Visitors from a total of currently 19 countries, such as China, India, Taiwan and Ukraine, whose nationals don’t qualify for the visa exemption scheme (which allows tourists from most Western countries to visit the kingdom without a visa), may apply for a so-called „visa on arrival“ in Thailand.
Rather than applying for a tourist visa at a Thai consulate in their home country, they can apply for a visa on arrival upon arrival at Suvarnabhumi Airport or any other Thai border checkpoint. (For a list of countries, whose nationals may apply for a visa on arrival, please scroll down to the bottom of this post.)
A visa on arrival is good for a single-entry 15-day stay in Thailand and cannot be extended locally. In addition, it is also liable to fees.
And here come the bad news: This entry fee will soon double after the Thai cabinet has agreed to “increase the fee for visa on arrival from 1,000 baht to 2,000 baht.”
While a date when the fee rise will go into effect has apparently not been set yet, Thai PBS quote a government spokesman as saying that
the reason for the doubling of the visa on arrival fee stemmed from the fact that many tourists tend to apply for visas at immigration checkpoints rather than applying for visas at Thai embassies or consular offices.
This, he said, has caused congestion at immigration checkpoints and also compromised immigration checks which may pose a security threat and allow undesirable elements to enter the country more easily.
While that’s in line with the “Good guys in, Bad guys out” slogan currently deployed by Thai immigration to explain the new overstay rules, let’s assume that aside from security reasons and extra workload at immigration checkpoints, the main reason for the fee rise is to increase revenue particularly from Chinese and Indian visitors.
The world’s two most heavily populated countries accounted for over 30% of all international tourist arrivals in Thailand last year. Only Chinese visitors accounted for more than eight million of the kingdom’s reported 29.88 million tourist arrivals in 2015. It’s a simple calculation …
Visitors from the following 19 countries may currently apply for a “visa on arrival” and will soon have to dig deeper into their pockets:
Andorra, Bulgaria, Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan.