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45 day tourist visa exemption proposal to be presented to Cabinet

Caitlin Ashworth

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After the prime minister told officials to hurry up and relax restrictions for foreigners entering Thailand, the recent proposal to extend the on-arrival visa exemption for tourists from 30 to 45 days is quickly moving forward and will be presented to the Cabinet.

The 15 days added on to the visa exemption is intended to make up for the 2 week quarantine required for those entering the country. Officials hope the scheme will lure in more foreign visitors. At the moment, foreign tourists can only enter Thailand under the pre-issued 60 day tourist visa or the new Special Tourist Visa, which is allows a 90 day stay that can be extended twice, adding up to around 9 months.

Thailand went from late-March to October without a single foreign tourist arrival. Since then, there have been a few flights with people entering on the Special Tourist Visa, but it hasn’t been enough to revive the tourism sector. To speed things up, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha recently ordered the officials to expedite the process of relaxing restrictions for foreigners entering the country, according to Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson, Tanee Sangrat.

The 45 day visa exemption would apply to 56 countries and territories that are currently under the 30 day visa exemption scheme. The exemption would also be granted to countries that have bilateral agreements with Thailand including Hong Kong, Laos, Macau, Mongolia, Russia, Vietnam, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Peru.

Myanmar and Cambodia will not be granted the 45 day visa exemption, even though they have bilateral agreements with Thailand.

The Interior Ministry recently discussed the proposal with the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s panel focused on easing restrictions. They agreed to move forward and present the proposal to the Cabinet. Once the Cabinet approves the proposal and it is published in the Royal Gazette, the 45 day visa exemption would be in effect until September 30, 2021.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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    44 Comments

    44 Comments

    1. Avatar

      Alte Ledertasche

      Friday, December 11, 2020 at 10:20 am

      Nonsense

    2. Avatar

      Michael

      Friday, December 11, 2020 at 10:46 am

      You can already extend the 1 month visa exemption with 1 month. So now these people can stay 2 1/2 months instead of 2. Will that really make a difference? I think real tourists will not come with a 2 week quarantine.

    3. Avatar

      Toby Andrews

      Friday, December 11, 2020 at 11:01 am

      I doubt this will make any difference. The expensive quarantine kills off any chance of tourism.
      Thailand has to take the risk, as other countries do, or kiss tourist revenue goodbye.

      • Avatar

        Preesy Chepuce

        Friday, December 11, 2020 at 9:23 pm

        I agree. I want to be able to travel from Thailand and return, but even with family ties, work permits, etc etc, the main obstacle is the cost of ASQ. If they allow people to ASQ at their homes, or at a wider variety of accommodation locations, and scrap this hotel cartel, it’ll be fine.

    4. Avatar

      EdwardV

      Friday, December 11, 2020 at 11:33 am

      If the theory is the extra 15 days is giving the tourist their vacation days back then Thailand doesn’t understand how vacations work. Vacation days are finite, a limited number each year. Many people can save them up or stack them in back to back years creating longer time off of work. However it’s still a limited number between you and your job. Thailand extending your visa doesn’t extend the number of days you can be on vacation. Tourists will not do a quarantine, it’s been proven everywhere. Maybe if it were just a day or two, but much more than that is a deal killer. That 10 or 14 days in quarantine is days they could be on the beach somewhere else. Truth be told, a 30 or 45 day visa is kinda short to begin with for a country wanting people to stay longer and spend more. Most first world countries give tourists 90 day visas.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Friday, December 11, 2020 at 11:59 am

        I don’t think “Most first world countries give tourists 90 day visas” on arrival, which is what this is.

        On advance application, as Thailand does, ‘yes’, but on arrival?

        • Avatar

          EdwardV

          Friday, December 11, 2020 at 12:18 pm

          I didn’t actually say on arrival. However if you wish to pretend I did that’s fine. Check it out and you will see many of them do just that. There is no need to pre apply for a special 90 day visa at the embassy of the country you wish to visit. That said you are missing the actual point. If Thailand truly wishes to have tourists stay longer so they can spend more, you start by giving a longer visa than 45 days. Especially since doing visa runs is not something that is going to be easy for the foreseeable future.

          • Avatar

            Issan John

            Friday, December 11, 2020 at 1:46 pm

            I didn’t actually say you did, Ed V, however if you wish to pretend I did that’s fine. 🙂

          • Avatar

            Issan John

            Friday, December 11, 2020 at 1:53 pm

            I did “check it out”, Ed V, and I still don’t think that “most first world countries give tourists 90 day visas” on arrival … or “many” that do.

            Maybe you could help me out?

        • Avatar

          Mel Burn

          Friday, December 11, 2020 at 10:15 pm

          In Europe you can stay 90 days within 6 month period with a US passport. Some counties give you 180 days. We had to leave Thailand in September and cannot come back – we travel and not willing to go through a quarantine every time.

          • Avatar

            Issan John

            Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 4:26 pm

            Not at the moment.

            As a tourist with a US passport you wouldn’t be allowed into the Schengen area with or without quarantine, and you’d have to quarantine for 14 days in the UK or Ireland.

        • Avatar

          Fernando

          Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 1:42 am

          My Brazilian passport ALWAYS gave me a 90 day visa on arrival in Thailand, and every country I visited in SE Asia. I am guessing Brazilians are just cool, hehehehe…

    5. Avatar

      Issan John

      Friday, December 11, 2020 at 12:05 pm

      i doubt anyone suggesting it actually expects it to make any difference, and it’s just going through the motions of being seen to be doing something, however pointless, rather than doing nothing and waiting for a miracle or for someone else to come up with a better idea when neither seem to be on the cards.

      Personally I wish they’d just follow vietnam’s lead and admit that there’s no solution and stop trying to pretend there might be, but i suppose that’s the Thai version of Trump being “optimistic”.

    6. Avatar

      ray

      Friday, December 11, 2020 at 3:34 pm

      I for one, would only come for a holiday when there is free ASQ (doesn’t need to be luxury) and no costs when being hospitalized for Covid-19. At the moment there are too many pitfalls. As shared here earlier, no insurance will cover hospital fees when they take you there as a precaution whilst being asymptomatic.

      • Avatar

        Patrick Kelly

        Friday, December 11, 2020 at 4:30 pm

        The logistics of traveling to Thailand are too onerous to contemplate at this time. Looking at a long list of hoops to jump through is mind numbing. The quarantine is just the tip of the iceberg.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Friday, December 11, 2020 at 4:34 pm

        Sorry, but the claim that “no insurance will cover hospital fees when they take you there as a precaution whilst being asymptomatic” is simply wrong – it depends entirely on the policy, AS SHARED HERE EARLIER.

        • Avatar

          ray

          Friday, December 11, 2020 at 9:02 pm

          I only read the initial article and not the update with a response from AXA. Thanks for pointing this out. Anyway, I agree with Patrick. Will look into the options again after some months.

          • Avatar

            Issan John

            Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 4:18 pm

            Thanks for being so courteous.

            TBF, I wouldn’t come here as a tourist at the moment either. 🙂

    7. Avatar

      Toby Andrews

      Friday, December 11, 2020 at 3:44 pm

      Check out: blog.wego.com and see how many countries are allowing tourists to arrive without quarantine.
      There IS a solution. Allow tourists in without the need for quarantine. There are too many for me to list. A rough count is 34.
      The Thai government is using this unreasonable fear to operate a dictatorship, with emergency
      powers to stay in power. The whole matter is a big government fraud.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Friday, December 11, 2020 at 4:43 pm

        How many of those have seen a major return of tourists, say to half their pre-Covid levels?

        Failing that, say to a third?

        … even a quarter?

        And how many of those restrict movement of not only the tourists but the local population as a result, such as the Seychelles?

        … and that’s even without the competition from those who are currently imposing restrictions / quarantine.

        What’s the point in opening the borders if the numbers are going to be so small that they don’t outweigh the potential costs to the rest of the economy, let alone the social costs of a Western-style lockdown?

        • Avatar

          Toby Andrews

          Friday, December 11, 2020 at 6:39 pm

          No these are unjustified excuses. The FACT is that these countries have tourists and tourist revenue while Thailand does not.
          And this what is the point of opening the borders if the numbers are so small . . .
          You really are making a feeble arguments now.
          What next the sound of all the extra aircraft flying in will scare the hens and they will not lay eggs!

          • Avatar

            Issan John

            Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 4:29 pm

            Not “unjustified excuses”, Toby A, but “FACT”.

            They just don’t suit your agenda.

        • Avatar

          Preesy Chepuce

          Friday, December 11, 2020 at 9:27 pm

          You’re not really making much of an argument against Toby’s point there John The current quarantine regime is a problem that urgently needs a more reasonable solution. I chatted to a Grab rider today who showed me they earnt only 150 baht today… think about that.

          • Avatar

            Issan John

            Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 4:39 pm

            Well, Preesy, the “argument” is that even if there are no other issues such as the effect on the rest of the economy and on people’s way of life if Covid isn’t controlled, the effect on the tourism industry of opening the borders will still be small.

            IIRC, the numbers returning to the Seychelles, which is often suggested here and where they’re confined to their islands and resorts, are a tenth of what they were last year.

            Are you suggesting that it would be worth risking the rest of Thailand’s economy, factories, exports, schools, etc, for a tenth of the tourists?

            Seriously?

    8. Avatar

      London Al

      Friday, December 11, 2020 at 3:52 pm

      Let’s assume, as crazy as it sounds, that the worlds’ finest scientists, medical experts, and regulators know a bit more about the vaccine than Issan John, and that it does work as advertised at 94% effectiveness.

      In the UK where I live well over 99% of the population do not have Covid, of those that do about one third are asymptomatic, testing is around 70% accurate.

      So in order for vaccinated UK tourists to slip through the net they would heve to be in the 6% for whom the vaccine doesn’t work, then catch the virus but be asymptomatic, then have a false negative test before they travel, another false negative when they arrive, and a 3rd false negative if they test twice at BKK.

      The odds of all this happening are just under 1 million to 1, therefore it will be perfectly safe to allow vaccinated and tested tourists into Thailand as soon as February without quarantine, there certainly won’t be a flood of people arriving but it’s a start.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Friday, December 11, 2020 at 4:53 pm

        Let’s assume they do, although I hope it’s rather more than an assumption.

        Maybe you could tell me any of them who have said that only “the 6% for whom the vaccine doesn’t work” can be contagious?

        Any at all …..

        • Avatar

          Preesy Chepuce

          Friday, December 11, 2020 at 9:29 pm

          You’ve latched onto this asymptotic contagion thing, but you never support it with evidence, all you ever do is ask questions. Consequently, despite the number of posts you get past the moderator, you still fail to recruit many takers for what you’re selling.

          • Avatar

            Issan John

            Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 4:52 pm

            Occam’s razor, Preecy.

            How can there be any “evidence” about the “asymptomatic contagion thing” one way or the other if it’s never been tested?

            If you think that the Pfizer vaccine prevents asymptomatic contagion, then how about a statement from the manufacturers that it does?

            Or the Moderna vaccine?

            Or from any scientist or doctor or virologist at all?

            From ANYONE, APART FROM THOSE JUST ASSUMING IT DOES WITH NO EVIDENCE TO BACK IT UP AT ALL?

            The question’s been asked elsewhere, including by many who are infinitely better qualified to ask it than me, and so far it’s NEVER been answered. If you’re interested in “what you’re selling”, don’t you think that if you were selling something you’d mention it if what your selling did what people wanted? … and avoid answering the question if it didn’t?

      • Avatar

        Ben

        Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 1:44 am

        Al, How can I take you seriously when you use unsupported fake numbers? The UK has had 1.8 million positive test results to date with over 63K deaths in a population of 67 million. Experts have estimated actual infection rates conservatively at 10 times the positive test results which means the UK has had 18 million plus total infections to date. So 25-30% of the population has been exposed? How do you get to “well over 99% of the population do not have COVID”? It’s winter and it’s all over the UK.

        Cmon mate!

    9. Avatar

      Johnny Dee

      Friday, December 11, 2020 at 5:46 pm

      Oh dear me… another proposal another proposal what’s the next step???? Just utter nonsense yet again. It’s beggars belief what’s going to be the next step or proposal it’s laughable really come on!!!! It’s time someone with balls in the cabinet stood up and said something worth while but unfortunately we all know that won’t happen.. The borders need to open and open they will as I said before if you had the vaccine you’re in END OF!!!! Open up before it’s too late!!

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Friday, December 11, 2020 at 8:01 pm

        Ummm ….. if Thailand had what vaccine?

        One that doesn’t exist / is still in trials / has yet to be approved?

      • Avatar

        Preesy Chepuce

        Friday, December 11, 2020 at 9:31 pm

        In the end, statistically speaking, if 4% of the population of any country die, it doesn’t really matter.

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 4:54 pm

          It probably does to the 4% …..

    10. Avatar

      Kemosabe

      Friday, December 11, 2020 at 8:53 pm

      Why the statement that tourists have to be insured up to $100.000. My insurence will add COVID on the letter of insurance, but not specify $100.000. I am insured according my the max. So why must we state $100.000. In my country no insurance company maked this declaration. Thet tell me :”you are insured to the max and that should do”. So no claim from Thai hospital from $99.999 will arrive to them. I already have health insurance, so why do i need another Thai health insurance for the same? And if ICU is not covered, what is the use sence of the extra Thai insurance?

      I live in Isan with my fiancee, am I a tourist? I visit her twice a year. Do these rules apply for me as well? When are you a tourist ? I spend up to THB 1000.000 every time during the periodes of 90 days while I am in Thaialand, thus supporting local entrepeneurs and not not big and wealthy hotel owners.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 5:05 pm

        Kemosabe, you don’t “need another Thai health insurance”. What you need is an insurance policy that will cover you for Covid up to $100,000. If your current policy doesn’t do that, it’s insufficient. It’s hardly complicated.

        The ICU? I’ve no idea why that’s not covered, and I was the one who pointed this out here.

        Your status in Thailand? You’re unmarried (at least to a Thai), you visit twice a year with no family or business here, so you’re a tourist.

        “Do these rules apply [to you] as well?” Well ….. yes.

        You spend a million baht every time you come here but live with your fiancee in Isan? I’m sure she’s very happy.

        • Avatar

          Kemosabe

          Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 8:06 pm

          Yes Issan John, she surely is as well as the local shopkeepers / entrepeneurs. Rebuild renovated her house, wateriirigation system for her ricefields, trippled her harvest this year and more things to come.
          in my opinion it is better to support the local people in Issan than the hotelowners in the big tourist areas. 😉

    11. Avatar

      Ben

      Friday, December 11, 2020 at 9:28 pm

      Thailand will not let anyone in without quarantine at this time. This will not change despite people clamoring for it here.

      The vaccine is a game changer and will allow general tourism several months from now.

      The 45 day tourist visa exemption, if passed and not recinded after the pandemic ends, will be good for tourism. Everyone here is looking at this thing incorrectly if they’re expecting it to be of immediate benefit. Think about the future benefit.

      • Avatar

        Changnoi

        Tuesday, December 15, 2020 at 5:10 am

        I completely agree with your first paragraph.

        I’m not so sure about the second. The way the virus has behaved is best explained through widespread prexisting immunity, or at least resistance, and it’s not clear how the vaccine replicates that. Merely that it stops people becoming ill from the virus. Also, 95% isn’t good enough. Would you risk 1 in 20 travelers having COVID? No, you wouldn’t. The game changer will be when infection rates in hot spot countries like the US drop to almost nothing and that will take years.

        I don’t think the 45 days will matter at all to most tourists. Most trips to Thailand were shorter than that. It would matter to people like me and you but a lot of people take two week holidays.

    12. Avatar

      Honest Al

      Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 4:34 am

      Maybe it’s time the Thai authorities looked to the likes of Dubai for inspiration. Test before you leave your home country, temperature and covid test upon arrival in Dubai, confined to hotel until results of test are known (within 24 hrs) if all clear it’s off to the beach without further restrictions. That’s why the hotels there are booked solid whilst Thai tourism remains in the doldrums.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 5:19 pm

        As Ben said, “Al, How can I take you seriously when you use unsupported fake numbers?”

        Hotels in Dubai are not “booked solid”.

        As J Dee said, “crap”.

        • Avatar

          Honest Al

          Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 7:53 pm

          John, go online and try to book a DECENT hotel in Dubai for Xmas, Jan & Feb – no chance. And if there is availability, theres not much

    13. Avatar

      Johnny Dee

      Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 8:22 am

      At last someone with common sense that’s all it takes not 5000 words full of crap… well said honest Al?

    14. Avatar

      Tom

      Sunday, December 13, 2020 at 7:16 am

      It’s not clear to me if there is visa exemption currently or not? A note from embassy in Switzerland is saying there’s a Visa exemption

      https://thaiembassy.ch/files_upload/editor_upload/VISA/1607616023_instructions-coe-tr—10dec.pdf

      Please advise. Thank you!

    15. Avatar

      Patrick Kelly

      Tuesday, December 15, 2020 at 5:17 am

      Lots of proposals but the economy slowly drips into oblivion. I hear a lot of questions but no answers is spot on. Truer words never spoken .

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    Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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