The Reopening of Thailand

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Editor's Note: Since the writing of this article, Thailand's entrance requirements have been eased. For the most up-to-date travel information, visit How to Visit Thailand in 2022.

Travel bug biting? How about Thailand for 30, 60, or 90 days? (And if you’re really bitten….270 days)

After nearly two years of hunkering down, those of us who love to travel are ready to break out the luggage, restock the travel toothpaste and start searching for our next destination.  Thailand reopened in a big way on November 1, 2021, by introducing the online Thailand Pass system giving you quick and easy access to the Kingdom.  Please see our article giving the full details on how it works.

This is a great time to visit Thailand.  It’s been reported that tourist travel remains relatively light, which for the experienced globetrotter means uncrowded beaches, restaurants, and luxury hotels.  Indeed, five-star hotels in Bangkok and resort areas such as Phuket, are a fraction of the cost of New York, London, and Hawaii.  And please don’t forget to include the incredible breakfast buffets during your stay.  So, if you’re at all enticed here are your options to spend some time with your toes in the water, or hands-on a laptop answering emails from home, whilst enjoying the land of smiles.

Pick one of Three Tourist Options for Short, Medium, and Immersion, Long Term Stays. 

Option 1 (the traditional holiday):  If you’re planning to visit Thailand for a couple of weeks and up to 30 days no visa is required for those arriving from 64 countries, including the US, UK, Australia, and Canada.   Your purpose for visiting must be tourist-related, and you will need to show that you have a return ticket or a ticket to leave Thailand and travel elsewhere before the end of the 30-day period.  Again, check out our article on the Thailand Pass system for a few additional, health-related requirements for entry into the Kingdom.  

Option 2 (the I really need to recharge my batteries holiday):   So, you’re looking to stay for a couple of months and up to 90 days in Thailand (cooking school?  scuba certification?)   You may apply for a Tourist Visa online through your local Thai Embassy or Royal Thai Consulate.  If you’re planning on staying in Thailand for the entire time then apply for a single-entry visa, and if you’re going to travel the region and Thailand is your jumping-off point, apply for a multiple-entry visa.  In both cases, your visa is good for sixty days and may be extended for an additional 30-days for a fee of B1900 (about US$58.00).  You may get your visa extension at any Bureau of Immigration office.                                

Option 3 (the cultural immersion experience):  Thailand offers a Special Tourist Visa (STV) that permits you to stay in the Kingdom for up to 270 days.  The STV’s initial term is 90 days and may be extended for two additional 90 periods.  You may apply for an STV through your local Thai Embassy or Royal Thai Consulate.  If you are applying outside of your home country issuance of the visa will be more difficult.  The issuance of this visa takes more time because it requires an initial application for a background check by the Thai Immigration Bureau.  Once you receive preapproval from Immigration your full application is submitted online to the Ministry of Foreign affairs, and when approved, your local embassy or consulate will issue the visa.  90-day extensions may be obtained at any Bureau of Immigration office.  Generally, you will need to submit a) a completed and signed extension application and acknowledgment of terms, b) a copy of your passport (Bio data page, STV stamp, arrival stamp, and departure card (TM 6), c) health insurance policy submitted with your Thailand Pass application, d) we would also recommend bringing you Thailand Pass QR code and negative test certificate from you SHA+ hotel.  You should check with the Immigration office where you are seeking the extension as requirements may vary a bit.  The extension fee is B1900 (about US$58.00).  

 Also, note that an STV cannot be changed or extended, so if you’re coming to Thailand to apply for a long-term stay visa (work, family, or retirement) you should enter on a regular, sixty-day tourist visa.  And don’t forget that you will need to go through the Thailand Pass system at this time to gain entry to the Kingdom. If you need assistance with any of these processes, please feel free to contact us at hello@btisolutions.co.  

Tips and Suggestions 

Tourism visas are just that…for tourism purposes.  Yes, you can pop open your laptop and stay in touch with your home office, but working for a Thai employer or otherwise earning money from a Thai business is not permitted and the penalties are steep.  

Don’t overstay your tourist visa term as this may result in a fine or implications for future travel to Thailand.

The Special Tourist Visa was extended by the Thai government and the program is currently set to expire on September 22, 2022, so extensions must be submitted on or before this date.  

When applying for a tourist visa, make sure you’re visiting an actual Thai Embassy or Royal Thai Consulate website.  It should look like this:  Home – Royal Thai Consulate-General, Los Angeles (thaiconsulatela.org)  Some private visa services use sites like “thaiembassy” when you are searching to make a visa application.  

Finally, enjoy your stay in the Kingdom and safe travels.

As ever, feel free to reach out to us at Hello@BTIsolutions.co if you ever have questions or need a hand.

Your Baan Thai Immigration Solutions Team

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Mark Friedman

Managing Director of Baan Thai
Mark is a member of the California Bar and a 1987 graduate with honors from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law.

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