenstein
  • New Zealand
  • Lithuania
  • Brazil
  • Korea (ROK)
  • Peru
  • Hong Kong
  • Luxembourg
  • Malaysia
  • Mauritius
  • Monaco
  • The Netherlands

The following nations and territories' passport holders are eligible to apply for a 30-day visa-on-arrival:

  • Kazakhstan
  • Malta
  • Cyprus
  • Bulgaria
  • Vanuatu
  • Romania
  • Bhutan
  • Fiji
  • Georgia
  • Ethiopia
  • India
  • Malta
  • Taiwan
  • Mexico
  • Nauru
  • Papua New Guinea
  • China
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Uzbekistan

The following nationals possessing diplomatic or official passports may enter Thailand under a bilateral agreement:

For 45 days

  • Malaysia
  • Mongolia
  • China
  • Mozambique
  • Bangladesh (Diplomatic only)
  • Brunei
  • Ecuador
  • Cambodia
  • Hong Kong
  • Pakistan (Diplomatic only)
  • Singapore
  • Timor-Leste
  • Vietnam
  • Indonesia
  • Laos
  • Oman
  • Macau
  • Kazakhstan
  • Myanmar

For 90 days

  • Tajikistan
  • Tunisia
  • Kuwait
  • Ukraine
  • Turkey
  • Uruguay
  • Kosovo
  • Peru
  • Latvia
  • Albania
  • Liechtenstein
  • Mexico
  • Nepal
  • Montenegro
  • Belgium
  • Morocco
  • The Netherlands
  • Panama
  • UAE
  • The Philippines
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Argentina
  • Luxemburg
  • Austria
  • Belarus
  • Chile
  • Bulgaria
  • Colombia
  • Slovakia
  • Costa Rica
  • South Africa
  • El Salvador
  • Spain (Diplomatic only)
  • Sri Lanka
  • Croatia
  • Switzerland
  • Bhutan
  • Czech Republic
  • Brazil
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • India
  • France (Diplomatic only)
  • Germany
  • Israel
  • Georgia
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Serbia
  • Korea (ROK)
  • Seychelles

Popular Visa Types in Thailand

Thailand offers the following types of visas apart from the eVisa or E-VOA:

A Tourist visa can be obtained for tourism, short visit, or medical purposes.

A Business & Investor visa is available to carry out work or for conducting business in Thailand. It has the following subcategories:
  • Non-Immigrant B visa - A Non-Immigrant B Visa must be obtained by any ordinary passport holder who desires to enter the Kingdom to conduct business or engage in employment.
  • Non-Immigrant IB visa- An ordinary passport holder may apply for a Non-Immigrant type IB Visa if their trip's objective is to work or invest in a BOI-registered firm.
  • A Non-Immigrant ED visa is available for a study visit.
  • A Non-Immigrant O visa is applied when travelers wish to pay a visit to family and friends.
A Transit visa can be availed for travel, crew, and athletic events.

The Long-stay visa to Thailand is further subdivided into two categories:
  • A Non-Immigrant O-A visa is available to foreign nationals 50 years of age or older. In this case, applicants must have a permanent address in the nation where the application is made.
  • A Non-Immigrant O-X visa for 10 years can be availed by ordinary passport holders who are 50 years of age or older and who are citizens of one of the following countries: the USA, Germany, Japan, Finland, Australia, France, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, the UK, Norway, Sweden, Canada Switzerland.
A Smart visa is usually availed by entrepreneurs, investors, and executives.

A Non-Immigrant F visa is available for official or diplomatic missions.
UN Laissez-Passer or an official passport is required for an Official/Diplomatic Visa. It is subdivided into two more categories:
  • Official visa- An official visa is required for holders of an official passport or a blue UN Laissez-Passer who are traveling to Thailand on duty or who are assigned there.
  • Diplomatic visa – A diplomatic visa is required for holders of diplomatic passports or red UN Laissez-Passer who are traveling to Thailand on business or who will be stationed there.
A Long-term resident visa is also known as LTR for globally wealthy individuals, wealthy retirees, and highly skilled professionals working in Thailand.

Applying for a Thailand Visa

A regular Thailand visa can be obtained at the Thai embassy or consulate. If a person applies for a visa at an embassy or consulate in a nation where they do not have a permanent address, it may take at least a month for their application to be approved.

If an applicant requests multiple entries, he or she must show that he or she has a legitimate reason to visit Thailand frequently.

If the officer issues a single-entry visa rather than the multiple entries visa that was requested, the price difference is not returned.

People who are not permitted to enter Thailand through the visa-on-arrival program can also apply for a visa in advance at a Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate.

Thailand has recently added nine more embassies and consulates around the world to its e-Visa program. As of now, 23 nations can now apply for a Thai visa online. For passport holders from 23 countries, it is possible to apply for all types of visas in Thailand online.

Depending on the applicant’s nationality, he/she may simply register, fill out an application, submit his/her supporting papers, pay the visa fee, wait while the visa is processed, and receive the approved visa by email. This eliminates the need to visit an embassy or consulate.

To apply for a Thailand eVisa, the applicant needs to follow the below-mentioned steps:

  • Check their eligibility
  • Provide information about the applicant (biodata page of travel document)
  • Fill in the travel details
  • Upload supporting documents
  • For single entry and multiple entries, the applicant must produce a valid passport or another travel document that is still valid at least six months after the date of the visa application.
  • Applicants are required to submit a suitable photo that was taken within the last six months. The visa request could be turned down if this isn't done.

Furthermore, it is no longer necessary for eVisa applicants to personally present their passports and original supporting documents at the Thai Embassy or Consulate as of September 26, 2021. 

Once an applicant's eVisa application has been accepted, they are sent a confirmation email. Travelers just need to print a copy of the confirmation email to show the airline and Thai immigration officials for any necessary checks.

However, in specific nations and situations, the Thai embassies and the Thai Consulates-General may also accept applications filed through authorized travel agents, representatives, or by mail. 

It is advised to inquire about approved methods of application at the Thai embassy or the consulate where an applicant intends to apply.



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