Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of tourists in Thailand has been significantly reduced. The Thai tourism business and other related industries are severely affected by this situation. However, Thailand has been effectively controlling the spread of Covid-19 and the government is trying to restore the economy. Hence, the Thai Cabinet just recently approved a Special Tourist Visa (called “STV”) to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), which was proposed by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, with the purpose to promote recovery of the tourism business in Thailand especially for those provinces that rely heavily on tourism revenue, such as Phuket.
Under the STV, foreigners can stay in the country for 90 days, and can be extended twice, for 90 days each time, a cumulative total of 270 days. The cost is THB 2,000 for each 90 days.
The announcement has brought up many questions. The Prime Minister has said the CCSA will provide more details about this visa in the coming days. The conditions for the STV require the following:
- Tourist intends to stay in Thailand for a long period of time, starting from 90 days.
- The tourist must go through 14-day quarantine period at a Government-designated Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) facility.
- The tourist must provide evidence of long-term residency in Thailand, which includes sufficient supporting documentation consisting of any of the below:
- Proof of payment for hotel accommodations, which will be their residence in Thailand after the state quarantine period; and/or,
- Proof of rental payment or deposit payment on a residence in Thailand; and/or,
- Copy of condominium title deed in case the tourist is staying in a condominium which lawfully owned in Thailand.
At this time, there remain concerns about the available information regarding the quota or list of eligible countries that might be further announced and there may also be constraints in the ability to support all incoming visitors due to limited availability of the Government-designated ASQ facilities in order to serve the required 14-day quarantine period.
Tourists who are currently in Thailand are not allowed to extend their stay under the new STV. The STV is only for new tourists coming into Thailand. However, tourists still staying in Thailand who are unable to return home or want to remain in Thailand must still obtain a letter from their embassy requesting that the foreigner be allowed to stay in the country, which will allow them to be granted an extra 30 days’ stay in the country.