Thailand has reopened its borders
We have been fielding some calls of late from people wishing to move or travel to Thailand. Yes, you can – Thailand has opened its borders. But of course, nothing is that easy in 2020 and extra rules do apply.
Thailand depends heavily on tourism with some estimates having tourism as much as 15% of GDP. Hence Thailand has been hit hard by Covid and not surprising it is eager to open its borders and get the economy ticking again.
What visas can you get?
There are currently no visas on arrival. The Thai Gov’t is (rightly) keeping strict controls on those that are entering their country. Also, as part of the visa application process you will need to provide certain requirements as part of the application process.
All visas applicants must apply through the Thai consulate/embassy in your home country.
Tourist Visa – 60-days (ST)
This visa is open to all nationalities. This can be extended for a further 30 days once in Thailand from the date the extension is applied for but before the initial 60-day visa expires.
Long Stay Tourist Visa – 90-days (STV)
This visa is open to citizens of counties considered to be low risk. Australia is one of them.
It’s nice to only allow citizens of higher risk countries only 60-days. That’ll keep the Covid out. But who are we to complain – those are the rules. It’s Thailand.
The 90-day visa can be extended twice to give a maximum 9-months in country.
Non-Immigrant O-A ‘Retirement’ Visa.
Applicable for people over age 50. This visa allows you to stay for up to one year. This visa can be extended on a yearly basis in Thailand.
Non-Immigrant O-X ‘Retirement’ Visa.
Applicable for those over age 50. Allows you to stay in Thailand for effectively up to 10 years.
Thailand is comparatively empty
Travel to Thailand now and you may get some extra special attention. Thailand ‘enjoys’ about 40 million tourists each year. This year it expects only 8 million – or around 20%. This means substantially empty streets, bars, restaurants etc. They are eager to have you back and are offering amazing deals on just about everything.
We will be updating all visa and property sections of our web site soon. We’ll keep you posted when this happens.
Self-isolation on arrival
As with most other countries, people entering Thailand will need to self-isolate in a state sanctioned quarantine hotel for 14 days on arrival. Documentation of hotel is part of the visa application process.
You must have medical or travel insurance that covers Covid for the length of stay. Insurance must be a minimum cover of USD$100,000 for Covid medical treatment, and THB 400,000 for other medical and accident cover.
Although it is only a requirement to have this cover in place for the initial visa period and not for the period of any visa extensions, for obvious reasons we highly recommend the cover be in place for the total period of your stay.
For the longer stay visas – the O-A and O-X visas, your medical insurance will also need an additional THB 40,000 in outpatient cover.
You can get into Thailand……. but will Australia let you leave?
If you are an Australian or permanent resident, you cannot leave Australia unless you have an exemption. These include such reasons as being an essential worker for Covid aid, for medical reasons, it’s in the national interest etc.
For a great majority of us these reasons will not apply. However, there are real and easy reasons to be exempt and be able to leave Australia. These include:
- You are traveling outside of Australia for 3 months or greater. Obtaining the STV (90-day) visas or the O-A / O-X longer term visas will be suitable.
- You are an ordinary resident in another country other than Australia.
Of course, this is easy if you are not an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
If you are and Australian or permanent resident, you will be considered an ‘ordinary resident in another country’ if your travel movements show that you have spent more time outside of Australia than inside over the past 12-24 months. This automatic exemption is useful for retirees and other expats that were living overseas prior to Covid.
The above is a summary of the real possibility of being able to move to Thailand. It’s only suitable for longer term stays, remembering you will need to quarantine when you get there, and on your return to Australia. But we take this to be a nice first step forward and hopefully 2021 can bring increasing travel possibilities with fewer restrictions.