Not only is Thailand reopening to foreign tourists, it’s also making it easier than ever to stay long-term. Starting as soon as October, the Special Tourist Visa (STV) program will allow tourists to apply for a visa in advance which, if approved, will allow them to travel the country at will after a 14-day quarantine period. The visa, which allows for a 90-day stay, can be renewed twice so that visitors can stay for a total of 270 days, i.e. nine months.
But getting the STV is a bit of a headache. To apply for the visa you must, among other requirements, hire the services of a third party, pay in advance for a private or chartered direct flight to Bangkok as well as for all your accommodations (including the state-approved accommodation where visitors will quarantine), provide proof of health insurance covering up to $100,000, and supply documents that include a criminal background check. Even after this is all completed and you’re off exploring Thailand, your movements may be monitored by an app or wristband.
When the program first begins next month, it will allow entry to a maximum of 1,200 tourists each month. That number will increase if the program proves successful. Each step of the difficult process is laid out in a flowchart provided by the Bangkok Post.