From April 1st onwards, visitors from mainland Europe, the UK, the US, Australia, Saudi Arabia, and other countries will only be allowed a 30-day stay in Thailand if they choose to enter the country without obtaining a prior visa as the 45-day visa exemption is officially over.
This policy change is a revision to the previous regulations before October 1st, 2022, when the 45-day exemption was implemented as a temporary measure to draw in more tourists until the end of March 2023.
The cancellation is likely to affect many visitors who have been planning to visit Thailand and stay for longer than 30 days. Despite extensive efforts by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, tourists of around 60 countries who are allowed to enter without a visa will no longer be granted a 45-day stay. However, they will still have the option to extend their stay once for an additional 30 days if they go through Immigration, meaning they will be able to tour the country for a maximum of 60 days instead of 75.
Visa-exempt countries will also have another option to obtain a 30-day addition if they leave the country and then return even briefly. However, land border crossings can only be done twice per calendar year, and while there are no official restrictions on entry by air, immigration officers can refuse tourists’ entry if they deem it necessary for individuals to obtain a formal visa from a Thai embassy beforehand.
Meanwhile, visa-on-arrival from 15 to 30 days, has finished and has returned to fifteen days for countries who are considered visa on arrival.
There was no official announcement from the Thai government on the change, which isn’t surprising as the government is currently in a caretaker role awaiting the first major general elections in May.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand reportedly plans to approach the new government after the elections to potentially change the visa program once again to attract more tourists.
With Parliament currently dissolved and the government in a caretaker position until May elections, finding a way to legally extend the program may have been difficult, said some political analysts on social media. Therefore, the original planned date of the end of the program was allowed to expire.