Thailand introduces Visa-Free entry for Sri Lankan tourists and expands travel benefits

Visa free stamp

The Thai cabinet has implemented several visa measures to boost tourism, extending benefits to travelers from 36 additional countries, including Sri Lanka. These measures will accommodate visitors planning to stay in Thailand for over 30 days.

Starting June 1, the number of countries eligible for visa-free entry will expand from 57 to 93, with the duration of visa-free stays extended to 60 days. Newly eligible countries include Sri Lanka, Laos, Albania, Cambodia, China, India, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Morocco, Panama, Romania, and Uzbekistan.

The new regulations also include expanded visa-free and visa-on-arrival schemes, extended stays for students, and reduced health insurance requirements for retirees. The Thai cabinet has approved visa-on-arrival for 31 countries, up from the previous 19.

Digital nomads can now obtain multiple-entry five-year visas, allowing them to stay for up to 180 days each visit, with one extension permitted within the five-year period for up to an additional 180 days. Previously, stays were limited to two 30-day periods.

Government spokesperson Chai Watcharong highlighted that these changes are aimed at attracting digital nomads, remote workers, freelancers, and individuals interested in learning Muay Thai and Thai cuisine.

Foreign graduates can now stay in Thailand for a full year after completing their studies, facilitating job searches, especially in high-demand fields. This is a significant extension from the previous requirement of immediate departure. Currently, around 40,000 foreign students are studying in Thailand.

In a notable change for long-stay tourists aged 50 and above, the required health insurance coverage will be reduced to THB 440,000 (USD 12,000) from the previous requirement of THB 3 million (about USD 81,820). This change will take effect in September.

Additionally, the cabinet has approved expanding e-visa application services at Thai consulates and embassies, increasing the number of locations from 47 to 94, starting in December.

Aiming to attract over 36 million international visitors this year to drive economic growth, Thailand has already welcomed more than 14.32 million foreign tourists as of May 26, generating over THB 682.9 billion (over USD 18 billion).

Following a meeting on Tuesday, Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin announced that the extension of visa-free stays from 30 days to 60 days will come into effect in June. The government will also increase the number of visa-free countries from 57 to 93, including Cambodia, India, Kazakhstan, Laos, and others. Additionally, the number of countries eligible for visa-on-arrival will increase from 19 to 31.