Thailand Eases Visa Rules to Boost Economy Urgently

Tourists crowded at Suvarnabhumi Airport on February 25, 2024. (Photo by Pravit Rojanaphruk)

BANGKOK – The Thai government has announced a three-phase economic stimulus plan, including easing visa rules to boost tourism and attract more foreign visitors. The decision was made during a Cabinet meeting on May 28, as the country faces a prolonged economic slowdown, low GDP growth, and increasing public debt.

The Cabinet meeting reached a unanimous conclusion that Thailand needs to generate new income by fully accelerating tourism policies, which are considered the only economic engine that will yield rapid returns. Key points of the plan are divided into three phases for 2024-2025.

The government aims to generate this short-term measures no less than 3 trillion baht (81.91 billion USD) in tourism revenue by the end of 2024.

Short-term measures:


  • Visa exemption for tourists, business visitors, and short-term workers from 93 countries (up from 57), allowing stays of up to 60 days.
  • Expansion of Visa on Arrival (VOA) to 31 countries (up from 19).
  • Introduction of a new visa category, Destination Thailand Visa (DTV), for foreigners seeking to stay in Thailand for an extended period and work remotely (workcation).
Koh Samui

Destination Thailand Visa (DTV) eligibility and benefits:

  • Skilled foreign talent, digital nomads, freelancers, and those engaging in activities such as learning Muay Thai, cooking, sports training, medical treatment, seminars, and arts and music events.
  • Spouses and legal children (under 20) of DTV holders.
    Proof of financial support or a guarantee of at least 500,000 baht for the duration of stay.
  • DTV allows a stay of up to 180 days, with a visa fee of 10,000 baht, valid for 5 years. The stay can be extended once for another 180 days with an additional fee of 10,000 baht.

Improved benefits for foreign students:

  • Foreign students pursuing bachelor’s degrees or higher with a Non-Immigrant Visa (ED) will have an easier time finding work and staying in Thailand after graduation.
  • Extended stay of 1 year after graduation for job hunting, traveling, or other activities, with certification from the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation.
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Medium-term measures:

It will be implemented from September to December 2024.

  • Restructuring and reducing the number of Non-Immigrant visa categories from 17 to 7, starting in September 2024.
  • Adjusting the criteria and conditions for the Long Stay visa for elderly people who wish to spend their retirement in Thailand, starting in September 2024.
  • Reducing the health insurance requirement for Non-Immigrant visa (O-A) from 3,000,000 baht to pre-COVID-19 levels: 40,000 baht for outpatients and 400,000 baht for inpatients.
  • Expanding the e-Visa service from 47 to 94 Thai embassies, consulates, and trade and economic offices worldwide by December 2024.

Long-term measures:


It will be fully implemented by June 2025.

  • Developing an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system for foreign nationals eligible for visa exemption.
  • Using technology and innovation to enhance the screening of foreign nationals by integrating data with the Immigration Bureau.

Government spokesperson Chai Wacharong stated that while these measures to facilitate tourism will result in a loss of approximately 12.3 billion baht (335.7 million USD) in government revenue annually, the expected return from increased tourism, estimated at 800 billion to 1 trillion baht (21.8 – 27.3 billion USD), led the Cabinet to approve the measures.