Thailand is now welcoming long-stay travelers and tourists by issuing Special Tourist Visas (STV) to visitors from all countries worldwide. The STV provides holders with a 90-day stay in the Kingdom of Thailand and is extendable twice, providing a total of 270 days in the country.
However, due to the coronavirus situation worldwide, the Special Tourist Visa comes with a range of conditions and rules that applicants must meet before they can book flights to Thailand.
Among these conditions is proof of health insurance covering COVID for at least USD 100,000 and a mandatory stay in Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) for 15 nights and 16 days on arrival.
What You’ll Learn in this Article:
- How Do I Apply For A Special Tourist Visa For Thailand?
- What Documents Do I Need When Flying To Thailand?
- What Happens When I Arrive In Thailand?
- Should I Visit Thailand In 2021?
- Document Checklist For Thailand Special Tourist Visas (STV)
These conditions make Thailand a viable option for those who plan a lengthy holiday or break from their home country but eliminate those who want to travel to Thailand for a standard two or three-week vacation.
If you want to read more about other options for coming to Thailand, you can keep updated with the latest COVID insurance requirements for entering Thailand.
However, if you want to know more about entering Thailand as a tourist during COVID, read on to discover how you can apply for a Thailand Special Tourist Visa (STV).
Initial Application Process for A Special Tourist Visa (STV)
Special Tourist Visas for Thailand are issued by local Thai embassies or consulates. You can find your nearest Thai embassy here.
The STV was initially launched in mid-late 2020 to offer people from low-risk countries an opportunity to visit Thailand as tourists. However, on December 8th, 2020, the Thai government announced that the Special Tourist Visa would allow tourists and travelers from any country to visit Thailand as long as they met all of the conditions attached to the visa.
Once you have contacted your local Thai embassy or consulate and gained approval for a STV, you need to gather additional documentation listed below.
Certificate of Entry (COE)
The Certificate of Entry (COE) for Thailand is granted after approval for a Special Tourist Visa is given. You must have both a Special Tourist Visa and a Certificate of Entry before proceeding with booking your flights to Thailand, purchasing COVID insurance, and reserving a stay in Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ).
Booking Flights to Thailand
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many airlines are operating much tighter schedules than usual, with many canceling flights completely to certain destinations. It is highly recommended to check whether you can book flights from your home country to Thailand directly.
Buying COVID Insurance
One of the most important requirements for entry to Thailand is COVID health insurance coverage for at least USD 100,000. If you have travel insurance already, you can check to see if your insurance provider covers coronavirus-related expenses for the required amount.
This is an affordable way to get Thai government-approved COVID insurance and receive a certificate stating that you are covered on the same day as your policy is approved.
Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ)
Alternative State Quarantine is a mandatory requirement for all visitors to Thailand. According to the present law, all arrivals in Thailand must quarantine for 15 nights and 16 days.
This quarantine takes place in a Thai government-approved hotel, known as Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ). The quarantine period is paid for personally so prepare to budget for your two-week stay in ASQ.
There are almost 200 quarantine locations available. To help you decide where to stay, we have reviewed many ASQ hotels with information, pricing, services, and ratings.
Preparing for Departure to Thailand
So, you’ve been approved for entry to Thailand, presented all of the required documentation, and you’re now getting ready to depart and fly to the Kingdom.
Before you leave, you will need to prepare a list of documents that are checked before you can board your flight to Thailand. These include:
- Certificate of Entry (COE)
- A completed and signed declaration form (available from your local Thai embassy or consulate)
- A medical certificate stating that you do not have COVID, with attached RT-PCR lab results, and issued no more than three days before your departure date
- A fit-to-fly certificate from your local doctor or hospital stating that you can fly and issued no more than three days before your departure date
- A copy of your COVID health insurance policy, travel insurance, and other health insurance
As you can see there is a lot to prepare before you take off for Thailand. It is highly advisable to get prepared early and familiarize yourself with the documentation in case you face any queries when checking in for your flight.
Also, make sure that all documents are written either in English or Thai. If your original documents are in another language, certified translations are accepted.
Arriving in Thailand – What Happens Next?
When you land in Thailand all of your documents will undergo checks again by local immigration staff. Due to the lengthy process, you should prepare for extra time getting through immigration. Remember to remain polite and patient while your documents are checked!
If your documents are in order you will get a stamp in your passport and be escorted to your chosen Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) facility.
During your ASQ hotel stay, you will receive daily temperature checks and three COVID tests. You will need to remain in your room for the duration of your stay. However, in some cases ASQ hotels allow guests to walk around outdoors after their first negative test.
If you test positive for COVID during your ASQ stay, the hotel’s partnered hospital will arrange for transportation where you will stay and receive treatment in the hospital.
Once the quarantine period has finished, you are free to travel to Thailand freely while obeying the local and provincial restrictions regarding COVID-19.
Visiting Thailand in 2021
So, is 2021 a good time to visit Thailand? The answer really depends on your individual circumstances.
If you can travel for an extended period, Thailand remains an excellent destination, particularly during the cold winter months of western countries.
The COVID situation has generally been managed very well in Thailand and you will find many facilities remain open and travel within the country is easy.
Shopping malls, restaurants, and cafes generally operate as usual, while domestic flights run regularly to popular destinations such as Krabi, Chiang Mai, Phuket, and elsewhere.
The benefit of a Special Tourist Visa is that you can extend your stay twice. So, while your initial stamp is only for 90 days, you can extend it for another 90 days, and another after that, giving you 270 days in total.
You will find that almost everyone in Thailand wears masks when outside and regularly uses alcohol gel, so be sure to follow the lead of the locals and you will enjoy a wonderful stay in Thailand in 2021!
Special Tourist Visa (STV) Checklist
Application process takes approximately 30 days.
Use the checklist below to make an application for a Thailand Special Tourist Visa, Certificate of Entry to Thailand, and prepare for your flight to Thailand.
- Special Tourist Visa (STV) Application
a. Find the requirements of your local Thai embassy or consulate by contacting them or visiting their website.
b. Prepare a copy of your passport, passport photos, signed application form, evidence of funds to support yourself while in Thailand, proof of accommodation in Thailand, and confirmation of your legal residence in your home country.
c. You may need to apply for the Certificate of Entry (COE) at the same time as your STV application (see below).
- Certificate of Entry (COE) Application
a. Submit a completed application along with your passport.
b. Provide additional documentation including; flight booking confirmation, COVID insurance certificate, and ASQ hotel reservation confirmation.
c. In some cases, it is possible to apply for a pre-approved COE without submission of the documents above. Check with you local Thai embassy or consulate to see if this can apply to you.
d. Processing of the COE takes between 3 and 5 business days.
- Documents Needed When Departing For Thailand
a. Valid passport
b. Certificate of Entry (COE)
c. Declaration form
d. Fit-to-fly certificate
e. Negative COVID test no more than 72 hours before departure
f. COVID insurance certificate with at least USD 100,000 coverage
g. ASQ hotel booking confirmation
h. T8 form