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What You Need to Know About Thailand's New Visa Regulations

Where: Thailand
September 2, 2014 at 1:42 PM | by | Comments (0)

In response to decreased tourism returns this year due in part to the country’s political woes, Thailand has doubled the amount of days that tourists are allowed to stay in the country on a visa-exempt stamp from 30 to 60.

Passport holders from 49 nations, including the United States, do not need to apply for a visa to enter Thailand. Instead, travelers from these nations receive a visa-exempt stamp upon arrival which grants them 30 days in the country. Under the new rule, tourists can now obtain a one-time, 30-day extension stamp when their initial 30 days expires by visiting an immigration office. The extension will be granted same-day and costs $59 (1,900 baht).

Most see this move by Thailand as an effort to increase the lengths of stay and amount of money spent in the country, but few think it will pan out for the Land of Smiles. Under the old rules, loopholes were consistently exposed by travelers who simply went on visa runs – exiting and reentering the country without any intention of leaving – to reset their 30-day clock. Many think that the new rule will actually reduce the number of tourists in the country, as those who previously stayed for several months will now be forced to leave after 60 days.

Given that, the decision definitely strikes a chord between tourism and immigration policies, but regardless, the bottom line and end result is that if you want to stay more than a month in Thailand as a general tourist, you can now do so fairly easily. If you plan to work or stay longer than 60-days, you should apply for the proper extended-stay visa (note that the information on this government site has yet to be updated to reflect the change in policy).

[Photo: Thailand Tourism]

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