New visa promotions, retiree insurance reduced
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New visa promotions, retiree insurance reduced

Digital nomads, boxers, learner chefs can get 5-year visas

Visitors queue at immigration at Suvarnabhumi airport. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)
Visitors queue at immigration at Suvarnabhumi airport. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)

The cabinet approved a raft of new visa promotions to attract more tourists on Tuesday, including visa-free and visa-on-arrival schemes and longer stays for students, and a reduced level of compulsory health insurance for retirees.

The Foreign Ministry proposed the measures to attract as many visitors as possible because the national economy depended heavily on tourism, government spokesman Chai Wacharonke said.

He said the number of countries eligible for visa-free entry would increase from 57 to 93. The 36 new countries included Albania, Cambodia, China, India, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Laos, Mexico, Morocco, Panama, Romania, Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan.

Visitors' stays under this scheme were also extended to 60 days, the government spokesman said.

The cabinet also approved visa-on-arrival for 31 countries, up from 19 countries previously.

Visitors who want to work and also visit tourist destinations will be able to get five-year visas valid for stays up to 180 days, extendable for another 180 days. They were previously entitled to only two stays of 30 days each, the government spokesman said.

"This measure targets digital nomads, remote workers and freelancers... as well as those who want to learn Muay Thai and Thai cuisine. They can both learn and tour places," Mr Chai said. He called it Destination Thailand Visa.

Foreign students of higher education could stay for one year after graduation, instead of being required to leave the country immediately finishing their course.

"They can find work during the extended period, especially in the fields that we need," the spokesman said. There were about 40,000 such foreign students in the country, he said.

The above-mentioned measures will take effect on Saturday, June 1.

- Retirement -

Visitors aged 50 years or more who want long-stay visas are currently required to have health insurance coverage worth 3 million baht.

Under the cabinet's resolution on Tuesday, each long-stay visa applicant in this age group is required to have health cover of only 440,000 baht - 400,000 baht for inpatient treatment and 40,000 baht for outpatient cover.

This is effective for long-stay applicants from September to December, Mr Chai said.

The cabinet also approved the expansion of e-visa application services at Thai consulates and embassies from 47 to 94 locations, commencing in September, the spokesman said.

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