Thailand Opens Their “Special Tourist Visa” Program To Worldwide Applicants, Financial Requirement Removed

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After only 825 people have utilized Thailand’s “Special Tourist Visa” program since it’s inception the government has now decided to allow interested travelers worldwide to lodge an application.

Previously only applicants from low risk countries were allowed to get the STV and there was also a stringent financial requirement – both conditions have now been removed.

Some embassies in certain countries have also resumed to accept applications for regular tourist visas, however all methods of entry are tied to Covid-19 testing and 14/15 day quarantine requirements.

We originally wrote about the STV Visa Program in September and since then it has been postponed multiple times. The program has also been received with let’s say rather limited enthusiasm as local media reported only 825 travelers have utilized the STV so far in roughly two months.

I wonder why, given the easy process:

The Bangkok Post reported about these new developments today.

Tourists from everywhere are now welcome to visit Thailand, irrespective of their countries’ Covid-19 situation, under a newly amended Special Tourist Visa (STV) long-stay programme.

However, these travellers still need to comply with Thailand’s 14-day mandatory quarantine, deputy government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek said on Tuesday.

The more liberal policy represents a government U-turn and is designed to help the ailing tourism industry.

STVs were previously only available to people from low risk-countries but that stringent condition was blamed for the low number of tourists taking advantage of the programme, with only 825 people from 29 countries and only six luxury yachts using it, said Ms Rachada.

The cabinet has also resolved to extend the stay period for yacht visitors holding an STV for another 30 days, or 60 days in total, she said. …

Considering how things are going in the world it’s probably self sabotage to limit this program to low risk countries. What is really low risk these days?

Not sure how many super rich Yacht owners that Thai goverment expected to be sailed towards Thailand under these conditions.

Applications have to be lodged through the Thailand Longstay Company and there is a 10,000 Baht processing fee in addition to visa fees at the Embassy / Consulate.

These are the conditions:

  1. A foreign applicant must e-mail Thailand Longstay Company (stvvisa@thailongstay.co.th) 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:
  2. Photo of the passport that the applicant will use for entry into Thailand
  3. Current Location/Residence (City & Country)
  4. Nearest Thai Embassy/Consulate to the Applicant
  5. The company will send the photo of the passport to the Thai Immigration Bureau to check the applicant’s criminal record
  6. 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.
  1. Once all payments have been made for all the above items and the applicant must send all of the documents to stvvisa@thailongstay.co.th
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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

The requirement to have ~ US$15,000 in the bank for the past year has been eliminated as it was probably a non-starter for many seeking to head to Thailand, let alone the documentation requirements.

Same goes for regular Tourist Visa applications in many countries such as Finland and Switzerland. Keep in mind that a visa application is just the first step. A certificate of entry also has to be obtained together with all the other documentation before flying to Thailand. At least passengers can now book regular carriers again instead of being reliant on flights coordinated by the Embassy.

Conclusion

At least all nationals worldwide can now apply for the STV. If this really makes a difference is another matter as the expenses for entry are high. Application, insurance, tests and then the two weeks quarantine hotel lands you in the region of US$2000+ so you definitely need to have a strong savings account. It’s definitely not suitable for a quick trip to Phuket.

Also keep in mind that depending on the requirements of their home country many travelers would have to quarantine again upon return. I don’t see these numbers rising dramatically and have forecasted a very limited interest as soon as this has been rolled out.

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