Thailand is one of the countries which is a favourite travel destination for Indians, given the proximity to India. Now, a long time ago, it used to be cheap to get into Thailand, and visa was literally cheap as well. Visa on arrival costed 1000 Baht back in the day, equaling about INR 2000. Last year, in August, the country decided to double the price of the Visa on Arrival to 2000 Baht, a price I paid on my trip to Thailand last October. At the same time, they killed the priority processing queue which used to cost 200 Thai Baht extra.
This new price was payable for visitors of 18 countries who could avail the VoA facility: Bulgaria, Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Taiwan. Anyhow, it seems the move did not sit very well with the tourists, who may have passed along this country for another one at the moment.
The Free Visa offered through August 2017
So, Thailand has gone back to offering free visas now. Through August 31, 2017, one can get a free Thailand Tourist Visa if you are from one of the following countries: Andorra, 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. Essentially, the same countries who were being charged more earlier.
This Free Visa needs to be processed ahead of your visit to Thailand and can’t be on arrival. Having said that, if you want to get a visa on arrival, there is a drop of charges by 50% (back to 1000 Baht) during this period.
Here is a copy of the order:
Getting the Free Visa
To get the Free Visa issued, you need to be applying via a service provider to your nearest Thai Embassy. You need the following documents to get the Visa:
- Confirmed return air ticket with trip itinerary
- Original passport
- Visa application form, duly filled and signed
- 3 recent passport-size photographs
- Cover letter
- Proof of employment
- Bank statements for the last 3 months reflecting a minimum balance of Rs 45,000, that has been attested by a bank official, or a photocopy of international credit card
- Hotel confirmation letter mentioning the applicant’s name, number, full address and stay duration
You could get your Visa processed via one of the many online services such as Musafir, Yatra, Makemytrip etc or contact your local travel agent as well. The visa comes back processed within a week usually.
The visa comes back pretty quick, and so if you can be away from your passport for a week, you should make use of this free visa scheme, as it would save you at least 1 hour once you arrive in Thailand at the airport.
Have you used the new free-visa promotion for Thailand? How was your experience?