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Finish of visa amnesty September 26 | Complete Thailand Travel Guide (September 2020)

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Finish of visa amnesty September 26 | Complete Thailand Travel Guide (September 2020) | The Thaiger
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Latest update – September 22. The Thaiger updates information about travelling to and re-entering Thailand. Depending on where you’re coming from, your purpose for visiting Thailand and your country’s own Covid-19 travel restrictions, the situation is changing daily. If you are overseas and wish to come to Thailand your FIRST port of call must be the Royal Thai Embassy in your country before you make any bookings.

What happens on September 26?

Tourists have until September 26 to renew their visa or they could get arrested and deported. The warning has come directly from the immigration bureau. Immigration officials have also stated there won’t be another visa amnesty.

“Those who overstay will face arrest and be deported back to their home countries.”

Immigration officials estimate there are more than 150,000 foreign nationals who need to have their tourist visas renewed as they would have lapsed since the borders were closed and international flights largely grounded in April.

“Those who don’t renew their visas by this Saturday will face a daily fine.”

Some foreigners who arrived on tourist visas earlier in the year have been in Thailand since late March when the Thai borders closed and many international flights were cancelled due to the world coronavirus pandemic. Other people had resident or business visas that have lapsed and not been renewed. They will need to renew them before September 2. The visa amnesty was renewed twice since many people were unable to their home countries, but now the amnesty is coming to an end.

Immigration officials say they will enforce the end of the amnesty. Immigration police also say they also plan to track down the tourists by using the addresses kept in the database. They will be arrested and face legal action and probably deportation and could be blacklisted from re-entering Thailand in the future. Officially, those who overstay their visa by 90 days are barred from entering Thailand for 1 year. Those who overstay more than 10 years are banned for life.

The website for the Thai Immigration Bureau is HERE. Good luck, it’s not the easiest website to navigate.

Also, if you have a current visa, you must do your 90 day reporting now. The deadline for updating your 90 day reporting was August 31, so you may have to pay a fine if you are not up to date.

Tell us about the new long stay ‘special tourist visa’, the STV.

The Thai cabinet has approved a plan to allow foreign tourists to visit Thailand but they’ll have to agree to mandatory 14 day quarantine and stay for at least 90 days. The new 90 day special tourist visa would be able to be extended twice, for 90 days each time. So, a total of 270 days (around 9 months). It was also announced that travellers would have to arrive on charter flights only, further pushing up the price of potential travel back to Thailand.

“Visitors can arrive for tourism or health services, and they can stay at alternative state quarantine facilities, specific areas or at hospitals that function as quarantine facilities. Our public health system is amongst the best in the world and people can have confidence in it.”

The new ‘STV’ (Special Tourist Visa) which will cost 2,000 baht and will last for 90 days each. The new visa regulation will be in effect until September 30, 2021 and may be extended beyond that time.

The government noted that it doesn’t have the ability to fully re-open to tourism at the moment as they have to be able to process incoming visitors and find approved locations for them to serve their 14 day quarantine.”The target is to welcome 100-300 visitors a week, or up to 1,200 people a month, and generate income of about 1 billion baht a month.”

Thai officials have also said they will only accept tourists from “low risk” countries, without specifying what those countries are.

On Friday, September 18, a director at the Department of Disease Control, said that foreign tourists will have to present proof of a negative Covid-19 test no more than 72 hours prior to travel. Additionally… “they must also have quarantined in their country of origin, have health insurance for international travel and a specified minimum amount of money in their bank account”. He said they will also need a record of “not visiting crowded places prior to their departure”.

The Thaiger will update the details of the new long stay tourist visa as soon as the become available.

Here are the basic published provisions approved by the cabinet…

1. A foreigner who wishes to travel to stay for a long period (Long-stay travel) in Thailand.

2. A foreigner who has acknowledged they are willing to comply with Thailand’s public health measures in Thailand, and agree to conduct a state quarantine at an Alternative Local State Quarantine (ALSQ) for 14 days.

3. A foreigner who provides evidence of long-term residency in Thailand, including evidence of payment for the hotel accommodation or hospital accommodation that provides Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) service in Thailand and at least one piece of the following evidence…

  • Proof of payment for hotel accommodation or hospital accommodation after the state quarantine
  • A copy of ownership of an apartment or condominium belonging to foreigners or family members of foreigners
  • A copy of a rental license or deposit payment of the purchase of apartment, condominium, or house by foreigners in Thailand

How is Thailand doing compared to the rest of the world with it’s re-opening to tourists?

The UN World Tourism Organisation has published its latest update on the state of the world’s re-openings in the Covid-era. 53% of the world’s tourist destinations have now started easing travel restrictions government’s imposed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The UNWTO reports acknowledges that many destinations “remain cautious” and some are even re-closing borders and tightening up restrictions again.

It’s the 7th edition of the “Covid-19 Related Travel Restrictions: A Global Review for Tourism”and identifies an ongoing global trend to gradually restart the world’s tourism machine. The report analyses restrictions by governments up to September 1. The research covers a total of 115 destinations (53% of all destinations worldwide) have now eased their travel restrictions – that’s an increase of 28 since 19 July. Of these, two have lifted all restrictions, while the remaining 113 continue to have certain restrictive measures in place.

• Another stand-out stat was that in advanced economies, 79% of tourism destinations had already started easing restrictions. In emerging economies, less than half, just 47% of destinations, have started the process.

• 64% of those destinations which have eased have a “high or medium dependence” on airlines to deliver international tourists to their location. Island destinations are particularly at risk at this time as the air lift is critical to their tourist success.

• 43% of all worldwide destinations continue to have their borders completely closed to all tourism, of which 27 destinations have had their borders “completely closed” for at least 7 months.

• Half of all destinations in the survey, with borders completely closed to tourism, are listed as being among the “World’s Most Vulnerable Countries”. They include 10 Small Island Developing States, one Least Developed Country and three Land-Locked Developing Countries.

Should I use a visa agent to extend my visa?

There are plenty of ads being posted at this time offering magic extensions to visas and opportunities to stay in Thailand after September 26. Please be aware that some of these alleged visa agents are scams. There are also plenty of good visa agents who will be able to provide you with advice and solutions, at a cost, allowing you to remain in the country.

If you do wish to contact a visa agent at this time make sure you get a referral from a friend, visit their office in person or ask plenty of questions and check their bonafides. Do not start sending money to accounts until you have seen some paperwork or evidence that they are able to provide you with a legal and professional service. Caveat emptor!

I had a retirement visa and have lived in Thailand for many years. When can I return?

Soon, it seems. The next batch of returnee categories is now being considered by the CCSA. This time, foreigners with permanent residences who have been stranded overseas for the past 6 months, and long-term foreign residents (retirement visa), will receive priority when the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration announces the next date for the next phase of lifting the shutters on Thailand’s borders.

The chairman of the CCSA’s panel, who oversea the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, announced that the panel will recommend these two groups of foreigners back into Thailand “as they have high purchasing power”.

Both groups would still have to undergo the mandatory state-controlled 14 day quarantine. It’s under the quarantine that so many Thai repatriates have been found to have Covid-19 during the series of tests they undergo.

As of today there has been no official date announced for the commencement of this program.

If you believe you fall into either of these categories, contact your local Thai Embassy or consulate to discuss your circumstances BEFORE you purchase a ticket or make any other arrangements.

Is it safe in Thailand at the moment?

Yes. No less safe than usual and certainly there has been no civil unrest that would make you ponder your personal safety beyond the usual precautions you would take anywhere in the world. The current student protests are fairly limited and are publicised ahead of time so you can avoid those situations. Whilst there has been some outbursts against foreigners from a Thai politician and a few stressed-out locals, the situation for foreigners remains safe and secure at this time.

What happened to the Phuket Model?

It was a non-starter after the government encountered resistance from some in Phuket. It was also not well received by travellers and many in the local hospitality industry.

At this stage, a model to allow limited tourists to re-enter the country, on extended tourist visas, with some restrictions, is being hammered out by the CCSa in conjunction with the Public Health Department, TAT and Ministry of Sports and Tourism. Nothing has been decided at this stage.

Are there any Facebook pages where I can share my story about wanting to come back to Thailand?

The ‘Love Is Not Tourism Thailand’ Facebook page, which includes families torn apart by the pandemic, is calling on the Thai government to help reunite their families.

“We’re asking the government to issue visas or allow entry for family members and lovers to reunite with each other for humanitarian reasons. Evidence such as a passport with an entry stamp into Thailand, photos, and text messages should be able to verify their unions.”

I have been stranded in Thailand since April. Now I have run out of money and don’t know what to do.

This is a really difficult situation and you’d be well advised to contact your friends and family, and advise them of your predicament. Also, you MUST contact your country’s embassy or consulate to alert them of the situation. They will at least have information about repatriating you to your home country or perhaps other options that may be available.

Just hoping your situation is going to improve won’t work. Get as much information as you can about your options. And hopefully your family or friends can send you some funds to tide you over during this crazy time. Chock dee krub!

The airlines are selling tickets to fly to Thailand now. Should I buy one?

No. Don’t buy a ticket for a flight to Thailand until you have ALL the paperwork required, have discussed your trip with your local embassy and you have been approved for travel. Why the airlines keep selling tickets, for flights that will be cancelled, is a mystery.

There are currently no plans to open Thailand’s borders for international tourism beyond proposals for a limited opening for tourism into Phuket called the Phuket Model. It was proposed to start in October but no decisions have been made.

Which leads us to the next question….

When will Thailand open its borders for international tourism?

Both the Civil Aviation Authority and a Deputy Governor from the TAT have stated that it is unlikely that the borders will be reopened for general tourism until 2021. But there is now the new Special Tourist Visa which allows tourists to visit for 90 days at a time (extendable twice for a total of 270 days), at a cost of 2,000 baht per application or extension. There are still quite draconian restrictions on the new visa, including the 14 day mandatory quarantine and lots of paperwork. Your starting point would be to contact your Royal Thai Embassy in your country.

Would a Thailand Elite Visa solve my problems?

Yes and no. The Elite Visa program is an excellent and convenient means of staying in Thailand with few problems, allowing you to avoid visits to Immigration and most of the paperwork. But it’s an expensive up-front costs and, for now, there is a 3-4 month waiting period to process new applications.

At this time, there is also a limit on the number of people, on various visas, they are allowing to re-enter Thailand each day. But if you have the cash, it’s definitely an option as people on the Thailand Elite Visa are currently allowed to re-enter the Kingdom.

Our flight has a transit stop in Thailand. Can we get off the plane and spend a day in Bangkok?

No. At this time all transits require passengers to remain on the plane. There may be some situations where they deplane passengers but you will be restricted to a section of the airport.

Can I get a job, get a new visa and stay in Thailand?

Maybe, possibly. Jobs for foreigners are thin on the ground at the moment. Outside of teaching English (there will always be jobs for English teachers in Thailand), most companies are cutting staff right now, rather than employing. You would need to secure a letter of offer from your new employer and visit you local immigration office to discuss the matter urgently, before September 26.

Can I fly back to my country and get a new Non B visa, and then return to Thailand?

In theory, yes. But it will take some good planning and a dose of luck for the plan to be successful. Theo did it… HERE’s the link to his story. You will certainly need to do a 14 day quarantine upon your return and the capricious nature of various embassy and immigration officials could make the many steps to get all the paperwork a nightmare.

What about other tropical holiday spots?

Island economies, dependent on tourism – from Bali in Indonesia, to Hawaii in the US – grapple with the pandemic, which has brought global travel to a virtual halt. World aviation has dropped by 97% (last month compared year-on-year). Re-opening to tourists has led to the resurgence of infection in some places like the Caribbean island of Aruba, and governments are fearful of striking the wrong balance between public health and economic reality. Even The Maldives, which confidently re-opened for tourism, has had a recent surge of new cases and forcing the government to rethink its plans.

Ibiza and the other popular Spanish party islands, are also devastated by the current Covid situation.

Can I travel to Thailand for medical Tourism?

Yes. Even though Thailand’s borders are still closed to most travel, including tourism, there are some select groups being allowed back into the Kingdom. Medical tourists are one of those groups but, for most countries, ONLY for urgent or emergency medical matters. Foreign medical tourists are now permitted to apply to come to Thailand for medical treatment with strict disease control measures being put in place.

BUT, and there’s always a ‘but’ at the moment, some countries will not permit its citizens to travel outside of their home countries, even for medical emergencies. In all cases, you would need to consult your local Royal Thai Embassy to find out if you are eligible, before you book a flight or sing a contract with a medical provider in Thailand.

Under the CCSA regulations, foreign medical and wellness tourists have to arrive by air to ensure effective disease control, not via land border checkpoints at this stage.

“Those seeking cosmetic surgery and infertility treatments will be allowed to enter the country. Those seeking Covid-19 treatment are barred.”

If you’d like to investigate coming to Thailand at this time, go to MyMediTravel to browse procedures and check out your options.

Spokesperson Dr. Taweesilp Visanuyothin says the visitors must have an appointment letter from a doctor in Thailand and entry certificates issued by Thai embassies across the globe. People wanting to visit Thailand for medical procedures at this time will need to contact the Thai Embassy in their country to organise the visa and paperwork. Thailand’s major hospitals will provide potential candidates with an appointment letter.

They will also need to produce proof that they tested negative for Covid-19 before their arrival. Once in Thailand they will be tested again and will required to stay at the medical facility for at least 14 days, during which they will be able to start their chosen treatments.

The CCSA says that medical procedures will only be allowed for foreigners at hospitals that have been registered to provide the treatments and have proven their ability to contain any potential outbreak. Potential patients will only be allowed to bring a total of 3 family members or caretakers during their visit to Thailand. Caretakers will have to go through the same screening procedures as the patient.

Embassies and participating hospitals will be able to provide more information about procedures, facilities, paperwork requirements and arrival options.

Again, MAKE SURE you consult the Royal Thai Embassy in your home country before proceeding with any medical tourism pans.

Are there any plans to extend the range of foreigners who can come into Thailand at this stage?

Two more categories are being currently considered for re-entry into Thailand – foreigners with permanent residences who have been stranded overseas for the past 6 months, and long-term foreign residents (retirement visa), will receive priority when the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration announces the date for the next phase of re-opening.

Since Thailand’s experience with Covid-19, it has closed its borders to tourists and visitors, stranding both Thais and foreigners who want to return to the Kingdom. It also stranded up to 500,000 foreign visitors who are unable to leave Thailand due to the border closures or simply decided to wait out the peak of the pandemic here. Many of those have already flown back home on either specially organised repatriation flights or the handful of scheduled flights still leaving Bangkok.

Although restrictions are slowly being lifted, the new measures prioritise professionals, businesspeople and wellness travellers, rather than couples who aren’t legally married, including gay couples, and other types of non-immigrant visas.

People currently allowed back into Thailand include people holding a certificate of permanent residency, a current and valid work permit, those who have special arrangements with, or have been invited by the Thai government, and migrant workers. Holders of a Thailand Elite visa are also permitted under the current situation, although there is a cap on entry numbers under that program.

Travel advice from the UK government

From 4 July, Thailand is exempt from the FCO advice against all non-essential international travel. This is based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.

However, the requirement to self-isolate on return to the UK from Thailand remains in place. See guidance on entering or returning to the UK.

The following advice within Thailand remains in place. The FCO advise against all but essential travel to areas within the provinces on the Thailand-Malaysia border, including…

  • Pattani
  • Yala
  • Narathiwat
  • Southern Songkhla province. This does not include areas north of and including the A43 road between Hat Yai and Sakom, and areas north-west of and including the train line which runs between Hat Yai and Pedang Besar.

Travel to Thailand is subject to entry restrictions.

  • At present only certain categories of foreign nationals are permitted to enter or transit Thailand.
  • If you’re eligible to enter, you will be subject to a 14-day state quarantine at a Thai government-designated facility at your own expense. If suspected of carrying Covid-19, you may be denied entry into the country
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53 Comments

53 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    August 26, 2020 at 10:38 am

    Good advice but for one point. The British embassy will be absolutely useless.
    In fact they will make it almost impossible to contact, and if they are contacted they will delay answering.
    All a UK citizen will receive is bland cut and paste advice that will be near useless. The British embassy have evolved a complicated system to avoid work, and the basis of it is: Avoid contact.

    • Avatar

      J.C.

      September 17, 2020 at 8:19 am

      They probably just do that for schizos like you. I’ve been there 3 times and never had any trouble at all.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        September 17, 2020 at 9:45 am

        “3 times” for what?

        They have little to do with passports, nothing to do with visas, and do little beyond the ‘cut’n’pastes’ Toby Andrews describes and notarisations.

        Twenty years ago or more they offered a begrudging, minimal service. Now they can’t even manage that.

  2. Avatar

    Perceville Smithers

    August 26, 2020 at 10:59 am

    This one of the better FAQ that I’ve seen. Most give answers that leaves a person more confused.

    It’s sad but some of these situations need to be fast tracked e.g., Retiree Visa and those who have spouse and/or child. It sends a bad message to those who are considering long-term investing in Thailand.

  3. Avatar

    Ray W.

    August 26, 2020 at 11:11 am

    Its good you’re doing this. The people want the boarders open and we need the foreign investment to return and that won’t happen until the foreign tourism returns as well. I hope this and other conversations like this get the fear driven government to accept the, marginal, covid risks and get the boarders open again, before more livelihoods and lives are lost to the rampant poverty and desperation.

  4. Avatar

    Preesy Chepuce

    August 26, 2020 at 12:08 pm

    Thailand has stop all this.
    Just pick a few zones… Maybe start with islands with airports like Phuket and Samui, and allow direct flights to Phuket and followon flights to Samui and just rely on test and trace only, no quarantine. The Thai government needs to actively campaign to bring people back, rather than just assume they will come, especially with all these quarantine things. Thailand also needs to talk to Western countries to get Thailand on the green list. Even Malaysia was added to the UK exempt list last week. It seems like the Thai government doesn’t quite understand how bad the implications are for tourism, and economy if Thailand doesn’t get itself up in that group of safe modern countries. The quickest way to end the protests is to open up and bring back Western tourism, retiree, and expat money.

    • Avatar

      Andrew

      September 1, 2020 at 8:19 pm

      100,000-200,000 in Phuket Model.

      • Avatar

        Rinky Stingpiece

        September 14, 2020 at 9:21 am

        Just hope that you don’t get tiny portions of weird sub-b-grade-airline food for 2 weeks.

  5. Avatar

    Genevieve Hawkins

    August 27, 2020 at 8:32 am

    This is a good list right now everything is changing at such a fast rate of speed nobody can keep up. I do have one big issue with the Covid test, which is also an issue I brought up before I intended to go to Thailand last Thursday, which is, what happens if you test positive in Thailand? I am assuming an asymptomatic positive I suppose I could fall ill on the flight but if I feel unwell beforehand I am obviously staying home. I mean, do they send you on a flight back home immediately? Do they take you to an observation area, and for how long? Are you put in hospital quarantine? Are you seperated from other family members, such as your 7 year old daughter? And then what happens to her if yes? The doctor who did my medical exam in Las Vegas said that due to the high rate of false positives on Covid tests, the advice now is to avoid work crowds et cetera until symptoms have gone away for 24 hours. But because so many people are getting tested because they “had” to get tested, not because they are sick, it’s coming up more and more that folks are blacklisted. Since the Covid test is unreliable both ways (i.e. some people who are really sick test negative too), the doctor said it should be scrapped. Clarity about this issue is the one thing I am still missing. I have no problem with temperature screening in airports, stadiums, concerts, amusement parks, any type of big special event like that with mass gatherings. But what do they do with positive cases, especially if they are travelling with young children?

    • Avatar

      Smtih

      August 27, 2020 at 9:30 am

      The answer is pretty easy and straightforward when you understand in which world you live. If you are tested positive (false positive or “true”), you gonna realize your mandary insurance doesn’t cover the cost with a special mention which say it cover you if you fell sick in your travel country but not if you are sick when you arrive. So the only answer is, be ready to be scam.

    • Avatar

      Alan mcgilvary

      September 14, 2020 at 9:49 pm

      Please recheck facts on elite visa. I am certain you cannot enter atthe moment with elite privelege.

    • Avatar

      Olivia

      September 20, 2020 at 9:44 pm

      In the list is not mentioned those with FAMILY VISA, which are already allowed with all the many paperwork presented….

  6. Avatar

    Jean-Marie

    August 27, 2020 at 9:18 am

    Unless one has a strong reason to want to return to Thailand, such as family reunion, expats now out the kingdom, I don’t understand this urge for western tourists to come to Thailand ?
    The currency remains too high, and there is no indication the government has the will to rectify this situation. To make matters nastier, local bus companies will not carry foreigners (and that’s westerners) under the reason that they carry THE disease, in effect totally ignoring reality that only returning Thai citizens have been added to the daily tally of infected persons. Furthermore expect to pay at least five times more than the locals for the right of entry into national .parks, some temples being closed to foreigners, and there you have it. Not worth it, however beautiful the country might be.
    Thailand (its government, that is) does not want Westerners, it wants Chinese.
    So my advice is to look for friendlier, and closer destinations to your own country. In any case do not expect Thailand to timidly re open its borders before 2021.

  7. Avatar

    elizabeth jeffords

    August 28, 2020 at 9:12 am

    This is great ..I have been stuck in beautiful Denver Colorado for 6 months…and after 15 years in South Asia…and 70 years of age…I do not think it is wise for me to spend the cold winter in Denver..

    I am on a retirement visa…and will return to Thailand almost immediately..

    “”The next batch of returnee categories is now being considered by the CCSA. This time, foreigners with permanent residences who have been stranded overseas for the past 6 months, and long-term foreign residents (retirement visa), will receive priority when the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration announces the next date for the next phase of lifting the shutters on Thailand’s borders.””

    • Avatar

      lou

      September 19, 2020 at 8:43 pm

      dear Elizabeth,
      and you believe that you wont wait for months to get into a plane, nice dream, good luck to you

    • Avatar

      Patrick

      September 22, 2020 at 10:48 am

      Why don’t you go skiing in the Rockies? It’s clean, white, people are welcoming and it’s better for your health.

  8. Avatar

    A J Andrews

    August 29, 2020 at 7:50 pm

    Isolation for Thais free. Farangs 80,000 bt for 14 days. As. I have a house and my wife can meet me at airport with car surely with tests a more economical way can be found to enter the country

    • Avatar

      TS

      September 16, 2020 at 10:35 am

      economical for you- yes, quaratine at your home. Unfortunaly your saving money is not even being considered by this gov. No, you’ll spend the big bucks in one of their chosen hotels if you wanna get back

  9. Avatar

    Cam

    August 29, 2020 at 10:05 pm

    I have tickets to come in March but I’m losing hope that things will be open by then. I’m fully prepared for whatever measures are imposed OTHER than 14 day quarantine. If that’s still in place, unfortunately my wife and I will have to postpone until that’s lifted.

  10. Avatar

    Gabby

    August 30, 2020 at 4:40 pm

    What happens to all the foreign condo owners? Will there be any easing in their case?

  11. Avatar

    EdwardV

    August 31, 2020 at 11:53 am

    It is being reported the first week of the so called Phuket model is a quarantine in your room. Only in the second week do you get to roam the hotel grounds . As for travel bubbles they kinda work counter to the Phuket model. If you live in Japan or Hk, why quarantine in Phuket if you can wait a month or two and visit in a travel bubble? After all the entire purpose of a travel bubble is to not need to quarantine.

  12. Avatar

    Remo

    September 1, 2020 at 6:09 pm

    Quote from a senior director of the Bank of Thailand:

    If foreign travellers still cannot visit the country, this will impact Thailand’s economic growth more severely next year. The government should strike a balance between tourism measures and outbreak containment.

    • Avatar

      Preesy Chepuce

      September 3, 2020 at 1:17 am

      He’s right, but there aren’t many people willing to pay the high cost or risk being stuck in Thailand. Not everyone can easily go either, what with quarantines back in their own countries, preventing them from working.

  13. Avatar

    Mel Burn

    September 3, 2020 at 8:10 am

    Just another reason not to buy property in Thailand and not to invest in anything. We spend quite a bit of money here and will return only when situation goes back to normal. There are other countries in the world that want our money.

  14. Avatar

    Svcoquette

    September 14, 2020 at 10:11 am

    What about all the foreign yacht owners who are stuck here with no place to go as all nearby countries have closed their seaports to foreign yachts. Most have come from Malaysia and wish to return there but the most recent Movement Control Order (MCO) has been extended at least to 31 Dec. A person’s passport country should not be the only reason to deny staying (or entry), where they wish to go (or have come from) should be the deciding factor.
    In our case (and many other yachties) we came from Malaysia and wish to return there but cannot. We have USA passports but have no home there anymore, our boat is our only home. Forcing us to fly back to USA before 26 Sept., especially at our age (67), is too much risk and we have nothing there to return to. Plus leaving our “home” here unattended will probably result in it being vandalized as many yachts have been.
    We have long term VISA s in Malaysia and come to Thailand every Feb with a tourist VISA s to get boat work done, spending much money and enjoy the friendly welcome we receive. It seems the friendly welcome and appreciation for the money we infuse directly into the local economy is ending 26 Sept. Your yachting industry will suffer in years to come as yachties are quick to pass on their experiences.
    Thai Customs were friendly and understanding in extending the customs import duty excemption an additional 6 months with no hassle, no cost and a friendly smile. Immigration could learn from them.

  15. Avatar

    Mike

    September 16, 2020 at 8:38 am

    Still too much headache.

  16. Avatar

    Patrick

    September 16, 2020 at 10:36 am

    This gov really lost all views on reality. The latest 90 day visa plan again designed to fail. Who is their target audience? Who wants to prepare all this hard to get paperwork and do those high risk pre-payments? 14 days quarantine with little choice and overpaid facilities. Proof of payment for accommodations afterwards (what period? it’s supposed to be about travelling?). The borders are locked tightly. Heck, even if they are willing to do all those tasks and tests they will basically be stuck in Thailand afterwards. No way to visit your home country for a few days for business or family huh? If you do, then you’re back to square one to reenter Thailand again… A couple of hundred visitors a week is nothing too (if they even achieve that). Keep ruining your tourist industry. Europeans can travel to any country in Europe without any paperwork. Go to the sun, go to the snow. All these plans have one thing in common: way too much uncertainty and hassle to be really an option. Stop treating covid19 (aka the flu 2.0) as a Ebola. Thailand is somehow desperate to keep the zero cases figure and will probably way overact when an internal case cannot be ignored (then they probably blame the Birmee’s which they are already preparing for (like illegal immigrants is something new…)

    “The government sees tourism as a key tool to drive the economy, reduce poverty and lower income inequality. The government will also focus on sustainability by promoting responsible tourism.”. They certainly do their best to kill it off now, not even trying to keep things afloat.

  17. Avatar

    TS

    September 16, 2020 at 10:39 am

    Agree to stay for 90 days? How will that work? Blacklisted if depart before 90 days? Need a note from mom saying its an emergency?

    • Avatar

      Yogibaer

      September 17, 2020 at 12:22 pm

      In Future there will BE fines or imprisonment for Visa Understay😂

  18. Avatar

    jamporn

    September 16, 2020 at 10:42 am

    Great article, good clear information.
    But is this statement correct
    “long-term foreign residents (retirement visa), will receive priority”
    There are still thousands of Thais wanting to get home. They are the first priority for flights and rightly so, are foreign retirees to be given priority over Thai people?
    Would be good if that statement could be confirmed or amended.

    • Avatar

      Maag

      September 22, 2020 at 2:37 pm

      Thai people first…..of course !

  19. Avatar

    mike

    September 16, 2020 at 11:02 am

    Excellent! Great way to encourage backpackers! The average amount of time spent in Thailand by a backpacker is 3 months – now budget travellers finally have a way of hitting the road again.

    Budget guesthouses and eateries will be springing up all over the place. Good job.

    Oh, hang on, the TAT want to encourage high-spenders, dont’t they. Nevermind 🙂

    • Avatar

      Yogibaer

      September 16, 2020 at 1:06 pm

      Budget travellers WHO will stay in the mandatory 2 weeks quarantine Hotels for around 70000baht? Hard to imagine

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      September 16, 2020 at 1:33 pm

      At 80,000 baht for their 14 days in quarantine I doubt too many backpackers will agree with you.

    • Avatar

      J.C.

      September 17, 2020 at 8:22 am

      >Oh, hang on, the TAT want to encourage high-spenders, dont’t they. Nevermind 🙂

      Backpackers are dirty, cheapskate plebs. No one wants to attract them.

      • Avatar

        lou

        September 20, 2020 at 11:15 pm

        sorry, you forgot all farangs are dirty according a minister of health
        One thing everyone seems to misread, the need of green country free of COVID for a long time, we dont have this list first to be able to register

  20. Avatar

    Bobby m

    September 16, 2020 at 1:32 pm

    Appalling and doomed to failure due to cost and 14 day prison sentence.

    The sad thing is those with loved ones and property will feel forced to use the method. You should publish the costs of entry in their entirety. Not the accommodation for the long stay. Just the entry. Tests and 14days of quarantine etc, so that people forced to use the method know what they are letting themselves in for. The visa cost is minuscule compared to the other costs they will face.

    Thailand, you should be ashamed of yourselves, if you want people to come on long says under these entry conditions. Then you pay for the tests and 14 day quarantine you are imposing.

    Wake up and smell the coffee. This virus is not going away and waiting for the vaccine is a fool’s errand. This is viral not bacterial. How many long lasting vaccines are there for viral infections ??? Don’t say the flu jab, because that has to be changed on a best guess basis every year. Viruses mutate.

    • Avatar

      Liz Lowman

      September 16, 2020 at 3:54 pm

      I agree with the comments above. We have family (English) working in Bangkok and would love to see them after 7 months. Happy to pay for quarantine if we are then free to travel with the app but to stay 90 days minimum??Why?? That will put most tourists off! Does the Government want to encourage responsible tourism or not?
      Feel sad for the tourist industry there…..

  21. Avatar

    Antony

    September 16, 2020 at 3:54 pm

    I’m a digital nomad and 9 month visa is very attractive to me. But yes while I can afford the quarantine I’d rather wait until this situation settles.

    When this high season fails and no tourists get to Thailand government will be forced to ease the entry.

    It does seem rather funny that Thai government think that people will spend that much on quarantine while they can get an awesome vacation at their country of origin for that amount.

  22. Avatar

    EdwardV

    September 17, 2020 at 10:27 am

    Can’t see any way Thailand generates 1billon baht per month from only 1,200 tourists. It’s just not going to happen, not anywhere near that amount. The target group is rich retirees but that same group can go anywhere. Why go somewhere with so many restrictions and where you automatically lose the first 14 days of vacation? Of where if heaven forbid you come down with the virus in quarantine (Lots of people have), they ship your rear off to a Thai hospital for god knows how long. Oh and Hawaii officially opens with just a pre flight test and no more quarantine on October 15th. Just saying, options …

    • Avatar

      Patrick

      September 22, 2020 at 11:10 am

      Rich people don’t come to Thailand; they spend the winter in Gstaad, Courchevel, Megève, St. Moritz, Vail or Aspen. When they feel like going elsewhere, they jet to Monaco, St. Tropez, Ibiza, Palm Beach, St. Barth or on some private islands in the Bahamas. They’ll never come to Thailand. The jet setters have their agenda already organized for the next 6 months.

  23. Avatar

    Luigi

    September 17, 2020 at 11:40 am

    who organizes charter flights? from where the only flight per week will depart (300 people per week) in two at least 140,000 bath per quarantine plus the cost of tampons. I don’t think we will go back to Thailand for now

  24. Avatar

    Gianluca

    September 17, 2020 at 6:48 pm

    Hi everyone, so from October anyone can start to try to ask 90 days visa for fly to Thailand or just the people that have residence,familiar etc? Do you think in the end of the year the restriction will be more easier? Because honestly I don’t have 90 days of holiday to travel 😅, I mean I could travel but just if I left my job, it’s not my case. And what about the 14 days quarantine hotels ? We can choose in which hotel stay or government will choose for us? There is already a list of the hotels ?And when we arrive and after do 14 days quarantine we will free to travel all around the country yes? Thanks 🙏

    • Avatar

      EdwardV

      September 18, 2020 at 11:18 am

      It’s expected Thailand will come out with a list of approved countries for the first 1,200 batch. If your country is on that list contact the Travel Authority of Thailand (TAT) for the documents you need to take to the local Thai embassy in your country.it doesn’t mean you will be approved but it’s how Thailand is saying the process starts. From what has been published it will apply to anyone who is “fit to fly” and financial able. Yes you can choose the hotel to quarantine but it has to come from the Thai government approved list. Just google “thai approve quarantine hotels” and the official list will pop up. Yes after the 14 days , and passing the Covid tests you are free to move about the country. Keeping in mind you will have already booked and paid for accommodations for the balance of the 90 days.

  25. Avatar

    Perceville Smithers

    September 18, 2020 at 10:52 am

    these guys want the vip guest to show a receipt for 90-day accomodations booking? unless i rent an apartment for 1 month, I book for a few days at a time then decide if i want to stay or move.

  26. Avatar

    EdwardV

    September 19, 2020 at 11:27 am

    There is that requirement again you to show proof of payment for lodging for the balance of the 90 days as a condition to apply for the visa. How does that work in the real world? Now they want you to quarantine prior to leaving and test twice in addition to an arrival test and another quarantine. Last they want to see your bank balance before approval. Can’t wait to see the details of those things.

  27. Avatar

    Andrew

    September 19, 2020 at 9:26 pm

    Those who invent all these ‘plans’ and ‘models’ should visit brain doctor as there is something definitely wrong in their heads.

  28. Avatar

    Gary

    September 20, 2020 at 5:26 pm

    When is the next “phase”, when retirees are allowed back home??

  29. Avatar

    John James

    September 22, 2020 at 8:01 am

    Thailand is a shit hole run by a banana republic that has been bought off by the Chinese. Stupid Thais seem to forget that western money built their country. Good luck with the Chinese. They will gut what remains of the Thai shit hole. I will be anxiously waiting for this.

    • The Thaiger & The Nation

      The Thaiger & The Nation

      September 22, 2020 at 9:17 am

      Your bitter comments do not reflect history correctly. Whilst Thailand’s history with democracy has been chequered, it’s been a long way from a ‘banana republic’, and as the country has never been colonised by the west, it is both inaccurate and misleading to claim that “western money built their country”. Your enthusiasm for the demise of Thailand is a sad start for the day.

  30. Avatar

    Svcoquette

    September 22, 2020 at 11:37 am

    We went to Phuket town immigration yesterday, got there at 08:00, soft opening at 08:30, about 30 people there. We came from Malaysia on our boat which is our only home. In the past when applying for VISA extensions our boat papers were accepted as our address, not this time. The said we needed a physical land address with proof of ownership or be registered at a hotel. We left and booked a hotel room for a night, they registered us with immigration as guests. We printed out the immigration registration certificate which immigration accepted as proof of address.
    We went back to immgration, they re-opened at 1pm. Mid afternoon they stopped taking new applications at 150 for the day. We got our passports back at 5pm.
    Instead of a 30 day extension, we, and everyone else, got a 14 day “conditional” extension from yesterday. This they said was to give them time to “investigate” whether our request for an extension was legitimate and needed. So we have to go back on 5 Oct to see if we are granted the full 30 day extension from 26 Sept that we paid for (1900 baht, no refunds). If not approved we will immediately be overstaying!

  31. Avatar

    Peter T.

    September 22, 2020 at 6:04 pm

    Contacted the Thai Embassy in the UK today regarding the STV. I got an automated reply referring me to their pre covid visa page.
    It would appear the STV does not exist. I was not offered an reservation/contact scheme either.

  32. Avatar

    C A Wall

    September 23, 2020 at 11:59 pm

    Sadly, Thailand was never colonised,if it had been, it would probably be less corrupt and enjoy a fairer legal system. Regarding the plan to attract high class tourists is a complete non starter. What rich person is willing to spend 2 weeks in a posh prison ? The paper work appears to be horrendous, that alone will put people off
    It is also impossible to contact the Thai embassy in London. A friend of mine spent 1 hour 40 mins trying to get through … he was a retiree desperate to get back to his house.
    John James’s comment about Thailand being a s**thole is a little over the top but if they don’t open up soon
    It will become one.
    The argument about Western tourists building up the Thai economy is however true. I would go further and say that prostitution played a significant role in the development of the Thai economy. I have regularly visited Thailand since the 70’s, Pattaya then was virtually just the beach road, 2nd and 3rd roads were more or less fields. European expats from the Middle East oil fields and US navel ships were the main tourists all after women, I had many friends there at the time, most spent fortunes on prostitutes, the money then went back
    to the girls families all over Thailand. Even more money was spent when they formed a relationship or married their girlfriends, as you can guess most of them were ripped off losing houses, cars etc.
    I’m afraid that many potential retirees are now actively looking around for pastures new where they ma actually be welcomed.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid task force calls for extension to Thailand’s emergency decree

Maya Taylor

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Covid task force calls for extension to Thailand’s emergency decree | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS World

Thailand’s Covid-19 task force is advising the government to extend the country’s state of emergency by a further month. The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration plans to discuss the matter next Tuesday and put it to Cabinet for consideration on Wednesday.

The state of emergency, which has been extended several times since its introduction in March, is due to expire at the end of this month. However, the CCSA says an extension is vital to ensure various government agencies can work speedily to combat any threat from Covid-19, particularly as neighbouring countries experience a spike in infections.

Thailand has already taken steps to seal the porous border with Myanmar after a surge in cases means that country is now recording over 500 new infections a day.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Tourism

Quarantine could be reduced to 7 days from November, if border re-opening succeeds

Maya Taylor

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Quarantine could be reduced to 7 days from November, if border re-opening succeeds | The Thaiger
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Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister says the mandatory quarantine period for those arriving from overseas could be reduced to 7 days if there is no spike in Covid-19 infections after the border re-opens to limited arrivals from October.

Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn says more details on the planned Special Tourist Visa will be made available following a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday. The STV is expected to grant entry to long-stay arrivals from October 1. Visitors can then extend their stay by 90 days twice, meaning a stay of nearly 9 months in total.

The government is currently being extremely cautious with its plans to re-open the borders to international arrivals. However, in a Bangkok Post report today, Phiphat says that if the first 2 groups of arrivals, 300 foreign tourists in total, fulfil the 14-day quarantine period without testing positive for the virus, it may be possible to increase the number of visitors granted entry to the Kingdom.

“Only 300 tourists per week will not be enough to fill up the whole supply chain and help operators. However, the figure has to comply with the capacity of the healthcare workforce from the Public Health Ministry to prepare swab tests.”

It’s understood the Tourism Ministry has been in talks with private hospitals about supplying additional manpower to facilitate the testing being carried out at airports. Another option is to test arrivals at quarantine facilities, in order to avoid holdups at airport arrival terminals. Currently, the Phuket Provincial Health Office has the ability to conduct 1,000 tests a day.

Should the gradual re-opening in October pass without a significant spike in Covid-19 cases, Phiphat says the government may consider halving the 14-day quarantine period from mid-November. Visitors will still be required to be tested prior to arrival, several times while in quarantine, and again before being released.

“In the event there are 5 positive cases from 300 tourists, the plan to welcome foreigners has to move forward anyway. But we will set up new alternative plans to cope with the situation.”

A reduction in the quarantine period may succeed in attracting more visitors, particularly given the high cost of staying at certain alternative state quarantine facilities, which tourists must foot the bill for themselves. An increase in foreign arrivals is seen as essential to the recovery of the tourism sector in areas currently struggling to survive since the border shutdown 6 months ago.

The Tourism Council of Thailand has visited places such as Phuket, Chiang Mai, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Udon Thani, and Rayong, to talk to local business owners. In presenting its findings to the Tourism and Sports Ministry, TCT president, Chairat Trirattanajarasporn, says the government must find a solution to help the tourism sector. It predicts that once the global Covid situation is brought under control, foreign arrivals to Thailand should reach the 60 million mark and contribute 25% of the country’s GDP by 2023.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Top 10

Top 10 things that have changed in Thailand during the Covid-era

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Top 10 things that have changed in Thailand during the Covid-era | The Thaiger

Things have changed. In some cases they’ve changed a lot and may never be the same again. Many people are suffering as a result of the impacts of lockdowns and the border closures. Entire industries, like aviation and entertainment, have been profoundly affected. Some people are being forced to re-invent their lives as a result. Fears over Covid-19 are causing people to change their habits and re-evaluate their lives. Here are some of the main things we believe have changed since January this year.

Face Masks

The now ever-present face mask will be with us for a long time. In Asia, it was never uncommon to see people wearing face masks for traffic, air pollution, fears of disease or just as a fashion statement.

In the Covid-era, mask wearing will now just become part of what we wear when in public spaces. When we leave home we’ll check if we have our keys, our wallet AND our face mask. Even when the government relaxes the current laws about the wearing of face masks, most people, we predict, will continue to wear them anyway, at least in the medium to long term.

Taking Your Temperature

It’s everywhere, it doesn’t appear to be very effective or reliable, but it’s not uncommon to have your temperature taken by someone pointing an infra-red thermometer at your head numerous times a day. The only people that appear to have benefitted from these temperature checks are the manufacturers of infra-red temperature check machines. But in the Covid-era they remain an ever-present reassurance that at least businesses are trying and want to be seen as contributing to the broader public health safety.

Flying in the Covid-era

While the domestic carriers are all flying again, they’re doing it tough. Planes are sometimes half-empty and there’s certainly less choice of times and destinations, compared to before the Covid travel restrictions set in.

But it hasn’t stopped the budget airlines from making the situation extremely competitive with the fares still very low. The aviation industry will certainly re-emerge with fewer airlines as some will be unable to weather the Covid storm. Even the Thai government’s announcement of soft-loans to airlines, with 2% interest, will do little to help and simply kicks the bankruptcy can down the road a few more months.

Confidence

Many business had to close during the lockdown. Some have re-opened. Others tried to re-open but have since closed again. Some are struggling along as best they can, tweaking their business models to cope. But people, through fear or simply being unable to afford it, are going out less and spending less. People are rediscovering the values of close communities, family or the joys of Netflix and at-home entertainment.

The impacts of recessions across the region will have long-lasting, profound effects on consumer confidence and behaviour. People’s renewed confidence will lag behind any eventual economic recoveries.

Eating Out

There’s been few clear winners in all this Covid mess. But delivery companies are one of them and the local motorcycle delivery services in particular. Grab Food and Food Panda are just two examples of the new way we eat and many restaurants are changing their table service model, and even their take away services, to suit the new normal of food-on-demand. Some restaurants have even closed their doors forever and turned into virtual restaurants, delivering food exclusively through the convenience of app ordering and delivery.

Even as the situation has eased to a large degree in Thailand where a lot of daily living is back to ‘normal’, people simply aren’t going out as much, have pivoted to the delivery services for some shopping and eating, and finding new ways of running their lives, closer to home and with less household outlay.

The Travel Industry

Apart from the obvious lack of international tourism, there’s no doubt we’re simply going to be travelling less in the short to medium term. Many people will be unable to afford the long holidays of the pastand may travel less, or not at all. For business we’ve found efficient ways to keep in contact without meeting face to face. Had anyone ever heard of “zoom’ video conferencing software before Covid?

For the communities that relied on tourism, the changes in their situation has been profound. Businesses are having to reinvent their model to cater for domestic tourism or simply find other ways to diversify their business plan, or just wait out the situation. That wait will eventually kill off a large chunk of local and foreign businesses.

The Economy

Thailand is in recession. So is everywhere else, and the situation, sadly, is likely to get worse as the Covid-era stretches out beyond 2020 and restrictions hold back investment. Some previously good businesses are now out of business. Businesses that were struggling before have been proven unsustainable and closed, probably never to re-open.

Globally, the government stimulus poured into local economies has caused artificial spikes in some stock markets. All this debt will need to be repaid at some stage. In other countries, where the government paid salaries for companies that were forced to close up or sack staff, are finding it hard to ween people off the grants and get them back to work.

In Thailand the economy has been hit hard, particularly in the export , tourism and hospitality industries. The downstream effects of all the staff losing their work, will have an effect on the local economy for many years.

Thailand, reliant on international tourism, has found itself exposed once the borders were closed. As the situation extends way past the ‘few months’ people were expecting, the full impact is starting to hit hard, particularly in places like Pattaya, Phuket and Chiang Mai. Their reliance on tourism has exposed their economies and left thousands wondering what else they can do to sustain themselves.

Whilst Thailand has recovered quickly from past political unrest, tsunamis and past pandemic threats, this time there will be a much longer path to recovery and will force many businesses to re-evaluate their businesses.

Work from home

Both Thailand’s commercial property market and businesses that have previously had centralised offices, have seen a big shift in behaviour. Driven by the need to work from home during the lockdown in April and May, many businesses magically discovered that they can actually function perfectly well with their employees working from home. The flow-on effects of all this is reducing traffic on the roads, lighter peak traffic loads, flexible hours and, of course, larger businesses wondering why they’ve been renting all this expensive commercial building space. Freelance work is a boom industry as company’s work forces move online instead of in-office.

The red light industries

The reality has certainly hit home for tens of thousands of Thailand’s sex workers. Although not officially recognised in Thailand, prostitution has been a huge local underground (and not-so-underground) industry in the past, creating its own micro-economy involving locals and international tourists.

Without official government acknowledgment, the jobs of Thai sex workers are not recognised and their salaries vanish once the bars and borders close. No rights, no unemployment pay. The number of prostitutes in Thailand is upwards of 100,000, and these workers have had to head home, many back to the northern and northeast provinces. Thailand’s red light districts were locked down for almost 3 months and bars and clubs, and the bar girls and boys, have been struggling ever since.

The pause button

There are few people that have not been profoundly affected by the impact of the coronavirus. Whilst some have been confronted directly with health issues, and even the deaths caused by Covid-19, of friends or relatives, others have had to put their lives and businesses on hold.

People have been unable to travel, business doors have been closed, many people have lost their job and thousands of events have had to be cancelled or postponed.

Even though many parts of the economy are being to grind back into action, there will be a lingering hang-over for just about everyone as they re-orient their lives to suit the new situation. In some cases, the pause button may have to be hit again, as the world continues to battle Covid-19, and find new ways to live with it.

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