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 2020. 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 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.
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
Step 1 : Apply for Special Tourist Visa
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). 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 quarantine Facilities:
- Accommodation choice after quarantine. 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 for the whole duration of intended stay in Thailand. The reservation must be issued by the hotel showing the duration of stay, and hotel’s contact details and tax ID number
- Copy of the condominium, apartment title deed owned by the foreign visitor or family member
- Proof of condominium or house rental for the whole duration of intended stay in Thailand
- 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 50,000 USD Health insurance (you can easily buy online the special insurance package AXA Sawasdee Thailand which has been approved by the Office of Insurance Commission of Thailand that meets all requirements)
- Flight details with all charges to be absorbed by the applicant.
- Declaration Form signed by applicant.
- Applicant’s spouse and children (under 20 years old) are eligible to travel together and must show a proof of relationship
- For the spouse: Marriage certificate
- For the child/children whose age under 20 years old: Birth certificate
The documents will then be forwarded to the Department of Consular Affairs, Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) where the STV Visa will be issued for the successful applicant.
Step 2: Apply for the Certificate of Entry (COE)
If your STV visa is ready, you will need to apply for the Certificate of Entry (COE) online with the Royal Thai Embassy Royal Thai Embassy or Royal Thai Consulate-General in the country of origin. You need to make sure that you have the following documents ready:
For pre-approval stage (registration)
- Copy of passport
- Copy of valid visa or re-entry permit
- Health insurance policy which expressly covers treatment and medical expenses in relation to COVID-19, with a minimum coverage of 50,000 USD
- (If applicable) Attach Certificate of Vaccination issued by a government authority, either in digital or paper format.
For final approval stage (confirmation)
- Flight confirmation
- Confirmation of Alternative Quarantine (AQ) hotel booking or SHABA certificate for travellers going to Sandbox Programme
Step 3: Present documents at airline’s check-in counter
During flight check-in for departure, you must present the airline officer the followings:
1. Certificate of Entry (COE), issued by the Royal Thai Embassy.
2. Fit to Fly Health Certificate, issued no more than 72 hours before departure. (No longer Needed!)
3. COVID-19-Free Health Certificate, indicating that COVID -19 has not been detected, issued within 72 hours before departure
4. Health insurance Policy with a minimum coverage of 50,000 USD or equivalent for medical treatment expenses of COVID-19 during stay in Thailand.
5. Booking confirmation of the Alternative Quarantine (ASQ or ALQ) or SHABA Certificate issued by SHA Plus hotel
6. A valid STV visa
Step 4: 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.
3. From the airport, the STV visa holder will be immediately transferred to the strict quarantine at quarantine accommodation or Sha Plus hotels.
Step 5: 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.
STV Visa Extension
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.
For more details about Special Tourist Visa extension check How to Extend Special Tourist Visa.
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 cost 1,900 THB.
However, it won't be your only cost of visa application. This fee does not include the flight ticket, quarantine accommodation nor accommodation after 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.
This visa was due to be withdrawn at the end of September 2021. However, the Thai government have agreed to extend the scheme until 30 September 2022. More information can be found here: Thailand extends Special Tourist Visa (STV) to 2022
Further updates on Thailand Special Tourist Visa
As requirements regarding issuance of Thailand Special Tourist Visa might slightly vary depending on the country, we would recommend contacting your local Thai 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.