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Long-stay ’O-A visa’ holders will need virus cover

Long-stay ’O-A visa’ holders will need virus cover

THAILAND: All foreigners living in Thailand as non-immigrants will in the future have to prove they have insurance coverage of at least US$100,000 (B3 million) against COVID-19.

By Bangkok Post

Wednesday 16 June 2021, 12:15PM

The new proposal will apply to all holders of the one-year, non-immigrant visa. Photo: AFP

The new proposal will apply to all holders of the one-year, non-immigrant visa. Photo: AFP

CORRECTION: The original story reported that the COVID insurance requirement will apply to all foreigners staying in Thailand long term under a non-immigrant visa.

That is not correct.

The new COVID insurance requirement approved in principle by the Cabinet on Tuesday (June 15) is to apply to foreigners staying on Non-Immigrant O-A visas only.

The error is sincerely regretted.

UPDATE: Since this story was posted, more detalis of the Cabinet recommendations to Immigration regarding mandatory COVID health insurance for foriegners have become available. See story here.

The proposal was approved in principle by the cabinet yesterday (June 15) and Traisuree Taisaranakul, deputy spokeswoman for the government, said it would apply to all holders of the one-year, non-immigrant visa (NIV).

NIVs are awarded in four categories: marriage, work, business and retirement.

The new rule follows an amendment to the regulations approved by the cabinet in April last year.

At present, holders of the NIV must be insured to the tune of just B40,000 for out-patient treatment, or B400,000 for in-patient treatment at a hospital.

Future NIV applicants must produce proof they have taken out the far higher insurance against COVID-19 and if they are eligible to state-sponsored welfare or insurance, the same minimum coverage applies.

Those seeking to renew their NIV are free to buy the insurance from abroad.

If they have access to state-sponsored insurance, they must submit documentary proof certified by the Bangkok-based embassies of their respective nations or by authorised official of the Foreign Ministry of their native countries.

If someone is denied the requisite COVID-19 insurance because they are deemed to be in an at-risk group, they must present the rejection document as well as proof of financial security, bank account or other health insurance valued at a minimum US$100,000.

Ms Traisuree said that since the cabinet had approved the new rule in principle the next step would be for the Immigration Bureau to publish full details and make it official.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry will also work to improve the NIV application procedure while the Public Health Ministry and the Interior Ministry will be in charge of modifying related regulations and telling the public about them.

Ms Traisuree said the current NIV regulation was flawed as foreign nationals aged over 70 could not buy insurance in Thailand, causing them to be disqualified from remaining long-term in the kingdom.

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Kamala Pete | 20 June 2021 - 11:36:01

Firstly, would we still need to take out the insurance or bank the money if we are fully vaccinated?? Secondly, Fascinated needs to wake up and take a sniff of reality. The vast majority of retirees are on O or OA visas.

Fascinated | 17 June 2021 - 19:25:31

O-A affects a very small proportion of retireees.  Just like the insurance non-event last year that caused pages of unwarranted angst on Thaivisa..

Xi_Virus | 17 June 2021 - 16:22:36

Apartheid system or not?

Kamala Pete | 17 June 2021 - 15:38:50

I have just been checking the thai embassy sites and the US$100K requirement is being listed for "O" as well as "O-A" visas. Who can we believe?

maverick | 17 June 2021 - 13:50:02

Once again we don’t get all the facts - why would Insurance companies jack up the premiums for folks who have been vaccinated they assess risk, and minimal risk after VAX 

CaptainJack69 | 17 June 2021 - 13:26:45

To avoid further confusion PN, perhaps you should clarify exactly what is meant by an "O-A visa".

Kamala Pete | 17 June 2021 - 12:25:56

Will this "Covid insurance" still be demanded after the pandemic? Is the 3.1 million baht required over and above the current 800k?  How many retirees can currently afford to have about 4 million baht sitting in a thai account not earning?  Its going to be a long queue at the airport !!   Maybe this is what they want. 

Kurt | 17 June 2021 - 08:53:40

Applying for A-O visa only or not, this new ruling will be another blow for the already suffering Thai property market. Specially on Phuket. And what purpose is this operation serving? What are the Government thoughts behind it to scare of foreign retirees to retire in Thailand with ridiculous high Covid-19 insurance demand or 3 million in the Thai bank?

Timothy | 17 June 2021 - 08:23:56

They love the so called "zero baht Chineses tourists" but don't seem to care very much for the retired expat who spends money here every day for years and years. The worst thing is that we have no access to vaccine, and now want us to pay for covid insurance! Geez what a racket. 

Foot | 16 June 2021 - 15:38:16

Just another example of how Thailand is trying to get rid of all ex-pats and their ideas.

JSombra | 16 June 2021 - 14:25:04

Bangkok Post (who you copied from) have already pulled this article from their site, don't you think you should too? The proposal is about  Non-Immigrant “O-A” visas, not all long stays. Don't be like Thaiger.

[Thank you - we are now looking into that -- Ed... Addendum: Thank you. PRD report confirms this applies to O-A visa holders only. Article will be amended -- Ed]

CaptainJack69 | 16 June 2021 - 13:24:32

And those foreigners paying social security in Thailand? The minimum on a 12 month renewal is 5000B a month. A Thai on minimum wage pays just 800B. Does that meet the "minimum coverage" requirement?


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