Thailand introduces visa-free entry for Sri Lankan tourists

(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) –  The Thai cabinet has adopted multiple visa measures to stimulate tourism, which will benefit tourists from 36 more countries including Sri Lankan travelers who may have plan to stay in the kingdom for more than 30 days.

From 1 June, the number of countries eligible for visa-free entry will increase from 57 to 93, with the duration of visa-free stays extended to 60 days.

Newly added countries include Sri Lanka, Laos, Albania, Cambodia, China, India, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Morocco, Panama, Romania, Uzbekistan, and others.

These measures, including new visa-free and visa-on-arrival schemes, also extended stays for students and reduced health insurance requirements for retirees.

The Thai cabinet also approved visa-on-arrival for a total of 31 countries, up from the previous 19.

Meanwhile, digital nomads can now obtain multiple-entry five-year visas. With this type of visa, visitors can stay for up to 180 days each time, with one extension allowed within the five-year period for stays of up to 180 days, extendable for another 180 days. Previously, these tourists were only permitted to stay for two 30-day periods.

Government spokesperson Chai Watcharong emphasized that these regulations target digital nomads, remote workers, freelancers, as well as individuals keen on learning Muay Thai and Thai cuisine, with the goal of attracting them to the region.

Furthermore, foreign graduates can now stay in the country for a full year after completing their studies, a significant extension from the previous requirement of immediate departure. Chai mentioned that this change facilitates job searches, especially in high-demand fields. Currently, approximately 40,000 foreign students are studying in the country.

In another notable change, tourists aged 50 and above seeking long-stay visas will now only need health insurance coverage of THB 440,000 (USD 12,000), down from the previous requirement of THB 3 million (about USD 81,820). This change will come into effect in September.

Additionally, the cabinet approved expanding e-visa application services at Thai consulates and embassies, increasing the number of locations from 47 to 94, starting in December.

Aiming to attract over 36 million international visitors this year to drive economic growth, Thailand has already welcomed more than 14.32 million foreign tourists as of 26 May, generating over THB 682.9 billion (over USD 18 billion).

After a meeting on Tuesday, Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin revealed that extension of the period of visa-free stays from 30 days to 60 days will come into effect in June.

The government will also increase the number of visa-free countries from 57 to 93, including Cambodia, India, Kazakhstan, Laos, etc. Countries eligible for visa arrivals will also be added from 19 to 31.

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