Today is D-Day for the launch of a new visa-on-arrival system at Chiang Mai International Airport. EVisa on Arrival (EVOA) is now available for nationals of the 21 countries required to have visas-on-arrival to enter Thailand. The new visa option enables tourists to pre-apply for their visas online and then be fast-tracked through special immigration lanes at Chiang Mai Airport upon arrival.
The Immigration Bureau of Thailand’s portal for EVOA applications is www.evisathailand.com. Applications can be made up to 30 days before the travellers’ scheduled date of arrival in Thailand. The deadline for applications is 24 hours before arrival time. Visas-on-arrival give travellers a maximum stay of 15 days in Thailand. Those wishing to stay longer need to apply for tourist visas from Thai embassies or consulates.
An added incentive to take advantage of the EVOA option is that the THB2,000 fee is currently being waived. An update published in the Royal Gazette earlier in November stated that visas-on-arrival would be free for all applicants between the 15 November 2018 and the 13 January 2019. The free visa-exempt entry granted to citizens of 44 countries including Australia, the US, the UK and the majority of most European nations is unchanged, Citizens of these countries still get 30-day permits to stay at all official entry points to Thailand.
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After a short trial run at Bangkok’s two airports, Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang, EVOA was officially launched last Wednesday by Immigration Bureau chief Surachate Hakpal. He told reporters the concept of the online visa application system was ‘Rapid and Convenient Entry to Thailand’ and claimed the dedicated immigration lanes at participating airports would slash visa processing times to one minute. At present, Chiang Mai, Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang and Phuket are the only airports offering this express service, but Krabi is ‘coming soon’.
The 21 countries and territories covered by the visa-on-arrival option are China, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia and India plus Andorra, Bulgaria, Bhutan, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, the Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Romania, San Marino, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.