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Thai immigration Says Wait for Visa on Arrival Could Take Up to 4 Hours

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Immigration police say tourists arriving over the next few days should expect to cool their heels for four hours before they are stamped in.

BANGKOK – Tourists applying for a visa on arrival at Suvarnabhumi airport are likely to face up to a four-hour wait during the New Year period due to a tough screening process to catch undesirables trying to enter the Kingdom.

Pol Col Cherngron Rimpadee, deputy immigration police spokesman, asked Tuesday for understanding saying the procedures are necessary to deal with criminals that take advantage of the hectic period to enter the country by disguising themselves as tourists.

The Immigration Bureau is considering opening more lanes for visa processing to reduce the lengthy queues.

A visa on arrival allows passport holders of 18 nationalities to enter Thailand for the purpose of tourism for a period not exceeding 15 days.

It is being offered at designated immigration checkpoints in airports nationwide.

Popular among Indian and Chinese tourists, it is issued mostly at Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang airports, with 6-7000 tourists applying for them each day.

Ideally, the process should take three minutes to complete but sudden influxes of applicants can lead to long queues.

Pol Gen Pruettipong Prayoonsiri, director of Immigration Police Division 2, said the Immigration Bureau is looking for solutions that don’t compromise security, such as boosting staff during busy periods.


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