Thailand’s new 90-day visa for long-stay tourists has just been announced by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, during a cabinet meeting on September 15.
This new visa will be the first stage of general tourism reopening in Thailand, by first allowing long-stay tourists who agree to spend at least 90 days in the nation, jump-starting the shattered industry.
Applicants for the visa will have to book a hotel or private accommodation for the full 90 days in order to qualify, and they also must agree to a 14-day quarantine upon arrival. After the quarantine is completed, the tourist will be granted free movement. No testing procedures have been mentioned yet, but they also could come into play as the visas are issued.
PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is most concerned with keeping new cases of the virus out of the community as in-bound tourists start to arrive.
“The most important condition would be a 14 day quarantine. Visitors can arrive for tourism or health services, and they can stay at alternative state quarantine facilities, specific areas or at hospitals that function as quarantine facilities. Our public health system is amongst the best in the world and people can have confidence in it.”
While this news is just breaking, here is everything we know so far about Thailand’s new long-stay visa. (We will update this article as updated news becomes available)
STV Visa Rules
Cost: 2000 baht
Length: 90 days. The visa can be renewed two times just before expiry, making the total length of stay possible for up to 270 days.
How Many Will Be Issued? Deputy government spokeswoman Traisulee Traisaranakul said the STV visas will be issued at a rate of 1200 per month to start
Countries to be included: Unknown.
Thai finance secretary, Prasong Pootaneat said Thailand could benefit from accepting tourists from nations where the disease has not been high in recent months, which could include China, Taiwan and some European countries.
Quarantine Rules: All applicants who receive approved STV visas must agree to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. It is unknown if this will only be at state facilities, or if this list of approved hotels will be valid for hosting quarantining arrivals.
Proof of Stay: In order to qualify for the visa, tourists will need to show proof of a stay equalling a full 90 days or more. This will include apartment rental contracts, confirmed hotel bookings, lease of a condo, copy of ownership of a dwelling belonging to family/friends where the applicant will stay, etc.
Start Date: Unknown.
The Thai government said details will soon follow.
Areas Of Thailand Where The Visa Will Be Valid: Unknown.
The Government’s public relations site states “The Government will begin to open up for long-stay tourists in the areas where the spread of COVID-19 is prevented and controlled.”
This is the first news of general tourism starting to resume in Thailand. Many expats, usual long-stay visitors, partners of Thai nationals, and other frequent travelers to Thailand have been waiting for any sign that Thailand will once again allow them to return.
Since July, Thailand has only been allowing very select categories of foreigners to enter the country, including some medical tourists, direct family members of Thai nationals, business investors, and skilled foreign workers.
Prior to this recent STV visa announcement, the only other signal that Thailand was looking to accept tourists soon was the Phuket pilot project. The governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Yuthasak Supasorn, made a statement on August 21st confirming the government’s plan to open Phuket for international tourism on October 1st.
The reopening of Phuket for foreign visitors was planned to act as a sort of pilot program for the rest of the country, testing how successful restarting the tourism sector in this current environment can be.
The Phuket reopening is planned with a minimum 30-day stay, many PCR tests, and a strict 14-day quarantine. While the program isn’t expected to launch until October 1st, the new STV Visa might be a more attractive option for visitors, pending on its actual start date.
The long stay visa aims to help Thailand’s tourism industry, which has been greatly affected by the pandemic. Thailand earned at least two trillion baht a year from international tourist arrivals before the COVID-19 outbreak.