Integrity Legal

28th April 2010

Recently, the website Thaivisa.com has reported that the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced that the Tourist visa waiver program will be extended. The following is a direct quote from Thaivisa.com:

“Thailand extends tourist visa fee exemption scheme until 31 March 2011

BANGKOK: — The Royal Thai Government has extended the tourist visa fee exemption scheme that had expired in March 2010. As a result of the decision, foreign citizens that qualify for a tourist visa are not subjected to a visa fee. The exemption scheme will be in effect from 11 May 2010 until 31 March 2011 (the fee exemption is not extended to other types of visas).

For further information please contact the Consular Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand (662-981-7171)or the Royal Thai Missions or visit Visas and Travel Documents webpage.”

Although the impact of this program remains to be seen it can be assumed that this can only benefit the Thai Tourism sector, particularly in light of the recent disturbances in Bangkok. Hopefully, this fee waiver, along with a concerted effort by Thai Tourism authorities will lead to an increase in the annual number of tourists traveling to the Kingdom of Thailand.

It should be noted that this will likely not have any impact upon the fees associated with other categories such as the O visa and the ED visa. However, business travelers to Thailand still seem to be applying for the Thai business visa with the same frequency as was the case prior to the recent slump of travelers to Thailand.

Those interested in obtaining a Thai tourist visa should contact the nearest Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate. In the immediate vicinity of the Kingdom of Thailand the most popular destinations for “visa runs” are Laos, Malaysia, and Myanmar. Although Cambodia is a frequent destination for Thai visa runners it is not generally the location of choice for those wishing to obtain a new visa, but is instead rather popular for those who simply wish to travel to the border and get stamped in and out of Thailand.

The Royal Thai Consulate in Penang was once a popular locale for “visa runs,” but fewer visa runners seem to be using this post since they seem to only allow issuance of one Tourist visa per applicant. Recently the Thai Embassy Kuala Lumpur began requiring a that applicants have a work permit with a rather lengthy period of validity remaining  when applying for a 1 year Thailand business visa. This has caused many who seek 1 year Thai visas to opt to seek such travel documents at other Consulates.

For further information please see: Thailand Tourist visa.



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