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Thailand Confirms New 6-month Visas For Tourists

Thailand’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA) has confirmed that it will be launching a new six-month multiple-entry tourist visa (METV) in November.

In a notice posted to the Thai MFA’s Facebook page Monday, it said: “Thailand will soon grant multiple-entry visas to visitors to facilitate the forthcoming ASEAN Community and to boost Thailand’s tourism industry.”

The introduction of the new visa represents something of a U-turn by Thailand’s military government, which tightened visa rules across the board following the May 2014 coup.

The visa, costing 5,000 baht (US$139), will be available from November 13 this year. “It will grant travelers multiple entries during a 6-month period, for up to 60 days per entry. All foreign nationals are eligible to apply for METV,” the statement said.

The METV was announced in August, and was officially confirmed this week following its publication in the Government Gazette.

Under the current rules, tourist visas are valid for just 60 days, after which visitors must leave the country or apply to a local immigration office for an extension.

The new visa will allow visitors to enter and leave the country as often as they want over the six-month period. It also means tourists can effectively stay in Thailand for six months with the visa, though they will have to leave the country every 60 days to keep the visa valid. In/out ‘border hops’ are a fact of life for many people residing in Thailand, even those with valid, long-term visas.

Thailand’s military government is looking to bolster the country’s multi-billion dollar tourism industry after a sharp fall-off in visitors after last year’s coup.

Source: Asian Correspondent