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Key changes to visas and immigration in Thailand

More visas for people visiting Thailand

Some major shake ups for immigration rules and visas in Thailand. The changes were announced after a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday. The changes, affecting visa exemptions and visa on arrivals (mostly for tourists) will come into effect from June 1, this Saturday. Some of the other changes, affecting long stay visas, including ‘retirement’ visas, will come into effect from September this year.

Here’s a summary of some of the main changes…

Visa exemption and Visa On Arrival (for tourists)

• Visa exemption for tourists, business visitors, short-term migrant workers from 93 countries (that’s up from 57 countries before), allowing stays of up to 60 days (up from 30 days, in most cases).
• Expansion of the Visa on Arrival (VOA) to 31 countries (up from 19 countries).

Introduction of the Destination Thailand Visa (DTV)

Introduction of the Destination Thailand Visa for foreigners seeking to stay in Thailand for a ‘workcation’, up to 12 months in total over 5 years (180 days + 180 days). This addresses the need for a ‘digital nomad’ visa.Destination Thailand Visa (DTV) is designed for…

• Skilled foreign talent, digital nomads, freelancers, those engaging in activities such as learning Muay Thai, cooking, sports training, medical treatment, seminars, arts and music events.
• It also includes the spouses and legal children (under 20) of the DTV holder.
• Proof of financial support or a guarantee of at least 500,000 baht for the duration of stay.

DTV allows a stay of up to 180 days, with a visa fee of 10,000 baht, valid for 5 years. The DTV can be extended ONCE for another 180 days with an additional fee of 10,000 baht.

Improved benefits for foreign students (to be implemented from September to December 2024)

• Foreign students pursuing bachelor’s degrees or higher with a Non-Immigrant Visa (ED) will be able to find work and stay in Thailand after graduation.
• Extend stay of 12 months after graduation for job hunting, travelling or other activities, with certification from the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation.

Changes to long stay visas

• Restructuring and reducing the number of non-immigrant visa categories from 17 to 7, starting in September 2024.
• Adjusting the criteria and conditions for the Long Stay visa for elderly people (‘retirement’ visa) who wish to spend their retirement in Thailand, starting in September 2024.
• Reducing the health insurance requirement for Non-Immigrant visa (O-A) from 3,000,000 baht to 40,000 baht for outpatients and 400,000 baht for inpatients.
• Expanding the e-Visa service from 47 to 94 Thai embassies, consulates, and trade and economic offices worldwide by December 2024.

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