Phuket, one of the most visited destinations in Thailand, has facilitated visas for foreigners, introducing an online visa extension system.
The Immigration Bureau Commissioner, Pol Lt Gen Itthiphon Itthisanronnachai, has announced that foreigners residing in Phuket under any of the 12 designated visa types can now apply online for visa extensions, VisaGuide.World reports.
This measure aligns with Lt Gen Itthiphon’s overarching mission to enhance the Immigration Bureau’s operations and offer a smooth experience for tourists during the upcoming New Year holidays.
The main goal of this measure is to streamline the immigration process, making it efficient and easily accessible. Phuket, the most important tourist destination in the upper southern region, has been prioritized by the government, and policies that facilitate movement, such as visa waivers for tourists from China and India to Thailand, have already been implemented, and, as the tourist’s statistics show, the results are already very productive.
In December, Phuket Airport witnessed the highest influx of tourists from Russia, averaging a remarkable 3,600 arrivals daily. China, the United Kingdom, and India followed closely with daily averages of 1,500, 780, and 720 visitors, respectively. The total tourist inflow through the airport for this month is projected to reach an impressive 350,000.
The newly launched online visa extension system, named ‘E-Extension,’ is designed to simplify the extension process for the 12 specified visa categories. Tourists can now submit documents and schedule appointments online, and then receive a physical stamp to extend their visa, as reported by the Phuket News.
The E-Extension Visa Service is currently operational at Immigration Bureau 1 in Bangkok and Immigration Offices in Chonburi, Chiang Mai and Phuket – some of the most populous places in Thailand.
However, specific details regarding the E-Extension service for foreigners in Phuket are yet to be officially disclosed on the Phuket Immigration website.
Lt Gen Itthiphon is scheduled to meet with local immigration officers to discuss potential issues, collect feedback, and consider changes. Launched as a trial in November last year for foreigners residing in Bangkok, the E-Extension service is in collaboration with the authorised partner for the UK government to receive passport applications from British citizens, VFS GLOBAL.
Thailand is set to resume its pre-pandemic levels in tourism numbers and so far in 2023, it has reached around 24.5 million as EFE reports. Despite of this number meeting the government’s goal for the year, tourist arrivals to the Asian country are well below the record of 40 million visitors, which was recorded in 2019.