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posted by The Bangkok Consultant
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To combat the recent decline in tourism, Thai officials have waived visa fees until end of August 2017 in a bid to encourage more visitors. Thailand visa fees on arrival have also been reduced to 1000 baht per person.
Since the passing of the King in October, Thailand has been giving off the impression that the country is closed to visitors since their official year of mourning has begun. So by waiving these charges, this should send a clear message to the world they are open for business.
In 2015, the new multi-entry (six months’ validity) 60-day tourist visa replaced the old one for long-stay tourists in Thailand. Unfortunately, this new policy, while on the face of it seems to be better, is a right pain in the arse for people wishing to enter Thailand for long periods.
This new visa, known as an METV (Multi-Entry Tourist Visa) is only available from the applicant’s home country and requires a ridiculous amount of paperwork, including proof of income (minimum £5000 in the bank) and proof of residence. The big problem is even if you have sufficient funds to live in Thailand indefinitely, you still need a letter from your employer, and if you don't work you're screwed.
It is understandable, in light of recent terrorist attacks, things need to be tightened up, but it’s no coincidence that since the attacks, and since this new ‘backward’ way of thinking regarding Thai Immigration laws, that tourism has plummeted.
Visitors who are looking to stay for several months in Thailand are well advised to obtain their six months’ validity tourist visa in their home country in advance of their planned holiday. For those with lots of money, a Thai Elite Card can be bought and costs $60,000 for 20 years with a $600 a year membership fee., by which the recipient is guaranteed a visa extendable several times to a maximum of 20 years.
Beware foreigners in Thailand can onlu get a visa on entry on land border crossings twice in a twelve month period, instead of the previous three times permitted. If you need more time than this, it is suggested that you either fly into the country or requisite the appropriate visa before departing your home countries.
The issuing of non-immigrant visas in Thai consulates is not affected by the new regulations, but they have become much harder to obtain. It is currently highly advised to check with your countries Embassy websites and administrative information for up-to-date visa info because although Thailand is notorious for changing its visa regulations, there is the potential it could change frequently, and abruptly, during the next 12 months.
Foreigners wanting to live in Thailand on a one-year visa should also keep up on all new regulations. Foreigners applying for a retirement visa, or renewal, must now provide clear proof of residency through their house book, a chanoot or a rental contract. Other one-year visas including the education visa have also been tightened.