Thailand, at least for a while, is ditching the ancient TM6 arrival card for incoming tourists and expats as airport officials are unable to keep up with the increased number of visitors.
The Cabinet said it would suspend use of the form for foreigners entering or exiting Thailand by air to reduce congestion at airport immigration checkpoints, government spokesperson Traisuree Traisoranakul said.
Foreigners entering or exiting Thailand by land or sea still will required to complete the form. The change likely will go into effect within a week.
The TM6 may return soon once the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration scraps the Thailand Pass system. The CCSA votes on the proposal, that would take effect July 1, this Friday.
Traisuree said the suspension of the TM6 is only temporary as the number of foreign arrivals has increased significantly and forcing arrivals to be have their Thailand Pass QR codes checked, sometimes twice, and stamping the TM6s is leading to too much congestion at peak periods.
She didn’t respond to the suggestion that putting more immigration officers on duty – something needed for decades– would solve the problem.
Less paperwork also will give arriving tourists a better impression of Thailand’s airports, she claimed.
Holding on to the archaic, paper TM6 form is just another piece of evidence of how far behind the rest of the world Thailand’s immigration system is, as countries like Vietnam don’t require any forms to be completed or filed on arrival.
Thailand actually had plans to drop the TM6 permanently in 2019. In September that year, Kobsak Pootrakool, then deputy secretary-general to the Prime Minister, told the media the decision had been made, but didn’t disclose a timeline when it would go into effect.
Apparently that was never.