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Burma to Allow Visa Holders Land Entry from Thailand

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BANGKOK – Myanmar and Thai citizens, as well as foreign tourists, are allowed since yesterday to pass through four Thai-Myanmar border checkpoints, including Myawady, starting from August 28, according to Burmese immigration officers in a talk with Myanmar newspaper: “We have received instructions to allow Thai citizens and foreign tourists to pass through all four border checkpoints on August 28. The remarkable thing is that Myanmar citizens with visas and passports will also be allowed to visit Thailand through the border crossings,” said an official from the Immigration and National Registration Department of Myawady District.

The four concerned areas are checkpoints between Tachileik and Mae Sai, Myawady and Mae Sot, Kawthaung and Ranong as well as Htee Khee and Sunaron. This means that foreign travellers can enter or exit through any of those four check-points but also combine it with another point of entry such as international airports of Yangon, Nay Pyi Taw or Mandalay.

Travelers passing through these gates are allowed to leave via international airports in Rangoon, Naypyidaw and Mandalay, the ministry said, adding that visa on arrival is not available at the border gates.

Minister of Hotels and Tourism Htay Aung reportedly attended an official ceremony at Myawaddy-Mae Sot border crossing on Wednesday to mark its opening for foreign visitors.

The decision is the result of a bilateral agreement between the Burmese and Thai governments, the Tourism Ministry said. Prior to the agreement, visitors were only allowed to travel to Burma by air. One-day visits were possible at three gates, while foreigners could also gain permission to travel for one week in Burma’s Shan State, if they stayed in the vicinity of Tachileik.

The government has also announced that the Parliament will offer abolish visas for all ASEAN nationals from the next fiscal year. Until now, only Laotian citizens benefit from visa exemption for a stay not exceeding 14 days.

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