The Thai Government has made their first permanent decision to introduce measures in opening up the countries tourism sector again with the cabinet approving special tourist visas that are valid for 90 days and extendable twice.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has tasked a separate company – Thailand Longstay Company – (an entity that has already existed and previously loosely promoted retirement in the country) with running the process for the government up until application for a visa at a local embassy.
You can access the website of Thailand Longstay Company here.
STV Visa (Special Tourist Visa) is a special visa created during the Covid-19 Pandemic for long stay tourists who would like to travel in Thailand or at least 30 days. Foreigners will be able to apply for this visa until 30 September 2021.
Before we even get into the details of how to apply for this visa, there is an additional cost factor:
Application Service Fee and Payment Terms & Conditions
10,000 THB excluding 7% VAT per applicant
This includes the service fee and the applicant can accessed special promotion and packages from our partnered hotels, insurance providers and other businesses.
This fee does not include the airplane ticket, 15 days ASQ/ALSQ quarantine accommodation nor accommodation after the 15 days quarantine, medical and travel Insurance.
The applicant will also have to pay the 2,000 THB visa fee at the Embassy/Consulate
So just for the privilege of applying for a tourist visa you pay 10,700 Baht (US$340) plus the visa fee and associated cost before even setting foot into the country.
Including this fee there are a bunch of other strings attached to this visa such as prepaid accommodation, the obligatory and costly 14 day quarantine post arrival as well as a chartered or private flight among other hurdles.
It’s seen as a first step after the tourism sector has crashed following Thailand’s border closure mid March although the numbers and methods proposed under this scheme seem once again alien to what attracts tourists to the country but it could be a niche for those who really want to max out this visa and stay almost a year (9 months).
The Thailand Longstay website continues to outline the process:
Application Procedure for Special Tourist Visa (STV)
A foreign applicant must e-mail Thailand Longstay Company (firstname.lastname@example.org) to submit his/her intention to apply for the Special Tourist Visa (STV). In the e-mail, please provide the following information of all the applicants:
- Photo of the passport that the applicant will use for entry into Thailand
- Current Location/Residence (City & Country)
- Nearest Thai Embassy/Consulate to the Applicant
The company will send the photo of the passport to the Thai Immigration Bureau to check the applicant’s criminal record
After receiving approval from the Thai Immigration Bureau, the applicant will have to pay the application fee and the company will send the applicant the STV Visa application form and the company will correspond with the applicant regarding:
- the 15 days ASQ/ALSQ quarantine accommodation options
- accommodation options and requirements after the 15 days quarantine (minimum stay of 15 days) [Total minimum stay of 30 days including the 15 day quarantine]
- Options for chartered flights
- Medical and Travel Insurance options with a minimum 100,000 USD coverage for Covid-19 medical treatment and a minimum coverage of 400,000 THB for other medical and accident expenses. The insurance must cover for at least 90 days.
Once all payments have been made for all the above items and the applicant must send all of the documents to email@example.com
The company will submit on behalf of the applicant, the STV visa application from and all required documents to the Department of Consular Affairs, Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs to apply for the CoE (Certificate of Entry) and the STV Visa
Once the Department of Consular Affairs, Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs has made the approval, the company will inform the applicant to pick up his/her CoE and STV Visa at the designated Thai embassy/consulate. When picking up the CoE and STV Visa, the applicant must also have a Fit to Fly Certificate & Medical Certificate for General Passengers https://ddc.moph.go.th/viralpneumonia/file/g_form/general02.pdf https://ddc.moph.go.th/viralpneumonia/file/guidelines/G23.pdf The Fit to Fly Medical Certificate must states that the applicant does not have covid-19 and these certificates must be issued at least 72 hours before the flight departure.
Once arrived in Thailand, every STV visa holder must follow the public health and safety measure set by the Thai Ministry of Public Health. If the STV visa holder has been tested positive for covid-19 at the airport, the STV visa holder will immediately be sent to the approved hospital. If the STV visa holder has been tested negative for covid-19 at the airport, the STV visa holder will pass through immigration.
STV visa holder will then go under the 15 day quarantine at his/her paid ASQ/ALSQ accommodation. If the STV visa holder is tested negative for covid-19 after the 15 day quarantine, the STV visa holder will be allowed to leave and go stay at his or her chosen accommodation
This will not benefit individuals currently in Thailand under whatever permission of stay that may be. You have to apply for this from abroad!
No payment options have been published on their website. It’s unclear if they expect a wire transfer (irrevocable) or a PayPal / Credit Card payment which in the worst case can be disputed if things go down the tubes.
Previously it was communicated that the accommodation has to be prepaid for a three month minimum unless you can provide proof of ownership or a tenancy agreement for a condo/house. This appears to have been eliminated from the draft proposal.
Another open question is the transportation for these tourists utilizing the special visas. Charter flights or private plane? Let’s assume (at best) this means they would organize flights by Thai Airways as originally planned but this will also add to the cost.
The insurance requirement is something I’d have expected. Any traveler should have adequate health insurance especially during a long term stay.
Here is a conservative estimate from my side what someone will have to shell out to get in on this:
- Application Fee: US$ 340.00
- Visa Fee: US$60 + associated costs (postage, documentation etc)
- Insurance ~ US$150 per month (depending on age)
- Charter Flight: US$1300 one way Economy Class, US$3000 Business Class
- Quarantine Accommodation: US$2500 (average price)
- Prepaid accommodation: ~ US$1500 per 14 Days
So by having to use this Longstay Company you can’t book your own own flights, own hotels or anything that would mitigate your costs be it by using miles/points or by just booking the lowest available option of your liking. Prepare to be fleeced is all I can say!
I feel initially many people will try to get in on this offer and be it just to return to Thailand and to clear out their apartments or pick up personal property. But the hoops you have to jump through are pretty crazy just to travel to Thailand for tourism purposes. The process looks more like a gulag internment or a process for immigration.
With the winter approaching in many parts of the world I can imagine that there will still be some takers for this elaborate (laughable) scheme Thailand has cooked up. Even with the 14 day quarantine which will set you back ~ US$2000-3000 one might be able to justify the effort and expense considering the low cost of the visa, no steep financial requirements like a retirement visa has and the ability to be able to stay in the country on once stretch without doing any border bounces. But only if you really stay a long time.
All things considered and according to media reports Thailand wants to attract people who stay LONG TERM in the country and hopefully spending a lot of their disposable income, in Thai media commonly called the “super rich”. Not sure this is something that’ll be forthcoming as this is all too complicated and costly for many. It certainly won’t jump start the Thai tourism industry, let alone the economy. And one thing is for sure, the truly “super rich” will laugh at this proposal. This demographic has better things to do than to beg on their knees to be interned for two weeks in order to make a bash down Beach Roach in Pattaya.