The government of Thailand finally announced a visa-waiver scheme for Indian passport holders. Starting November 10, 2023, Indian nationals can visit Thailand for 30 days, without a visa. This waiver will be in place for six months, up to May 10, 2024.
What Visa-Free Entry Means
What visa-free entry means is, if you have an Indian passport, after arrival at a Thai airport, you can go straight to immigration. You don’t have to go to the visa on arrival counter, or any visa counter for that matter. If you are arriving within the specified dates, you don’t need a Thailand visa.
This visa exemption is significant for two reasons: One, it increases the period of stay to 30 days, which was 15 days under the visa on arrival scheme. And two, it results in a direct saving of the visa fee, which was a minimum of 2000 Baht, and 2200 Baht if someone opted for the fast track visa.
Visa-Free Entry Rules and Requirements
Visa-free travel does not mean there are no rules or formalities left to comply with. When you go to the immigration counter for the entry stamp, there will be a set of rules and requirements to follow, as under:
1. Passport with a remaining validity of six months, and two blank pages.
2. Boarding card of the arrival flight
3. Confirmed return or onward journey air ticket
4. Confirmed hotel bookings for the entire period of stay in Thailand
5. Proof of funds
6. The purpose of the visit must be tourism only.
Let us see these requirements in detail:
Your passport should have a minimum remaining validity of six months on the day of your arrival in Thailand. The passport should also have at least two blank pages for immigration stamps.
2. Boarding Card
The boarding card of the flight on which you arrive in Thailand is an important document which shows the details of your inward travel, and is examined by the immigration officer. Keep your boarding card safe, and present it when asked for.
3. Return Air Ticket
You need to have a confirmed return or onward journey air ticket for travel within 30 days, including the dates of arrival and exit. A plan to exit Thailand via a land crossing may not be accepted. Carry a printed copy.
4. Confirmed Hotel Bookings
Confirmed and verifiable hotel bookings are needed for the entire period of stay in Thailand. Carry printed copies of all hotel confirmation vouchers or emails.
5. Proof of funds
Any special proof of funds requirement for travel under the visa-waiver scheme as not been announced. However, going by the funds requirement specified for the other countries which enjoy visa-exemption in Thailand, you need to have at least 10,000 Baht per person and 20,000 Baht per family.
The proof of funds, if demanded, has to be shown in cash only. It can be either in Thai Baht, or USD, or another popular currency. If you are planning to stay longer than 15 days, you may like to carry some extra money.
6. Purpose of Visit
The purpose of your visit has to be tourism only. Any type of employment in Thailand is prohibited on tourist visa.
I have posted a YouTube video on this visa-free travel scheme. You may watch it at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnGYiwdVOOg
This will be the first experience of visa-free travel to Thailand for Indian passport holders, and it is not clear how strict the Thai immigration officers will be. Whether they will add a document verification step before the immigration counter is also not known, though it is a possibility.
I will be traveling to Thailand under this visa-free scheme in December 2023, and will report any additional information based on my own experience. Expect this article to be updated soon.
Thank you for reading. For any more information, clarification, or feedback, please write a comment below. I will be happy to respond.