Thailand to launch new medical treatment visa on Jan 1

Passengers at Suvarnabhumi airport. File photo

Thailand will introduce a new medical treatment visa on Jan 1 in a bid to help establish itself as a global leader for healthcare tourism.

Deputy government spokeswoman Tipanan Sirichana said the new multiple entry medical visas will be valid for a period of one year and will allow the holder to stay in Thailand for 90 days.

Up to three family members can also be included on the visa, Ms Tipanan added.

Applicants will need to prove they have funds of at least 800,000 baht to cover expenses in Thailand and they must also have accident and COVID-19 insurance which provide a minimum coverage of 3 million baht or US$100,000.

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Ms Tipanan said the medical visa will be restricted to people who require continuous treatment for a medical condition for more than 90 days. Partner hospitals will also be required to outline a concrete treatment plan and detail the expenses for the patient.

The visas will be aimed at people looking for treatment in Thailand for such conditions as cancer, cardiovascular disease, organ transplants, and dental care, while those seeking anti-aging and cosmetic surgery would also qualify, she said.

Currently, foreigners visiting Thailand for the purpose of medical treatment apply for a tourist or non-immigrant visa, which allows only a single entry into the country.

However, there is an exemption in place for visitors from eleven countries, including those in the Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates), as well as Cambodia, China, Loas, Myanmar and Vietnam.

The fee for the new medical treatment visas will be 5,000 baht, Ms Tipanan confirmed.