What’s happening with Thailand’s 45 day visa exemption policy?

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) wants to see 45-day visa-free stays for tourists from 64 countries extended until the end of 2023 to boost tourism recovery. The TAT proposed the extension in January, but the policy is set to end this Friday, March 31, and the Cabinet still hasn’t reached a decision on whether it will be continued, the TAT told The Thaiger today.

The Cabinet convenes on Tuesdays, so perhaps a decision will be made next week, or perhaps a decision was made yesterday and hasn’t yet been announced. The TAT advised The Thaiger that the decision is expected to come “in April.”

Right now there is no telling whether tourists (from 64 countries) entering Thailand from April 1 will be granted 30 or 45 visa-free days in the kingdom.

In September last year, Thailand’s Cabinet approved the temporary extension of visa on arrival and visa exemption on arrival.

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Between October 1, 2022 – March 31, 2023, foreign tourists arriving in Thailand are eligible to stay in the kingdom – without payment – as follows, depending on their passport country…

  • Visa on Arrival stays will be extended from 15 days to 30 days. Passport holders from 19 countries are eligible for Visa on Arrival.
  • Visa Exemption stays for passport holders from 64 countries that have bilateral agreements with Thailand will be extended from 30 days to 45 days.

If the policy ends on Friday, tourists from 64 countries will go back to being granted a maximum of 30 visa-free days in Thailand.

Hopefully, the Cabinet sees the economic potential in extending the 45-day visa exemption on arrival policy until the year’s end.

Last year, the TAT predicted that extended stays would spur tourists to stay in Thailand for an extra five days on average. If each tourist spent 4000 – 5000 baht per day, that’s an extra 20,000 baht pumped into the economy per tourist for every trip made to Thailand.

Thailand surpassed its target of 10 million tourists last year, which the TAT largely attributed to 45-day stays. The Thaiger will update the story once the Cabinet decides on the fate of the much-loved 45-day visa exemption on arrival policy.

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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