Thailand: Three years to introduce eVisa?

Proudly contributed by Don Ross

Company contributor TTR Weekly

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Following the eVisa-on-Arrival service introduced by Thailand’s Immigration Bureau, last month, a foreign office official confirmed an eVisa service for the standard 30-day tourist visa will be available online next year.

Billed the “Thai E-VISA”, deputy permanent secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thanee Thongpakdee, headed the 3 December launch briefing, while Department of Consular Affairs’ director-general, Chairi Archjananum and Kasikorn Bank managing director, Predee Daochai, made a detailed presentation.

Chairi called the “Thai e-Visa a new dimension for the visa application that allows visitors to fill out the electronic form and make an e-payment anytime regardless of embassy working hours, while the system will comply with world-class secure payment technology, through Kasikorn Bank.”

Currently, the Immigration Bureau, in cooperation with Samart Group, offers a 15-day eVisa-on-Arrival for 21 nationalities. They can now complete the process online in advance, which speeds up the final processing of their visa-on-arrival at four airports in Thailand (Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports, Phuket and Chiang Mai) to around one minute, or so officials claimed.

The electronic visa-on-arrival service is offered by , but the manual VOA service is still available at airports for those not prepared to use the eVisa service, which requires a credit card pre-payment of a TH525 administration fee. The actual visa fee of THB2,000 has been waived for two months up to the end of January 2019.

However, the eVisa announced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is an entirely different project. Due to launch 15 February 2019, it will be available for visitors who currently apply for a tourist visa at an embassy or consulate. They will no longer need to physically visit a consulate, or embassy, to file their visa application for a 60-day stay.

Travellers will still be able to apply for a tourist visa in person at the nearest embassy, or consulate, if they are not comfortable making online payments.

Thai embassies and consulates in China will roll out the first eVisa service in February followed by the UK and France in April.

Visitors from the UK and France  are also eligible for a visa-free stay, which for shorter stays is by far the most popular choice. Visa-free entry for a stay of up to 30 days is valid for 57 nationalities.

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