Thailand is one of the world’s most popular medical hubs because it is accessible, affordable and reliable. Tourists traveling to Thailand for its healthcare services have access to various five-star hotel type hospitals that hold Western accreditations, as well as highly-qualified medical professionals, and state-of-the-art medical technology. This article will discuss the most common questions on obtaining a visa for medical purposes.
Foreign nationals seeking medical treatment in Thailand are regarded as visiting tourists. Therefore, they must obtain a tourist visa prior to their arrival in Thailand. Tourist visa applications can be submitted to any Thai Embassy or Consulate in the foreign national’s home country. The documents required for this process are as follows (please note that the Embassy or Consulate reserves the right to request additional documentation):
Evidence of travel from Thailand – a fully-paid outbound air ticket.
Tourist visa application fees will cost 1,000 THB each ( fee subject to change without prior notice). All tourist visas are valid for 3 (three) months.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, citizens from the following 28 countries are eligible for visa-on-arrival: Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Maldives, Mauritius, Oman, Poland, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Taiwan, Bulgaria, Andorra, Malta, Romania and San Marino.
Tourist visa-on-arrivals are usually valid for 15 (fifteen) days. In order for the visa to be granted, applicants must submit the following documents:
Yes, but you may have trouble extending your stay. Unless you are a Gulf Cooperation Council National, you will not be permitted to enter the country for medical reasons. Individuals from the 52 countries that are allowed to enter Thailand without a visa under the Visa Exemption Rule must leave the country by their expected leave date.
Yes, as long as the accompanying persons possess an approved tourist visa.
Foreign Nationals wishing to extend their stay can choose between two options:
Those who wish to extend their stay must present medical documentation from their healthcare practitioner verifying that they are undergoing medical treatment. The document must specify what the Foreign National is being treated for, a tentative schedule specifying the time required for treatment, and an explanation to why traveling will be detrimental to a their health. Approved extended-stay applications will be valid for a time not exceeding 30 days.
Those who opt to change their visa type to a Thai non-immigrant (O) visa for medical reasons must submit proof that they are undergoing medical procedures at a licensed medical facility, as well as a doctor’s letter specifying the Foreign National’s condition and the time required for treatment. Non-immigrant visas are usually valid for a time not exceeding 90 (ninety) days. The application fee for a single-entry visa is 2,000 THB per application, and 5,000 THB per application for a multiple-entry visa.
All applications are to be submitted to the Office of Immigration Bureau. Applications approvals are entirely at the discretion of the Immigration Officer.
You can extend your stay as long as you have adequate documentation. However, all decisions are made solely at the discretion of the Immigration Officer. It may be a better idea to consider applying for a non-immigrant visa (see Thai one-year multiple-entry visa) if you are planning to undergo a longer-term treatment.
Yes. The Foreign patient’s family members and 1 (one) additional person are allowed to apply to extend their stay in Thailand. Accompanying individuals may apply to extend their stay in Thailand as long as they possess the following documents:
No. Starting from January 2013, patients from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates are allowed to obtain medical treatment in Thailand for 90 (ninety) without needing a visa. However, the following documents will need to be submitted to immigration officers upon entry to the country:
GCC Nationals are allowed to bring up to 3 (three) accompanying individuals who are also GCC Nationals. Said accompanying individuals are also allowed to be in Thailand for a period of 90 (ninety) days without a visa. But, they must still present the following documents to the immigration officers upon entry to Thailand:
If any accompanying persons are not GCC Nationals, they must obtain a Thai 90-day non-immigrant visa prior to arrival in Thailand.
Yes. You are allowed to stay in Thailand, strictly as tourists, until you are expected to depart.
Yes. It is actually recommended that you consult a visa specialist when applying for a Thai visa to avoid any complications.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Thai Visa News.
Pinnyada Tanitnon is working as a consultant at a law firm in Thailand assisting various legal departments, ranging from litigation to immigration. She earned her B.A. in linguistics from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia in 2013, and plans to go to law school to get her J.D. in the near future. Prior to joining Siam Legal, Joy worked as a litigation paralegal in Los Angeles, California.
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