It has been about a year now since Thailand last saw an influx of tourists as the country has, since July, imposed restrictions on incoming visitors from other countries due to the outbreak of COVID-19. However, since the pandemic is pretty much contained here, the authority has slowly lifted a number of restrictions previously issued to prevent the growing number of virus infections.
The result is our country is gradually welcoming back a certain number of vacationers per month. The government agreed to issue the special traveling visa (STV) back in October with an aim to let in up to 1,200 tourists a month to rejuvenate the now destitute economy, and on October 20, the very first batch of 41 vacationers from China finally arrived in Bangkok, marking the first return of tourism in Thailand.
On November 16, Travel Off Path reported that the Thai government was planning to further alleviate the restrictions for prospective tourists. According to the source, the government intended to reduce the period of quarantine upon arrival from 14 days to 10 days in an attempt to encourage travelers to visit Thailand. While the consensus has not been reached, we have gathered all key information regarding the issue of tourist visas for anyone who aspires to make a trip to Thailand.
As of now, there are two types of tourist visas: Tourist Visa (TR Visa) and Long Stay Visa (aka Special Tourist Visa; STV). The first type grants up to 60 days for a stay in Thailand and can be applied by residents of any country. Meanwhile, the second type is for residents of any low-risk countries who commit to stay for a minimum of 90 days. Some of the documents required for the application for both types of visas with the Thai embassy/consulate in their home country are as followed:
- Bank statement showing proof of deposit in the last six months with the minimum amount of B500,000 (approximately USD16,336)
- Proof of medical and traveling insurance that covers COVID-19 worth at least USD100,000 in coverage for the entire stay duration
- Approved visa and approved certificate of entry (COE), which can be applied here
- Proof of booking payment for an accommodation during the entire stay (and also a booking payment for an alternative state quarantine [ASQ] hotel/hospital, if tourists do not prefer to self-isolate in government-designated facilities)
Alongside the above documents, the grantees must follow COVID-19 testing entry requirements, which include
- Proof of a negative COVID-19 polymerize chain reaction (PCR) swab test taken within 72 hours before flight
- Second COVID-19 PCR test upon the arrival
- If tested positive, the tourist will be transferred to a state hospital for quarantine.
- If tested negative, the tourist will be transferred to a state quarantine facility or an ASQ accommodation for the 14-day quarantine scheme. See the recommendation list of ASQ hotels here.
After going through two weeks of self-isolation in a preferred accommodation and tested negative, a visitor can finally leave the premises and travel freely in Thailand but still must follow basic preventive measures such as wearing a face mask and keeping social distancing in public.
We admit all mentioned above are not totally easy and convenient to make a trip to Thailand at the moment, but it's worth considering if you are comfortable (mostly financially) to do what the government says. If not, just hang in there, for things must surely be better, and we'll all get to meet very soon.
Sidenote: We have gathered the information of the general requirements from the Thai embassy in several countries. To check out specific and all application requirements, please kindly visit the website of the embassy in your country of residence, which can all be found via this link.