Thai representative suggests Taiwan nationals apply for a visa online or via mail

Thai office defends decision to raise charges for tour groups by pointing at higher efficiency

Thai Representative Thongchai Chasawath

Thai Representative Thongchai Chasawath (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – As the Thailand Trade and Economic Office (TTEO) in Taipei announced an extra handling charge of NT$470 (US$15) for Taiwanese-group visa applications going into effect from October 1, the Thai representative said the rise of the commission fee will help provide a better service and suggests Taiwanese citizens apply for visa online or by mail, reports said Tuesday.

At a press conference on Aug. 28, Thai Representative Thongchai Chasawath said that starting from October 1, the TTEO will accept only 100 individual visa applications per day from 9 a.m. until 11.30 a.m. without taking an additional cost of NT$470.

Additionally, he pointed out that the TTEO office is relatively small but always packed with applicants, which resulted in long visa processing and overtime work for its employees. Therefore, he suggested Taiwanese citizens apply for a visa online or send visa applications by mail, which could help avoid paying extra fees and going back and forth just to get the visa document.

With the new regulation for visa fees, Taiwanese citizens traveling to the Southeast Asian country in groups will need to pay the cost of a visa application hiked to approximately NT$2,000 from the current NT$1,200, including fees paid for travel agencies, according to early reports.

Last year, Thailand welcomed more than 550,000 visitors from Taiwan while Taiwan only saw 290,000 arrivals of Thai tourists during the same period, according to statistics from the Tourism Bureau.

The announcement from the Thai office met with criticism from travel agencies and tourists, leading to demands that Taiwan's visa waiver for Thai visitors be met by reciprocal action from the Thai side.