Thailand expands visa-free access for tourists from China and Kazakhstan

Passport holders from both countries will be able to enter and stay in Thailand for up to 30 days without visas.

The Royal Thai Government has extended visa-free access for tourists from China and Kazakhstan, effective from today onwards.

Thailand-China mutual visa exemption

Thailand and China signed an agreement for a mutual visa entry for citizens of both countries on 28 January 2024, which officially comes into effect today (Mar 1).

The agreement exempts holders of valid Thai ordinary passports and valid Chinese passports for public affairs and ordinary passports from visa requirement for entering, exiting, or transiting the other country’s territory for a 30-day stay. Cumulative stays must not exceed 90 days in any 180-day period.

This is except for those with the purposes of residing or engaging in employment, study, media activities or other activities that require prior approval from competent authorities of the other country.

Thailand previously granted temporary visa exemption for Chinese tourists from 25 September 2023 to 29 February 2024.

China is one of Thailand’s largest markets. In 2023, the number of Chinese arrivals in Thailand reached 3.5 million, making it the second largest market after Malaysia and before South Korea, India, and Russia. From 1 January to 26 February 2024, Thailand welcomed 1.12 million Chinese arrivals.

Extended visa exemption for Kazakhstani tourists

The previous temporary visa exemption scheme for Kazakhstani tourists, which started on 25 September 2023, ended on 29 February 2024.

Given the significant increase in the number of Kazakhstani tourists to Thailand, the Thai cabinet has approved an extension of the temporary visa exemption for visitors from Kazakhstan until 31 August 2024.

They will be granted a temporary visa exemption for a 30-day stay on tourism purpose.

Kazakhstan is one of Thailand’s fastest growing markets and is the second largest market in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), after Russia.

In 2023, Thailand recorded 172,489 visitors from Kazakhstan, representing a 190% growth over 2022. From 1 January to 26 February 2024, the number increased 11% over the same period in 2023 to 55,566 arrivals. (TAT)