In an ever-evolving world where health and wellness take center stage, Thailand has emerged as a beacon of hope and innovation in the global healthcare landscape. Nestled in the heart of Southeast Asia, this enhancing Thailand has rapidly transformed itself into a renowned medical hub, offering world-class healthcare services that cater to the diverse needs of patients from across the globe with foreign tourists expecting to reach 42 million by 2025.
To bolster this medical hub and attract more foreign visitors, the Thai Cabinet has been working on a new visa category since 2021, known as the Medical Treatment Visa. This visa allows foreign patients to stay in Thailand for up to one year while receiving medical treatment.
On September 8, 2023, a significant step was taken towards transforming Thailand into a medical service hub. The Subcommittee on Developing Thailand into a Medical Service Hub, authorized by the Ministry of Public Health, held a meeting to discuss the key aspects of the Medical Treatment Visa. The meeting has considered many key points of this visa. It is important to note that the policies discussed are still in the development phase and not yet enforceable.
The current details regarding the potential criteria for this visa are as follows:
- Foreign patients of any nationality are eligible to apply for a non-renewable one-year visa with multiple re-entry permits for medical treatment.
- Immediate family members can accompany foreign patients, with a maximum of three persons, by applying for a Non-immigration Visa Type “Non-O”.
- Foreign patients must report to immigration officers every 90 days, and each stay shall not exceed 90 days unless the doctor’s plan provides for a longer period of medical treatment or the applicants’ health condition prevents them from traveling back to their home country.
- Foreign patients must contact an authorized hospital at least 30 days in advance, submit a confirmation letter and provide proof of immediate family relationship.
- Both foreign patients and immediate families must demonstrate financial capacity with a minimum bank statement of THB 800,000 per person.
- They must also have insurance coverage, including accidents, emergency medical assistance, and COVID-19 coverage in Thailand, with a minimum amount of USD 100,000 or approximately THB 3,000,000 covering the duration of stays, as specified by the Emergency Decree on Public Administration in Emergency Situations B.E. 2548 (2005).
- The re-entry permit fee of THB 5,000 is anticipated, with an additional THB 1,900 fee for each 90-day stay extension.
- Qualifying medical treatments for this visa must exceed 90 days and be accompanied by a doctor’s treatment plan. This includes various treatments such as regenerative medicine, alternative medicine, cardiovascular treatment, musculoskeletal treatment, dental treatment, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), cancer treatment, cosmetic surgery and medicine, plastic, and reconstructive surgery, reassignment, sex change, eye treatment, organ transplant, precision medicine, non-communicable diseases (NCD), and more, subject to case-by*case approval.
Currently, foreign patients seeking medical treatment in Thailand can apply for temporary stay visas:
- A single-entry Tourist (MT) Visa for a 60-day stay; or,
- A single-entry Non-immigration Type “O” Visa for a 90-day stay; or,
- Nationals of countries entitled to visa exemption or visa on arrival can stay for 90 days for medical treatment in Thailand.
The introduction of the Medical Treatment Visa is expected to attract more foreign visitors seeking extended medical services in Thailand. Thailand stands to benefit economically from their presence, as they contribute to both the healthcare industry and tourism during their stay.
If you require assistance with obtaining different types of visas, securing work permits, or managing immigration and employment matters with relevant authorities or private sectors, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at Kudun and Partners.
Employment and Benefits Practice
Managing human resource-related matters in an organisation requires empathy but at the same time, proper policies are required to be in place to protect employers from undesirable fallout with employees. Qualified advice on employment laws and trends, labour and human rights, handling demands of labour unions and retaining talents, especially during spinoffs or reorganization are necessary to maintain business success. Contentious employment law disputes are often a worst-case scenario for all parties involved. In an ideal world, things would never have reached this stage, but when legal proceedings become necessary to protect yourself and your interests, it’s important to have an experienced lawyer by your side to ensure you get the result you deserve.