The online application process for the Thailand eVisa will launch in February. Eligible travelers will no longer need to go to an embassy or consulate to apply for a visa.
The Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs will roll out the electronic visas to an increasing number of nationalities over a 3-year period. Chinese citizens will be able to complete the application from February 15 making them the first eligible nationality.
The Thailand visa for British citizens will launch on March 1 and the Thailand visa for French citizens will launch on April 1. The Thai ministry said the Thailand eVisa would eventually be made available to all countries which have diplomatic relations with Thailand.
Chinese citizens were chosen as the first eligible nationality as they are the largest single group who apply for Thai visas.
Chatri Archjananun, director-general of consular affairs department, said: “Last year, there were more than 8 million applicants for Thai visa, of this total, 85% applied for the tourist visa, and Chinese travelers constituted the largest group of applicants.
How will the online visa application work?
It will be quick and straightforward to complete the Thailand visa application online. Applicants will just need to complete the online form by entering a range of information such as their name, address, date of birth, passport details, and travel plans.
Applicants will need to ensure all the information they enter is error-free as small mistakes could lead to complications. The vast majority of applications will be quickly approved.
To submit the application it will also be necessary to make a payment .The visa fees will be payable by credit and debit cards, QR codes, and internet banking. Over 126 different currencies will be accepted.The Ministry said they would accept WeChat Pay, Alipay, and China Union Pay in order to attract more Chinese travelers.
Visitors will be able to enter thailand with their eVisas. The Thai Ministry said that no visa stamp will be required in the traveler’s passport on arrival. Instead, people will be alerted by email when their application is approved and the Immigration Bureau will be automatically notified upon arrival.
Chatri Archjananun said: “The Thai e-Visa a new dimension for the visa application that allows visitors to fill out the electronic form and make an e-payment anytime regardless of embassy working hours.”
Wider plan to boost tourism in Thailand
Tourism plays a key role in the Thai economy, accounting for roughly 20% of the country’s GDP.
The government has been making extra efforts to draw more tourists since October, when the number of monthly visitors dropped for the first time since early 2017. They hope the launch of the Thai visa for Chinese citizens will boost the figures.
“We will conduct a roadshow in January to make sure the world is aware of the new service” said Chatri.
At the moment, many travelers can enter Thailand visa-free for periods of between 14 and 90 days depending on their nationality. Visa-exempt countries include the US, Canda, the UK, France, Germany, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, and Russia.
However, it may be the case that nationalities who are currently visa-exempt will need to apply for an eVisa in the future once the scheme has been expanded. More information about the the eVisa will be announced over the coming weeks including the Thailand visa requirements and the validity of the visas.