Thailand is a country of endless natural wonder and cultural fascination, and of course, home to a cuisine celebrated the world over. Rightfully so! People come to Thailand for the stunning beaches, temples, night life, hiking, and delicious eats, and travel just isn’t quite the same without it. In good news, it’s open again, but it’s complicated.
Like many neighbors in Southeast Asia, Thailand has a unique way of doing pretty much everything, and that’s been put on display with a never ending gaggle of tourism reboot plans, which inevitably start, stop and fail.
“This is Thailand” and its associated acronym is a phrase used by locals to signify just how unique some ideas are.
But now, in mostly good news, there’s a new plan in place which invites anyone around the world to apply to visit as a tourist again. Hooray! It all sounds great, but in reality it’s nowhere near as easy as paying a fee and hopping on a plane. Here’s the latest in the never ending saga that is Thailand’s tourism reboot, and what you’ll need to visit.
Thailand Launches Two Visitor Visas
Thailand’s previous plans would require an hour of recap, but the long and the short of it is that they were nuts. One involved stranding all tourists on islands, another meant 90 days of pre-paid accommodation and those were two of the better options. Yeah.
So now, Thailand is back with round number who knows, but offering two distinct ways to visit, via a 60 day tourist visa and a 90 day special tourist visa. While the longer stay tourist visa is only eligible to travelers from low risk countries – Brazil is one them? – the 60 day visa is open to anyone in the world, provided they can prove a few things.
Don’t pack your bags yet though.
Focusing on the 60 day visa, there’s a lot one would need to prepare to become eligible, and that’s after realizing that you’ll need to spend 14 days in a government approved quarantine hotel or location upon arrival to start your trip. In other words, unless you’re planning to stay for a while, Thailand may still be a pass.
Here’s the broad strokes of the current process for grabbing a tourist visa for Thailand, which might just make your head spin, despite how easy the below Youtube video makes it look.
- New Thai ‘TR’ Visa.
- Certificate Of Entry.
- Confirmation of many trip related must’s.
- Covid-19 test and fit to fly certificate.
Those were the broad strokes, and the finer details will certainly matter when applying for one of these cumbersome new Thai Tourist ‘TR’ Visas. Let’s dive in, shall we?
You must apply via your local Thai embassy/consulate for a 60 or 90 day tourism visa before anything else counts. You may be able to apply for a certificate of entry (below) without one, but you’ll need one uploaded before your certificate of entry can be finalized and approved.
To prepare for this, it’s best to pull 6 months of recent bank statements for each traveler, or be prepared to add proof of relationship for any family bank accounts. You’ll also need some 2×2 headshots for everyone. And yes, the bank statements are mandatory. You may also need confirmation of employment.
Once approved from a Thai Embassy or Consulate for this initial tourist visa, you’ve made it through step one of many. Here’s a look at the Los Angeles Consulate’s little explainer, which walks you through what you need for the visa part.
A tourist could then apply online for a certificate of entry from Thailand, which is contingent upon things like at least $16,000 in verifiable income over 6 months, covid-19 travel insurance with $100,000+ of coverage, and a few other tidbits. A conditional approval is then the next step. If you want a chuckle, these diagrams to obtain a COE may inspire you to take up nuclear physics, which seems less difficult.
After receiving a “conditional” approval, you’ll then need to upload a confirmed flight confirmation within 15 days of approval, along with your travel confirmation for ASQ ‘alternative state quarantine’, showing where you’ll spend the first 14 days in isolation, which can take place in a variety of hotels, villas, or hospitals.
Finally, before travel, you’ll also need a ‘fit to fly’ certificate alongside a negative covid-19 test result issued within 72 hours prior to departure. As you pack, you just need to remember to bring every one of these forms and proof, and you can enjoy up to 60 days in Thailand, after the 14 days in strict quarantine, of course.
GSTP reached out to the Thai Embassy in London to confirm these measures, and received the following statement about steps to obtain a Thai Tourist (TR) Visa.
If you are eligible, please complete and submit visa application online…Embassy of Thailand
1) Please visit www.thaievisa.go.th 2) Sign up for individual 3) Complete the visa application, submit and make a payment online 4) Send your passport together with a payment confirmation page, as well as a prepaid self-addressed envelop (preferably Special Delivery) to us by post, so we can send your passport back to you.
3)Once the visa has been approved, you may proceed to apply for a Certificate of Entry (COE). All passengers travelling to Thailand need a COE issued by the Royal Thai Embassy to enter the country. Each passenger has to register and apply individually. Parents can apply for their children.
You need both visa & COE to enter Thailand. )Also, prior to your departure, it is necessary for all non-Thai passengers to have the documents ready to be presented to the immigration upon your arrival. Failure to do so can result in the denial of entering into the Kingdom of Thailand.
As it said on the tin at the top of the article, Thailand is once again open to visitors from all around the world, but it’s complicated. If you’re thinking about going, you may need to take some time off work to complete the forms.