A new e-visa on arrival scheme is being created to help support tourism into Thailand but the UK and Ireland are not included in the initial phase.

The scheme will cover travellers from 21 countries and is being introduced from February 14 – Andorra, Bulgaria, Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan.

The new initiative will mean that no physical copies of documents, photographs or local cash will be needed during the immigration process at airports, such as Chaing Mai, Bangkok or Phuket.

Travellers who are eligible to use the online service will receive their travel authorisation from the Immigration Bureau of Thailand prior to departure from their country of origin.

They will be able to apply online for e-visas for Thailand by visiting thailandevoa.vfsevisa.com or get assistance from visa application centres run by suppler VFS Global, an outsourcing and technology services specialist.

Pre-departure travel authorisation online is due to be sent within 24 to 72 hours.

Since the e-visa fee is paid online, no cash in local currency is required at the immigration counter.

Those requiring visas urgently will have to pay an additional unspecified service fee to get a visa decision within 24 hours.

Surachate Hakparn, commissioner of Thailand’s Immigration Bureau, said: “With the e-visa on arrival service, we are proud to offer a new age digital solution which enhance the overall experience for the modern day traveller who seeks to visit Thailand from 21 countries across the globe.

“We aim to effectively meet the objective of increasing tourism to the country through this solution, especially taking into consideration the all-important security aspect that allows pre-check of travellers prior the arrival, as it offers time to the Immigration Bureau for effective assessment.”