Thailand Launches Six-Month Multiple-Entry Tourist Visa

Thai MFA announcement on Facebook

Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed today on its Facebook page that starting from November 13, visitors of any nationality can apply for a “new” multiple-entry tourist visa that will be valid for six months.
As with all other tourist visa, the permitted duration of stay per entry will however be only 60 days, which we assume can be extended for an extra 30 days at a local immigration office (1,900 Baht fee).
So yes, the initial reports about a new “six month” visa early in August were, as we anticipated then, much ado about nothing. In fact, this “new” visa is nothing but a multiple-entry tourist visa which is valid for six months in total, however you’re not allowed to stay in the kingdom for longer than 60 or 90 days at a time.
From the Facebook page of the Thai foreign ministry:

The multiple-entry tourist visa (METV), costing 5,000 baht, will grant travelers multiple entries during a 6-month period, for up to 60 days per entry.
All foreign nationals are eligible to apply for METV.
Thailand’s METV will be available from 13th November 2015.

As the Bangkok Post comments today:

Unlike current tourist visas, which offer from one to three entries, the six-month multiple-entry visa will allow unlimited border crossings during the validity period. However, to prevent foreigners from basically living in Thailand on tourist visas, each entry will be limited to 60 days.

So no, if you were looking forward an easy solution to stay in Thailand long-term, this “new” visa won’t really serve your purpose any better than an ordinary double- or triple-entry tourist visa (the latter are only available in a few number of countries.)
At the very most, that’s if you activated a final entry on the last day of the six months that your visa is valid, you might be able to stay in Thailand for eight or nine months in total, but would have to complete at least two border runs and visit your local immigration office two or three times in between.
Another obvious drawback is that a multiple-entry tourist visa will cost a whopping 5,000 Baht, versus 1,000 Baht for a single-entry and 2,000 Baht for a double-entry tourist visa.
To sum it up: Not would-be Thailand “long stayers” who don’t qualify for a non-immigrant visa of either type will benefit from the new visa, but “genuine” tourists who plan to travel around Southeast Asia for a couple of months a year and visit Thailand repeatedly.
The new tourist visa is what the name suggests – a visa designed for tourists. Period.

UPDATE – It’s all even worse: The new multiple-entry visa can be applied for only in your home country or country of residence and you will need to show a bank deposit of at least 200,000 Baht (or the equivalent in your home currency) in a bank account in your home country.
What is more, with the launch of the new multiple-entry visa on November 13, 2015, double- and triple-entry tourist visa will no longer be available either:

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