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Medical Visa for 1 Year

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  • Medical Visa for 1 Year

    Cabinet okays new visa scheme allowing a 1 year stay for medical tourists

    A new visa scheme approved, in principle, by the Thai Cabinet today will allow foreigners who are travelling to Thailand for medical treatment to stay in the Kingdom for up to a year. At the moment, many medical tourists stay in the country on 60-day tourist visas, which can be extended for another 30 days, and (before the pandemic) many in Thailand for longterm medical treatment had to do border runs every three months to get a new visa.
    Under the new visa scheme, medical tourists will need to provide a bank statement showing they have at least 800,000 THB in their account to cover their treatment costs in Thailand. They must also show confirmation of an appointment with healthcare professionals in Thailand issued at least 30 days before travelling overseas.

    According to Thai PBS, a spokesperson for the government said the visa scheme is in line with the plan to promote the country as an international medical hub.

  • #2
    Thailand to issue one-year visas for Medical Tourists

    Thailand is trying to attract more rich tourists by promoting itself as a destination for medical treatment, with hospital operators such as Bangkok Dusit Medical Services and Bumrungrad Hospital among the companies expected to profit the most from the new visa.

    The latest attempt to lure so-called high-quality visitors comes with just as many unfathomable restrictions as previous attempts to woo the super-rich. In this case, while billed as one-year visas, the maximum allowed stay is only 90 days, a pretty short time in terms of sufferers of the kind of expensive-to-treat diseases Thailand hopes to attract. Meanwhile, the visa is only available for those who require more than 90 days of continuous treatment, a state of affairs that demands clarification.

    In an invitation, three additional “immediate family members” can be included in the visa, apparently without further financial conditions. How this will function in practice remains to be seen, but the potential for abuse is obvious. Applicants will need to produce evidence of a hospital appointment, health insurance, and proof of financing of at least 800,000 THB (US$22,000).

    Hospitals will need to outline a concrete treatment plan and expenses for each applicant. Applicants can seek an extension beyond one year if they can provide further medical certificates. Dubious “medical” procedures such as cosmetic surgery and anti-ageing treatment are expected to be behind a significant portion of applications.

    To help ensure that only those who can afford expensive treatment will enter the country, the visa will cost US$140 (5,000 THB).

    The country has seen asmall recovery in international arrivals since the government scrapped most restrictions on travel and businesses as Covid-19 becomes less and less newsworthy. The “elite” service was intended to attract extremely rich people who are uncomfortable in their own countries and has been snapped up by ordinary middle-class Chinese people.

    About 20,000 of the pay-to-stay visas have been approved so far, with over 7,000 awarded to Chinese nationals, mostly under the age of 40.