The Thai Cabinet has approved a special tourist visa (STV) for long-staying visitors (90 days) in a bid to revive the tourism sector in Thailand.

Under the STV scheme, long-staying visitors can stay in the country for 90 days, which can be extended twice, each for a further 90 days.

The special visa scheme is expected to become effective after the official announcement and will be available until 30 September, 2021.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Thailand usually received no less than 2 trillion baht revenue each year from international tourists.

Thailand’s economy should contract between 8% to 12% this year given its reliance on exports and tourism and the strong baht, which gained more than 6% in the second quarter.

But the lack of international visitors has deprived the tourism sector of revenue, causing a knock-on effect to all sectors in the economy, and the government is now seeking to allow international visitors to return to limited areas of the country.

The STV will be granted to long-staying visitors who comply with Thailand’s COVID-19 control and preventive measures. They will be required to undergo a 14-day alternative local state quarantine (ALSQ) upon their arrival.

Visitors applying for this visa must be able to produce evidence of their long-term stay in Thailand, such as a receipt for their quarantine accommodation or hospital stay payment, plus either the payment confirmation for accommodation or hospital stay after their quarantine, or a copy of the title deed of their condominium, owned by either the applicant or a family member, or confirmation of a rental condominium or house, or a downpayment confirmation for the purchase or rent of a unit legally sold to a foreigner.

After completing the COVID-19 screening and quarantine measures as set out by the Ministry of Public Health and other agencies, and provided that all the accommodation requirements are met, foreigners can apply for the Special Tourist Visa with the fee of 2,000 baht.

The visa will come with a 90-day validity. An extension for another 90 days can be applied twice, subject to the discretion of an immigration officer, with new applications and fee to be resubmitted and paid each time.

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