Visa Free Entry to Thailand Is Under Scrutiny

On August 20, 2019 the government of Thailand did not support the proposal on granting the citizens of China and India a visa free entry to Thailand. Such is an outcome of a struggle in the Thai cabinet between those, who wanted the visa waiver to bring more money into the country and those who sounded the alarm about possible security risks.

The Tourism and Sports Ministry, which made this proposal, argued that it would be greatly beneficial for the Thai tourism and economy in general. Under the proposal Chinese and Indians would be able to come to the country visa-free and stay for up to 30 days. The visa waiver was planned to be in effect for one year starting from November 1, 2019.

However, the Thai Foreign Affairs Ministry stood up against the initiative. The Foreign Affairs Minister Don Praramudwinai sent a letter to the Prime Minister with his arguments against the proposal. Among them he mentioned several potential risks.

According to Mr. Don Praramudwinai, Thailand is not ready to cope with such an influx of tourists from the two countries, which have more than 1.3 billion people each. Another reason is that in view of the hardships that people experience in China and India, a significant number of them could use the opportunity to come to Thailand and overstay there.

After the cabinet meeting on August 20, 2019 the Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon declared that the proposal on a visa free entry to Thailand was rejected for “security reasons.” At the same time, the program of free visas on arrival for foreign visitors from many countries, including China and India, was extended until April 30, 2020.

The problem of visa waiver for the citizens of China and India is not limited to Thailand. In fact, both Chinese and Indian passports offer few visa free travel benefits. It comes as no surprise that nationals of China and India top the list of those who buy a second citizenship by investment, which provides them with much wider opportunities for travel, including a visa free entry to the Schengen Area and the UK.