Early this month, the Immigration Bureau of Thailand has announced an easier and more systematic way of applying for the Visa on Arrival (VOA) prior to entering the Kingdom. Herein, citizens from eligible countries can now start their application ahead of time by completing the VOA form online.
This new online system is an upgrade from the traditional procedure wherein the applicants would have to complete the entire process at the immigration section in international airports when they arrive in Thailand. But now, by simply following the instructions at the Thai immigration website, the application for visa on arrival becomes a lot easier:
- First, make sure that you meet all the eligibilities for the VOA application which can be found on the Thai immigration website (www.immigration.go.th). If you are qualified, you can start the process and fill out the online VOA application form. You will receive a “Transaction Reference Number” (TRN) once completed. The application form will then be ready for printing which you will need to bring with you when you travel to Thailand.
- Upon arrival at Suvarnabhumi airport in Thailand, there are two service counters where you can proceed to obtain the VOA stamp. This is much less complicated than the old process because your application has already been registered and therefore your information will just automatically be pulled out from their database. You have to make sure that you bring the printed VOA form, especially when you are travelling as a group.
- Finally, once the immigration has confirmed your information and received the visa fee, you will then receive your 15-day entry stamp. Yes, that is right! Only 15 days limited stay is permitted for VOA application.
To ensure a hassle-free travel, make sure that you are aware of the following important reminders:
- You must be a citizen of any of the eligible countries permitted by the Ministry of Interior.
- Your passport must be valid for at least 30 days upon your entry.
- You must have a return ticket which will not exceed the 15-day limit of your stamp. Please note that visa on arrival stamp (VOA) is only valid on the date of issue.
- You must declare an address that can be verified.
- You must pay the visa fee using Thai currency only. This fee is non-refundable.
- You must have sufficient financial capacities.
The Thai Immigration Bureau is expecting that this new system would encourage more tourists to come to the country. Though this new system is now enforced, this does not mean that you can no longer do the VOA application at the airport. But if you want to save time, it is good to take advantage of this new online application.
It is always wise to check your visa options first before travelling. Not only will it eliminate any possible problem along the way, but it will also make things more conducive to your travel expectation. While there are countries of which majority are western travellers who are entitled to get a 30-day stamp upon arrival in Thailand, this new measure by the Thai Immigration Bureau is still a good news for VOA applicants.