Thailand has emerged as a global hub for medical tourism, offering top-tier medical facilities, expert healthcare professionals, and affordable treatment options making Thailand the go-to destination for those seeking medical and wellness treatments abroad.
However, it is important that you are familiar with the visa rules to ensure you have a trouble free stay in Thailand so you can fully focus on your medical treatment and enjoying all that Thailand has to offer. This article will guide you through the essentials of obtaining a medical visa.
What is Thailand's Medical Visa?
Thailand's medical visa, officially known as the Non-Immigrant Visa “O-A” (Long Stay), is specifically designed for foreign nationals who wish to stay in Thailand for medical treatment. This visa typically allows you to stay in Thailand for an initial period of up to 90 days. However, it can be extended for up to one year from the date of entry into Thailand, subject to approval by Thai Immigration authorities.
Medical Visa vs. Tourist Visa
Passports from most countries are visa exempt when visiting for tourism purposed and that will allow you to stay up to 90 days depending on which passport you hold, see the full list of visa exemptions. This visa is often also extendable at the nearest immigration office in Thailand during your stay allowing you to stay even longer.
You could also choose to apply for a tourist visa ahead of time at your local Thai consulate or embassy which is often permits a stay up to 60 days, with the possibility of extending it by another 30 days in Thailand.
For the majority of medical travel, this is already sufficient and you do not have to apply for a medical visa.
However, if you are a passport holder from a country that has a short stay in case of visa exemption or if you are ongoing longer medical treatment such as Limb Lengthening Surgery or Sex Reassignment Surgery than is possible within the length of a tourist visa. The medical visa allows you to stay in Thailand for anywhere between 90 days up to 1 year
How to Apply for the Medical Visa
To apply for a medical visa to Thailand, you need to follow these steps:
- Locate the Nearest Thai Embassy/Consulate: Begin by locating the nearest Thai embassy or consulate in your home country, via Thailand's embassy directory.
- Complete the Application Form: Fill out the visa application form available at the embassy or on its website.
- Gather Required Documents: Prepare the necessary documents, which typically include your passport, photos, completed application form, medical certificate from a Thai hospital, and financial statements showing that you are able to support yourself financially for the duration of your planned stay.
- Submit Your Application: Submit your application along with the required documents and visa fee at the Thai embassy or consulate.
- Wait for Processing: The processing time varies, so it’s important to apply well in advance of your planned travel date and to check the latest information from your local embassy or consulate for the current processing times.
Requirements for Applying
When applying for a Thai medical visa, you must supply the following:
- Passport: Valid for at least six months beyond the date of your entry into Thailand and must have at least two empty pages.
- Photographs: Recent passport-sized photographs no older than 6 months.
- Medical Certificate: A letter from a Thai hospital or medical facility confirming your appointment.
- Financial Evidence: Proof of sufficient finances to cover your stay in Thailand. This could be bank statements or a letter from your bank.
- Travel Itinerary: Details of your travel plans and accommodation in Thailand.
- Visa Fee: Payment of the visa application fee.
- Health Insurance: Proof of international health insurance covering the duration of your stay.
If you require a medical escort, they can apply for a Non-Immigrant Visa “O” to accompany you.
Note that these requirements may differ per country and are subject to change, please check the website of your local Thai embassy to confirm the required documents for your visa application.
After arriving in Thailand
The medical visa is a single-entry visa which is valid for up to 90 days but can be extended for up to 1 year at a local immigration office in Thailand.
If you plan to travel outside of Thailand while on a medical visa, make sure to also apply for a re-entry permit as otherwise your medical visa will be voided when you leave the country and you will need to re-apply for a new one. In addition to that, any foreigner residing in Thailand for more than 90 days will have to report their address every 90 days either by mail or in-person at the nearest immigration office. Please check the immigration website for the latest instructions and requirements on how to do this.
Note that the 90-day report is not a visa extension, though they can be done at the same time when you apply for your initial extension before the initial 90-day visa expires.
Navigating all of this yourself can be daunting, but it doesn't have to be! Our team of experienced health advisors assist in visa applications to coordinating medical appointment and travel plans, we take care of all the details so your medical travel is completely hassle-free.
Trust us to be your experienced medical guide for your medical travel so you can fully focus on your health and well-being, knowing that you have the expertise and support of Konkai every step of the way. For more information or assistance, please contact us.