In early October 2020, news that Thailand was beginning to reopen its borders to international tourists had us all excited!
Thailand’s Special Tourist Visa (or STV for short) is intended to allow foreigners to enter the country for 90 days following a quarantine period of 15 days. The 90-day visa can be extended twice, bringing the total time that tourists can stay in Thailand up to nine months. Sounds good right?
However, since, the announcement of the Special Tourist Visa there has been a lot of confusion regarding who exactly is eligible for it and how they can apply! In this article we aim to keep you up to date with the steps you need to go through in order to apply for the STV.
Note: As well as the STV, there is also the Tourist Visa (TR Visa) which allows tourists to enter Thailand for a maximum of 60 days. However, visitors entering on this type of visa, for the time-being, will still have to spend 15 of those days in quarantine.
What are the requirements for a Thailand Special Tourist Visa?
1. You must be from a low-risk country
The TAT (Thailand Authority of Tourism) have released a list of the countries that are eligible to apply for the Special Tourist Visa. These are countries that are currently deemed low risk. (Of course, the list is subject to change depending on the latest COVID-19 numbers.)
- Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, China, Cuba, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, Hong Kong, Ivory Coast, Kazakhstan, Laos PDR, Macau, Mongolia, New Zealand, Norway, Qatar, Rwanda, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Uruguay, Vietnam.
When submitting the STV application, you must be able to prove that you are an official resident of the country from which you are applying.
2. Proof of payment of your Alternative State Quarantine Facility
Those arriving on the STV must quarantine for 15 days in a hotel that has been approved by the government as an Alternative State Quarantine Facility. Currently, all of these hotels are located in Bangkok. See our list of the cheapest quarantine hotels in Bangkok here.
To apply for the Special Tourist Visa you will need proof of payment from the hotel for the whole 15 days. Many hotels are offering 15-day packages which include airport pick-up, room, three meals a day and COVID tests. Prices start at 27,000 THB. Each quarantine hotel is paired with a private hospital in Bangkok to provide COVID care if necessary.
Note – If you are planning to quarantine in the same hotel as your partner, you must be able to show a marriage certificate.
3. Proof of accommodation after the quarantine
It’s bad news for free-spirited travellers who like to plan as they go. The Thai Authorities are asking that all visitors who come to Thailand on the STV book their accommodation for the entire 90 days in advance. Travellers will need to show proof of payment for a hotel or accommodation for the 75 days following the 15-day quarantine. The authorities will also accept copy of a property title deed owned by the visitor or a family member. You can also show a long-term rental agreement for a house or a condominium.
4. Proof of travel medical insurance
You will need to have adequate travel medical insurance with at least $100,000 USD coverage for COVID-19 care, as well as 400,000 THB (approx. $13,000 USD for other accidents, injuries and/or illnesses. We recommend Safety Wing Nomad Insurance which is one of the few travel insurances that offer cover for COVID-19.
5. Proof of at least 500,000 THB in a bank account
All applicants will need to show a bank statement showing that they have a balance of at least 500,000 THB (or $16,000 USD). This must be the average balance over the past 6 months.
6. Passport with at least 12-month validity and two blank pages
This is the usual requirement when applying for any kind of visa. Usually you will need six months validity left on your passport and two blank pages. The STV requires that you have 12 months remaining.
7. Criminal Records Background Check
In order to apply for the Special Tourist Visa (*depending on the specific requirements of your local Thai Embassy), you may be asked to provide a police-approved criminal records background check that has been carried out within the last three months.
8. 2,000 THB Visa Fee
The applicant must pay a fee of 2,000 THB ($65 USD) to apply for the STV. This amount will not be refunded if the visa application is not successful.
9. Fit to Fly Certificate
Finally, before you can hop on that plane, you will need to produce a Fit to Fly Certificate which proves that you have recently had a negative COVID-19 test. The test must have been done no more than 72 hours before your flight departs to Thailand!
Where can I apply for the Thailand Special Tourist Visa?
If you are able to fulfil the requirements above, you should get in touch with your local Royal Thai Embassy to start the application process. *Each Thai Embassy will have their own specific requirements which may not not in this list, so you must check with them if you are eligible for the STV before paying out any money for hotels or flights.
- Please note: The requirements for the Thailand Special Tourist Visa are changing all the time.
- The Facebook Group, Thailand Special Tourist Visa is a good place to keep up with all the latest developments.
- We also recommend the YouTube channel, Retired Working For You, for entertaining updates on the latest tourism announcements.