Lockdowns getting to you? Craving an international escape? An extended stay in Thailand is now possible. After introducing a 90-day visa in October, then a shorter 60-day visa to visitors from mid-risk countries, Thailand is now permitting foreign nationals from around the world to apply for the visa — though there are, of course, a few caveats.

Thailand escaped relatively unscathed from the pandemic. And the country’s military-led government is keen to keep things this way. Thailand’s doors have been firmly closed to the vast majority of international visitors since March, but with more than 20% of its GDP stemming from tourism, this has had a massive negative impact on its economy. In an effort to kick-start this sector, the Thai government has been gradually relaxing its pandemic-era visa rules.

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The Special Tourist Visa (STV), which kicked off in October, is designed to allow travelers to enter the country with precautions in place. Initially those who received the visa were required to enter from low-and mid-risk destinations, but now Thailand is opening up to the world with this 60-day tourist visa, according to the Bangkok Post.

Potential tourists apply for the visa and certificate of entry in advance, and if approved, must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, after which they’re free to explore the country. But there are a few extra steps in there too. For example, visitors must show booking conformation of an Alternative State Quarantine hotel, pay a $40 visa fee, fill in a 'Fit to Fly' health form, present a negative COVID-19 result from a test taken within 72 hours of travel, and provide proof of health insurance that covers up to US$100,000. Applicants must also show bank statements with sufficient fund to cover their trip to Thailand as per their Thai Embassy's website.

The Golden Mount Temple in Bangkok, Thailand © Craig Schuler / Shutterstock

The 60-day tourist visa can be extended to a maximum 90-day stay. After quarantine in Bangkok, tourists are free to explore other parts of Thailand as they wish, but the government has indicated that their movements may be monitored by an app or wristband.

For details on the visas, Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn suggests contacting your local branch of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

This article was originally published on September 22, 2020 and updated on December 10, 2020.

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This article was first published September 2020 and updated December 2020

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