After introducing a 90-day visa in October, Thailand has now launched a shorter 60-day visa to travelers coming from mid-risk countries. But there are, of course, some warnings to take into account.
Having reported only around 3,500 infections and 59 casualties from coronavirus, Thailand has coped particularly well with the pandemic. And the country’s military-led government is working hard to keep this positive trend. Since March, Thailand has closed its borders to the majority of international travelers. This forced decision has negatively affected the country’s economy, as more than 20% of its GDP comes from the tourism sector.
In an attempt to restart tourism, the Thai government is gradually relaxing its visa regulations. The new Special Tourist Visa (STV), which was launched in October, allows visitors to enter the country with some precautions in place. Initially, only people coming from low-risk destinations were granted the visa. Now Thailand is opening up to mid-risk countries – including the US, the UK, Ireland, and Scandinavian nations – with a 60-day tourist visa which can be extended up to 90 days. The Thai embassies in the US and in the UK have application instructions on their websites. In any case, visa holders must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, after which they can move freely within the country.
However, there are also some other steps to consider. For instance, US visitors must present a booking confirmation of an Alternative State Quarantine facility where they will spend the 14-day quarantine; pay a $40 visa fee; fill in a ‘Fit to Fly’ health form; and present a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours of travel. But there is more: applicants must provide proof of health insurance covering up to US$100,000 and show a bank account balance of at least US$17,000 each month for the last six months. These requirements are similar for travelers applying from other countries.
There is also a longer Special Tourist Visa which allows a 90-day stay for visitors from low-risk countries. The Special Tourist Visa can be renewed twice, adding up to nine months. The list of low-risk countries is updated every two weeks. Currently, it includes Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, China and Hong Kong. After the mandatory quarantine in Bangkok, tourists are free to move within Thailand as they wish, but the Thai government has indicated that their movements may be tracked by an app or wristband.