Thailand will be issuing new special visas for tourists amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This type of Thai visa is called Thailand Special Tourist Visa or STV, which is designed mainly for those who want to make long stays. With STV visa, tourists will be allowed to enter Thailand and stay up to 9 months in the country.
Thailand opens for tourists but with conditions
Most of you might already have heard that Thailand is opening its borders to tourists in October. It's not quite true and everything is not as simple as it seems at first glance.
In this regard, the Thai government has announced that such visas will be granted to long-staying visitors who wish to spend in Thailand between 90 and 270 days so it will still be impossible to come for a month-long vacation.
For getting Thailand Special Tourist Visa, tourists need to provide proof of long-term accommodation plans, such as paid accommodation or property ownership, medical tourists’ doctor appointments and medical insurance as well.
In additional, all tourists must go through two-week quarantine upon arrival at a certified hotel or a hospital that functions as a quarantine facility and all expenses must be paid by the tourists themselves. At the moment there are a number of quarantine hotels in Bangkok and a couple in Phuket with the cost of quarantine package ranging from 26,500 THB to 200,000 THB per person. While in quarantine, you cannot leave your hotel room at all for almost entire first week and only after negative COVID test results you may have a chance to partially use hotel's facilities for a limited time.
The list of countries, where it would be possible to obtain Thailand Special Tourist Visa is not provided yet, but it seems that the first to arrive will be all those who are part of countries considered to be at low risk of COVID-19 and definitely not those where the outbreak of the disease is present.
Update Dec 9,2020: the Thai government have taken the measure to allow travelers from every country to apply for the STV.
Special Tourist Visa (STV) Measures
Guidelines prior to entering Thailand
1. Those interested in getting Special Tourist Visa are required to declare the intent for long-stay visit via Royal Thai Embassy or representative company agency approved by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).
2. All required documents must be submitted through the Embassy. Many embassies and consulates suggest to send the application at lease 2- 3 weeks before intended date of departure.
Documents to be provided:
- A passport valid for more than 12 months from the date of entry to Thailand
- A completed visa application form
- Photographs of applicant taken within the last six months. (Color photography with white background. If the photograph does not reflect your current appearance, this may result in the rejection of application)
- Confirmation for 15-day Quarantine Facilities:
- Accommodation choice after quarantine for minimum of 15 days. According to the law, there must be a proof of the long-term residence in Thailand to indicate where you will be staying during your entire stay in Thailand, which could be one of the following:
- Proof of payment for the hotel or hospital reservation according to the length of stay in Thailand
- Copy of the condominium, apartment title deed owned by the foreign visitor or family member
- Proof of condominium or house rental
- Proof of down payment for buying or leasing a condominium or house
- A valid medical/health insurance certificate indicating that:
- cover at least 90 days (from your arrival date) or the whole period of stay in Thailand
- have medical benefit in Thailand for outpatient must not be less than 40,000 THB
- have medical benefit in Thailand for inpatient must not be less than 400,000 THB.
- cover all medical expenditures including COVID-19 at least 100,000 USD Health insurance
List of Thai insurance companies participating in the scheme can be found at http://longstay.tgia.org
- Flight details with all charges to be absorbed by the applicant.
- Declaration Form signed by applicant.
3. The documents will then be forwarded to the Department of Consular Affairs, Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) where the Certificate of Entry (COE) and the STV Visa will be issued for the successful applicant.
4. MFA will forward the successful applicant's name to the Royal Thai Embassy or Royal Thai Consulate-General in the applicant's country of origin.
5. When COE is granted, applicants then collect the COE and a Special Tourist Visa (STV) at the designated Thai embassy or consulate while at the same time presenting further required documents as follows:
- Copy of accommodation reservation documents and proof of payment
- Fit to Fly Health Certificate , issued no more than 72 hours before departure.
- COVID-19-Free Health Certificate , issued no more than 72 hours before departure.
- Health insurance with a minimum coverage of USD 100,000 for medical treatment expenses of COVID-19 during stay in Thailand.
- Booking confirmation of the ASQ or ALQ
Upon arrival in Thailand
1. Upon entry to Thailand, Traveler entering Thailand during the COVID-19 pandemic period must submit a T8 Form Health Questionnaire upon his/her arrival in the Kingdom of Thailand. The STV visa holder must undergo health screening according to the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) measures. Visitor found to be infected with COVID-19 at the airport will be taken immediately to the designated hospital for treatment.
2. If the STV visa holder passes all the screening and is tested negative for COVID-19 on arrival, the STV will be stamped in the passport at the immigration.
Completion of the quarantine
Upon completion of the quarantine, STV visa holders will be allowed to leave and go to stay at the chosen accommodation. They will have a freedom to travel around Thailand as they are pleased.
Process for Special Tourist Visa (STV)
Duration of Special Tourist Visa (STV)
Under the STV scheme, long-staying visitors can stay in Thailand for 90 days, which can be extended twice, each for a further 90 days. That is, the maximum period of stay in the country will be 270 days. After the first stay period has ended, foreign visitors may apply for the extension at the local immigration office. However, the extension of Special Tourist Visa will depend on the decision of the Immigration Department of Thailand and the Department disease prevention.
Cost of Special Tourist Visa (STV)
The issuance of Thailand Special Tourist Visa will cost 2,000 THB (about 64 USD). Every additional 90-day extension costs the same.
However, it won't be your only cost of visa application. This fee does not include the flight ticket, 15 days ASQ/ALQ quarantine accommodation nor accommodation after the 15 days quarantine, medical and travel Insurance.
Effective date of Special Tourist Visa (STV)
The special tourist visa scheme was published officially in the Royal Thai Government Gazette on 29 September 2020 and is effective for arrivals from 1 October 2020 until 30 September 2021.
All those who will manage to complete the application procedure in time are able to enter Thailand via chartered flights or private jets starting from 1 October 2020.
Number of travelers targeted
During this first phase of the reopening of Thailand borders, the number of tourists allowed to enter the country will be limited. Thai authorities expect about 1,200 people to use such visas every month. There will be international flights only three times a week and will be able to carry a maximum of one hundred tourists per flight. The quota is of course tough. It's very low considering that more than 3 million tourists were visiting Thailand per month before COVID-19.
On 8th October 2020, a group of 120 Chinese nationals from Guangzhou will be the first foreign tourists with Special Tourist Visas (STV) allowed into Thailand via Phuket Airport.
Another group of 126 Chinese tourists from Guangdong will fly to Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) on a chartered Thai Smile flight on 25th Oct. In the first day of November, the group of tourists from Scandinavia and Schengen countries will be boarded on a Thai Airways International flight.
According to Thai authorities, many travelers have already expressed their willingness to travel to Thailand under this program. If the operation in the first month runs smoothly without triggering another outbreak, then Thailand will increase the capacity in the next phase.
Further updates on Thailand Special Tourist Visa
Some questions about Thailand Special Tourist Visa still remain not clear, so you should contact the embassy before making any plans or reservations.
In the meantime, follow our Facebook page for the newest updates on traveling to Thailand.
Keep in mind that the rules are often changed! We advise you to contact Thai embassy or consulate in your country to make sure the information is always up to date.