For the first time since April, Thailand has opened its borders to travellers once more, and for many travel-starved Singaporeans, this piece of news couldn't be any better.
But before any one of your travel buddies starts throwing their belongings into their dust-covered luggage, there's a set of criteria to fulfil before anyone's allowed a foot into Thailand.
As of October 7, a Special Tourist Visa (STV) is required for anyone who wants to enter the country.
According to the Royal Thai Embassy in Singapore, in order to be eligible for the STV, Singaporean residents (both citizens and permanent residents) have to meet several stringent conditions.
First of all, they must stay in Thailand for a minimum of 90 days (yes, 90!) and must not have a criminal record in either country or been barred entry as provided by the Immigration Act. They must also not carry a prohibited disease (such as tuberculosis).
The statement adds that "employment of any kind is strictly prohibited", which means one would not be able to work in Thailand while on the visa.
If eligible, applications for the STV, as well as a certificate of entry, must be submitted to the embassy's Online Visa Application at least 10 working days prior to take-off.
Even if you are able to take a long holiday of at least three months and fulfil the above conditions, there are other requirements.
For one, passports should have a validity of 12 months from the date of travel.
And applicants will also have to book a flight with Singapore Airlines, specifically.
Apart from that, they'd also have to provide one of the following in order to ensure they have a place of residence during their stay:
- A bank statement showing a monthly deposit of 500,000 baht (S$21,700) for the past six months
- A certificate of ownership of a property in Thailand, or
- A contract of a property in Thailand that they'd bought or rented, with proof of 25 per cent of the property's value already paid
There's more. Other requirements include:
- A copy of a 14-night booking at a government-approved hotel or hospital in Thailand for quarantine, payment made in full
- Medical and travel insurance worth at least $100,000 US (S$135, 600)
- Additional Thai medical insurance covering hospitalisation and emergency for the entire period of stay, with coverage of minimum 400,000 baht for inpatient treament and 40,000 baht for outpatient treatment
More in-depth details can be found on the embassy's website.
Once that's all prepared, all that's left is to wait for approval (and to pack your bags).
It's worth noting, however, that while the STV is technically valid till Sept 30 2021, successful applicants will still have their eligibility revised every 15 days by Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health.
Considering how long-awaited this trip might be, those looking to extend their stay in the country can renew their STV in 90-day blocks for a nominal fee of 2,000 baht. Extensions can only be made twice.
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