Foreign tourists can now apply to stay for up to nine months in Thailand

(Photo by the Airports of Thailand)

Foreign tourists can now stay in Thailand for up to nine months without the need of travel abroad to have their visas extended, three months on the initial visa with two extensions of three months each.

Thailand’s Ministry of Interior says the new rules came into effect on October 1st, and are valid until September 30th next year, in a bid to boost the tourism industry.

Foreign tourists will, however, have to meet certain requirements to qualify as long stayers.

First of all, they must agree to a period of quarantine, as part of the Public Health Ministry’s measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, and must show booking receipts from the hotels in which they will isolate.

Then, they must show evidence of payments for their lodgings during their stay in the kingdom, which can be a rented house, a rented condominium room or a title deed of a condominium room.  They are also required to have health insurance, with a minimum of US$ 100,000 cover for COVID-19 treatmentvalid for the entire period of their stay in the country. They must also have health and accident insurance coverage of40,000 baht for out-patient treatment and 400,000 baht for in-patient treatment.

Having met the requirements, tourists will be granted a special tourist visa (STV), which is for single use and will allow them to stay in Thailand for 90 days, which can extended twice by90 days per extension. The visa extension fee is 2,000 baht.

Proposed Phuket Sandbox Program in July: Here’s what you need to know

Good news for vaccinated travellers, you may travel to Thailand without the need to quarantine under the proposed Phuket Sandbox Program starting July 1st.

The Thai government and Tourism Authority of Thailand encourage all travellers to get inoculated prior to their travel to Thailand. Those who were not vaccinated can still travel to Phuket but must stay in Alternative Local Quarantine (ALQ) for 2 weeks.

Planning to travel to Thailand in July? Here are some of the things you need to know. However, it is important to note that the plan is not yet official and may be subjected to changes depending on the COVID situation in Thailand.

Who can travel to Phuket?

Basically, everyone is welcome, including foreign travellers and their children. However, under the Phuket Sandbox Program, visitors must stay in Phuket for at least 7 days, after which they are free to travel.

Vaccinated travellers from low and medium risk countries must have received their vaccines at least 14 days prior to their travel to Thailand. Travellers must present a vaccine certificate as part of the requirements. Minors do not need to show vaccine certificates, but travellers ages between 12 and 18 must undergo rapid antigen test at their own expense, which cost around THB1,200 to THB1,500.

I got vaccinated; do I have to undergo testing and quarantine?

Protocols differ for international and domestic travellers:

For international travellers:

  • Vaccinated travellers (over 18 years old) must do an RT PCR test on day 5 of their stay.
  • Non-vaccinated travellers (over 18 years old) will need to do an RT PCR test upon arrival and stay at ALQ (Alternative Local Quarantine) Hotel for 14 days.
  • International travellers between 12 and 18 years old will need to undergo a rapid antigen test at Phuket International Airport upon arrival. However, children under 12 years old can travel to Phuket with their parents and do not need to undergo any test.

For domestic travellers:

  • Vaccinated travellers (over 18 years old) can enter Phuket without the need of doing any test.
  • Non-vaccinated travellers, including minors ages between 12 and 18 years old, will need to do a rapid antigen test at the checkpoint. Meanwhile, children under 12 years old, can enter Phuket with their parents and no need for tests.

I passed the immigration, what now?

All travellers must download the Thailand Plus Mobile App for contact tracing during their entire stay. It uses GPS and Bluetooth to detect locations of mobile phone combined with check-in records via QR code scanning in locations during the travellers’ journey.

From the airport, you will be transferred to your hotel. Transfer and hotel must be SHA-approved (Safety and Health Administration).

Can I go on island tours?

Vaccinated travellers are allowed to do activities within Phuket, but they must observe standard protocols of DMHTT (distancing, mask-wearing, hand washing, testing, Thailand Plus). On day 5, guests will undergo an RT PCR test. If they test positive, they will be transferred to the hospital. If they tested negative, they can visit other islands around Phuket (Phi Phi Islands, Koh Yao, Phang Nga Bay) for a one-day tour.

Can I go to other provinces?

Guests must stay at least 7 nights in Phuket before travelling to any other Province around the Country. They will need to do an RT PCR test 72 hours prior to their departure. In addition, they must present it with the COVID 19 Vaccination certificate at the checkpoint of their destination.

Tourists are allowed to stay less than 7 days in Phuket and travel back home or to another country. However, they are not allowed to travel to another province in Thailand before finishing 7 nights in Phuket. This is to help revive the flailing tourism industry in Phuket.

Source: Royal Vacation, Thai Embassy

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