Long stay tourists from all countries are now welcome to visit Thailand on a Special Tourist Visa (STV) providing they complete the mandatory 14 day Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) in one of the approved hotels, at their own expense.
The Special Tourist Visa (STV) allows a 90 day stay in the Kingdom of Thailand for travellers from all countries. This visa is single entry and can be extended twice, offering a maximum stay of up to 270 days.
With the onset of winter in many northern hemisphere countries, it’s a tempting opportunity to swap the cold weather for the warm, tropical climate of Thailand.
Applying for the Special Tourist Visa (STV)
Tourists wishing to take advantage of the long stay Special Tourist Visa (STV) must first apply for their Visa from the Royal Thai Embassy or Royal Thai Consulate General in their country of residence. When the STV was first launched it was only offered to those residing in countries with a low-rate of confirmed COVID-19 cases. However the Thai Government has now extended it to tourists travelling from all countries (as of 8th December 2020).
Applying for the Certificate of Entry (COE)
The Certificate of Entry (COE) is a letter issued by the Royal Thai Embassy to allow foreigners to enter Thailand. Travellers can only apply for the COE once the Special Tourist Visa (STV) has been approved. The full list of requirements are listed on the Royal Thai Embassy website in your country. Once the COE has been pre-approved you can go ahead and purchase your flight to Thailand and confirm the booking for the 14 day Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ).
Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ)
Long stay tourists arriving in Thailand will need to complete the mandatory 14 day Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) in one of the accredited hotels, at the traveller’s expense.
All tourists planning to visit Thailand must purchase a COVID Travel & Insurance policy. The policy must cover COVID-19 medical related expenses for the full duration of your visit to Thailand, and it must be valued at $100,000 USD minimum.
If you are looking for such Covid Insurance Policy for your trip, subscribe here and get your certificate within 5min.
Preparing the paperwork for the departure airport
Travellers will need to complete some medical health checks and prepare one last round of documents before they make their way to the airport in their country of departure. The list of documents includes:
- Certificate of Entry
- Completed Declaration form
- A COVID-Free medical certificate with RT-PCR laboratory result, issued no more than 72 hours before departure; and
- A Fit to Fly or Fit to Travel health certificate, issued no more than 72 hours before departure.
- Copy of the Travel & Health Insurance policy
It pays to be organised during these last few days to make sure you have enough time to complete all of the documentation. Try to make appointments in advance with the medical centre, and also be familiar with the documents a couple of weeks in advance.
Be sure to check on the Royal Thai Embassy website to ensure you have the most up to date list of documents.
Recapping the process - a step by step guide
1) Apply for the Special Tourist Visa (STV)
- You’ll find a list of all the required documents on the Royal Thai Embassy website in your country of residence.
- It will include a copy of the passport and a photo of the applicant, plus the application form, plus evidence to prove you have sufficient funds to cover your travel costs in Thailand, proof of accommodation in Thailand (hotel booking, apartment lease or letter of invitation to stay with a friend), plus confirmation of legal residence in your home country.
- In some countries they may ask you to submit all of the paperwork for the Certificate of Entry (COE) at the same time as the application for the visa.
Once the Visa is approved you can apply for the Certificate of Entry (COE).
2) Apply for the Certificate of Entry (COE)
- Complete the application form online and submit with a copy of the traveller’s passport.
- Additional documents required: travel booking confirmation, Certificate of Insurance (COI), plus a confirmed reservation for the Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ). If the traveller does not have these documents ready, they may apply for pre-approval on the COE first, and then provide the documents later.
- Visit this website for further information, https://coethailand.mfa.go.th/.
The Royal Thai Website states that this process should take around 3-5 working days. When the COE has been approved, the traveller will need to download the certificate from the website.
3) Prepare documents for the departure airport (and arrival in Thailand)
- The Certificate of Entry (COE) issued by the Royal Thai Embassy
- Declaration Form
- Fit to Fly certificate (a statement issued by a doctor stating you are fit to fly and symptom free, issued within 72 hours from departure)
- COVID-19 test results, indicating that COVID-19 is not detected (RT-PCR method, issued within 72 hours before departure)
- Certificate of Insurance (COI), a health insurance policy which covers COVID-19 and no less than 100,000 USD. The policy must be for the same length of time as the visa.
- Copy of your confirmed booking at an Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) hotel
- T8 Form
Note: documents must be in English or Thai only. Certified translations into English or Thai are accepted in the case that the original copy is in a foreign language.
On arrival in Thailand
Travellers will have their documents checked again upon arrival at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport and will be taken to the hotel where they will spend their 14 day Alternative State Quarantine. During this time, the traveller will have their temperature checked twice a day and will be tested for COVID-19 on 3 occasions. Each of the accredited hotels in Bangkok has partnered with one of the private hospitals to ensure that the traveller receives the best care during their quarantine. Having an approved COVID-19 health insurance policy gives travellers peace of mind during their stay in Thailand, knowing that all COVID-19 medical related expenses will be covered.
Is it a good time to visit Thailand?
Many travellers looking for a long stay experience in a warmer climate such as Thailand, will find that life is fairly normal compared to some of the countries facing strict lockdowns due to outbreaks of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thailand is currently ranked 11 out of 180 countries in the Global COVID-19 Index (GCI), making it a fairly safe country to visit.
Thailand is one of the first countries in South East Asia to offer long stay visas to tourists, providing they complete the mandatory 14 day Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ). With a Special Tourist Visa (STV), tourists can spend up to 270 days in Thailand. The initial visa is valid for 90 days, and can be extended twice, for a further 90 days each time.
Shopping malls, restaurants, cafes and restaurants are open. Domestic airlines within Thailand have a regular schedule of flights going to the main tourist destinations including Phuket, Krabi, Koh Samui and Chiang Mai - where you will find recreational activities such as golf, scuba diving and other wellness centres operating. There’s plenty to see and do, especially for those planning a long stay holiday in Thailand.