New Medical Treatment Visa for Thailand — restrictive but may be popular with some medical tourists

Before the Thai government shut down the borders to the country due to Covid-19, Thailand was a popular destination for medical tourism.

Nowadays, however, people seeking medical treatment outside their own country are often heading to countries in Europe, or to other countries in Asia, due to fewer admittance regulations.

It now seems the Thai government has realized how much money the country, and its hospitals and medical clinics, are losing due to the almost complete collapse of medical tourism in Thailand in the last two years.

Their response?

To create a new one-year Medical Treatment Visa for Thailand.

A visa that, while it initially seems to still be quite restrictive, could be popular with a certain segment of the international medical tourism community.

What does the one-year Medical Treatment Visa for Thailand offer?

The information about the just announced one-year Medical Treatment Visa for Thailand is still sparse, as the visa is still in its preliminary stages.  Although it has been approved ‘in principle’ by the Thai cabinet.

So far, the following information has been released:

  1. The Medical Treatment Visa for Thailand is valid for one year.
  2. The visa is not renewable, meaning one year and one year only.
  3. The visa does not allow a continuous one-year stay in Thailand, however, only 90 days. After 90 days, the person on the visa would have to leave Thailand and re-enter. This could be a problem for someone receiving extensive medical treatment.
  4. If a hospital or medical center can provide paperwork saying continuous stay is necessary, a patient could stay in the country longer than 90 days.
  5. The Thailand Medical Treatment Visa could be used for the patient plus up to three ‘followers’ — likely meaning caregivers, or family members or friends supporting the patient.
Bangkok’s Bumrungrad Hospital is one of the top hospitals in Asia for medical tourism

Requirements for the Thailand Medical Treatment Visa

This being Thailand, a country where authorities seem to like to make things as complicated as possible, it is likely other requirements will be announced beyond the basic ones stated today.

The current requirements for any medical tourist wanting to apply for the visa include:

  1. The patient must have at least 800,000 baht (approximately $24,000) deposited in a bank account. Whether the bank account should be in Thailand or in their own country has yet to be announced.
  2. The patient must have Covid-19 insurance coverage in Thailand for at least 3 million baht in treatment coverage. (Approximately $90,000). That insurance policy will likely need to be purchased in Thailand, as few other countries currently offer such a policy.
  3. Patients must have a confirmed appointment with a hospital or clinic at least 30 days before arriving in Thailand. It is likely payment will need to be made upfront as well.

Thai authorities have not yet announced when the new Medical Treatment Visa for Thailand will be available.

Should you be interested in applying for the visa, be aware Thailand’s medical system is exceptional with hundreds of thousands of patients from all over the world traveling to the country for treatment in recent years.