Thailand Extends Visa on Arrival Fee Exemption For Tourists From 21 Countries Including China & India

Thailand will be extending their Visa on Arrival Fee Waiver for tourists from 21 countries and regions, including China, India who can enjoy the visa-on-arrival fee exemption until late April this year.

The cabinet approved a proposal to waive VOA fees from January 13th to April 30th 2019 in a bid to attract foreign tourists during Chinese New Year and the popular Songkran Festival.

The current promotion of waived Visa on Arrival fees in an attempt to drive tourism started on 15 November, 2018, and was supposed to end on the 13th of January, 2019 but the promotion was obviously successful which prompted politicians and Tourism officials to initiate an extension of the campaign until the end of April 2019.

Here is the previous announcement from the Tourism Authority of Thailand:

From 15 November, 2018, to 13 January, 2019, citizens of Andora, Bulgaria, Bhutan, China including Taiwan, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan will be exempted from the 2,000 Baht visa-on-arrival fee for the purpose of touring in Thailand not more than 15 days.

According to information from Xinhua News Agency (access here) the Thai Government has decided to extend the campaign until April 30th 2019.

… The cabinet approved a draft ministerial regulation proposed by the Immigration Bureau, which said the current visa-on-arrival fee exemption that started from Nov. 15 last year worked well. …

“We continue the visa-on-arrival fee exemption to attract more tourists to visit Thailand during the festivals to be celebrated in the kingdom, such as the Chinese New Year, and Songkran to boost our tourism continually”, said Thai Minister of Tourism and Sports Weerasak Kowsurat to media on Tuesday.

The proposal still has to be released on the Royal Gazette to formally come into effect.

Tourists from 21 countries and regions, including China, India and Ethiopia can enjoy the visa-on-arrival fee exemption until late April this year.

This will be very popular with tourists especially those from China and India which are the two most prevalent nationalities of tourists eligible for Visa on Arrival.

There are certain rules that tourists have to follow when applying for a Visa on Arrival:

The VISA ON ARRIVAL allows passport holders of 21* countries to enter Thailand under this rule provided that they meet these requirements:

The visit is strictly for tourism purposes.

The passport must be genuine and should be valid for at least 30 days.

You must have a valid address in Thailand whether a hotel or apartment that can be verified.

You must have a confirmed return ticket to show that they are flying out of Thailand within 15 days of entry, as appropriate. Open tickets do not qualify. Travelling overland out of Thailand by train, bus, etc to Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia (including en route to Singapore), Myanmar, etc IS NOT ACCEPTED as proof of exiting Thailand.

You may be asked to show your flight ticket on entering Thailand. If you do not possess a flight ticket to show that you will be exiting Thailand within 15 days of entry you will be most likely refused entry.

It will also be necessary to prove that you have funds of at least 10,000 THB per person and 20,000 THB per family during your stay in Thailand.

A fee of 2,000 THB is payable upon entry and is subject to change without notice. It must be paid in cash and Thai currency only.

Keep in mind that at Bangkok Airport there is NO ATM in the arrivals area before immigration, only money exchange counters of various banks. You therefore need to bring cash in your home or at least international currency. The counters close to the VOA channel are usually extremely busy so if you indeed need to change money do so in one of the other concourses leading towards the immigration area.


It’s great that VOA eligible nationals can continue to enjoy this fee waiver even though the process is still sort of a pain and my friends stood in line for three hours in late December which was absolutely crazy.

Hopefully this will be figured out properly so that there aren’t any surprised and people are suddenly asked to pay. In any case I recommend to pay special attention to the fact that there are no ATM’s before immigration so keep cash ready just in case you need to exchange money.

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