In Thailand Due to Covid?
Better Get Your Visa in Order
Many digital nomads and people who are able to manage their business online decided to hold up in a different country to their own during the coronavirus outbreak. A large portion of these went to countries with a cheaper cost of living, and a nicer climate than their own country. For many, Thailand was pretty high up on the list of desirable locations to wait out the “pandemic” in.
Since Thailand was always popular with tourists and many expats and nomads already called it home, it comes as no surprise that a lot of foreigners stuck around in the country. What seemed like a good option in the early months of 2020 turned out to be a lucky selection in terms of the virus and the impact it had on the area as well.
A Good Place to Lockdown
Lockdowns were kept to a minimum and the number of deceased due to the virus has only been about as high as a single day’s worth of traffic deaths in Thailand to date. The Thai Government have also made it quite easy for people to extend their visas continuously since early 2020, relaxing limitations on stays and paperwork requirements to ease the stress and anxiety that the border closures and initial panic and paranoia brought about.
Now that we’re more than a year into this debacle, it’s becoming clearer and clearer that the virus isn’t going to disappear with lockdowns and also that the kill rate of it is far lower than initially thought. This however doesn’t make it easier for anyone to travel or for people to get back to their home countries, if they even wish to do so since the airlines and Governments are still continuing on with their over-the-top safety rhetoric.
While millions here and in other parts of the world are suffering due to economic hardships brought about by the lockdowns, hundreds of thousands of foreigners are still living The Land of Smiles. Many have been helping local communities during these difficult times, but there are always lingering concerns about visa status and what might happen once the visa amnesties end or current visas expire.
ED Visas in Thailand
Pre-covid a lot of people would purchase Educational Visas for Thailand, where often class was not compulsory. It was more a scheme to help out the tourists/digital nomads/foreigners who wanted to stay in the country longer, while also benefitting those who could arrange the ED Visas financially. In the mid 2010s the Thai Government cracked down on this scheme however and many “fake” schools were shut down. A smaller number of legitimate schools continued to operate but more stringent testing was brought in to ensure the students were actually attending classes.
At the moment, for many “stranded” tourists these ED visas seem like a good option for staying in Thailand. They can be arranged from within the country and cost less than US$2000 for the full 12-month visa, including a variety of classes ranging from hand-to-hand combat training, to Thai language lessons, to Muay Thai.
Thailand Elite Visas
For foreigners still wishing to remain in Thailand who are still on a good income or have a large savings account, for the princely sum of 600,000 Thai Baht (US$20,000) a 5-year Elite Visa can be purchased. These visas do not technically allow people to work from within the country however this doesn’t seem to be an issue for many of the existing holders of this type of visa. With the Government charging what some might feel is an inordinate amount of money for the simple benefit of staying in the country, it seems like a win-win if people are willing to purchase these at such a price. Given this, it’s unlikely there will be any changes to this system anytime soon.
Special thanks go to Jay at MyGuide2Life.com for the editing and translation of some of the documentation required to help us put this article together.
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