Thai Cabinet Approves Longer-Stay Visas To Increase Tourism

The Thai cabinet on Tuesday approved a series of new visa promotions to attract more tourists, including visa-free and visa-on-arrival schemes, longer stays for students, as well as reduced compulsory health insurance for retirees.

Government spokesman Chai Wacharonke said that the Foreign Ministry proposed these measures to attract as many visitors as possible, as the national economy relies heavily on tourism.

He stated that the number of countries eligible for visa-free entry would increase from 57 to 93. The 36 new countries include Albania, Cambodia, China, India, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Laos, Mexico, Morocco, Panama, Romania, Sri Lanka, and Uzbekistan.

Additionally, visitors’ stays under this scheme were extended to 60 days, Mr. Chai announced.

The cabinet also approved visa-on-arrival for 31 countries, up from 19 countries previously.

For those who wish to work and visit tourist destinations, five-year visas will be available, allowing stays of up to 180 days, extendable for another 180 days. Previously, these visitors were only entitled to two stays of 30 days each.

“This measure targets digital nomads, remote workers, and freelancers, as well as those who want to learn Muay Thai and Thai cuisine. They can both learn and tour places,” said Mr. Chai. He called it the “Destination Thailand Visa.”

Foreign students in higher education can stay for one year after graduation instead of having to leave the country immediately after finishing their courses.

“They can find work during the extended period, especially in the fields that we need,” the spokesman said, noting there are about 40,000 such foreign students in the country.

These new visa measures will take effect on Saturday, June 1, of this year.

Regarding retirement

Visitors aged 50 years or more who want long-stay visas currently need health insurance coverage worth 3 million baht.

Under the cabinet’s resolution on Tuesday, each long-stay visa applicant in this age group will need health coverage of only 440,000 baht—400,000 baht for inpatient treatment and 40,000 baht for outpatient cover.

This change will be effective for long-stay applicants from September to December, Mr. Chai said.

The cabinet also approved expanding e-visa application services at Thai consulates and embassies from 47 to 94 locations, starting in September, the spokesman said.