Free Thailand Visas from February 14th
New e-visa, waived fees to boost tourism Rules to take effect from Valentine's Day
A convenient new Thai visa will begin February 14. Visitors from 20 countries and one business district will be able to apply for an eVisa On Arriva (eVOA).
Pol Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn, Immigration police chief stated that the new system will cut the processing time for visas on arrival at Thai airports to as little as one minute. This system was developed jointly by the Immigration Bureau of Thailand and VFS Global.
"The new eVOA service will offer travellers a whole new experience when applying for a Thai visa as they can fill out the electronic form and make an e-payment any time regardless of embassy working hours.... Once the tourists arrive at airports, they can show their passports at specific counters to obtain a visa in just one minute, rather than a one-to-two-hour wait," Pol Lt Gen Surachate said.
Within 24 to 72 hours of applications being submitted people can receive their travel authorization online by using this new system.
Visitors to Thailand will be able to use the eVOA services from 30 days to at least 24 hours before arriving at thailandevoa.vfservisa.com according to Pol Lt Gen Surachate.
Until the website is completed the site displays a "coming on Feb 14" notice.
Payment can be made by using Mastercard, Visa and Union Pay credit or debit cards. Also accepted is WeChat Pay and Alipay, said Pol Lt Gen Surachate.
At the beginning of the rollout the fast-entry online visa system will be available to nationals from Andorra, Bhutan, Bulgaria, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania,... . Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan, according to Pol Lt Gen Surachate.
Four main international airports will accept the new eVOA: Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK), Don Mueang International Airport (DMK), Phuket International Airport (HKT), or Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX).
More airports will have this service available later this year, officials said.
Recently the government waived the 2,000 baht visa-on-arrival fee until April 30 for visitors from the same 21 countries. This was a bid to boost tourism during the Chinese New Years holiday in February, and in the second week of April the Thai New Years Songkran.
It is expected there would be a significant impact on tourism to Thailand with the exemption of fees for visa-on-arrival and the eVOA service, said Weerasak Kowsurat Tourism and Sports Minister.
"Thailand is the first country to offer this eVOA service. Together with the exemption of fees ... it will help boost tourism, which represents around 20% of GDP," he said.
A record of 38.27 million tourists was welcomed in Thailand last year, up 7.5% from 2017.