It is good news for international travellers as the government announced the relaxation of quarantine restrictions. As of November 1, fully vaccinated travellers arriving by air from 63 approved countries and territories will no longer have to enter into a mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine upon arrival. They will also no longer need to obtain a Certificate of Entry (COE), with its registration website now closed to new registrations. They will now only be required to apply for a Thailand Pass.
When travelling from the approved 63 countries or territories, the travellers must have stayed there for at least 21 consecutive days or more before travelling by air to Thailand. Before travel, you will need to prepare these required documents:
- Valid Passport
- Thai Visa, if applicable
- Certificate of Vaccination proving you have been fully vaccinated, at least 14 days before travel. The list of approved vaccines include:
– CoronaVac (Sinovac)
– Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)
– COVILO (Sinopharm)
– Sputnik V
- If you have had a Covid infection within the last 3 months, you must have received at least 1 dose of an approved vaccine, at least 14 days before travel.
- Children under the age of 12 years are exempt from the vaccine requirement.
- Medical certificate with a negative RT-PCR lab result, with the test having been taken no more than 72 hours before travel.
- Paid hotel reservation confirmation for the one-night stay at a government-approved accommodation as you await the result of the RT-PCR test to be done on arrival. (Should cover hotel stay and fee for RT-PCRT test)
- Proof of insurance cover with Covid-19 coverage of no less than $50,000.
For these eligible tourists to travel to Thailand, they will be required to provide negative results from RT-PCR tests, before flying and upon arrival. They will also be required to spend one night at a government-approved hotel as they await the results of their Covid test. This one-night stay is however not being termed as quarantine. Once the tourist receives a negative result, they will be free to travel around the kingdom.
In place of the COE that was earlier required, travellers will now need to apply for a Thailand Pass. Here is what you will need to do:
- Register for a Thai Pass on https://tp.consular.go.th/
- Upload the required documents, including visa or re-entry permit if applicable.
- Allow for 3-5 days for the approval of vaccine certificate, paid accommodation and the RT-PCR test.
- Receive confirmation of approval and a Thailand Pass QR Code.
Upon arrival in Thailand, you will need to present your Thailand Pass QR Code at border control for them to make verification. Once confirmed, you will be allowed to proceed through other immigration checks. Following pre-arranged airport transfer (within 2 hours of the airport) you will be required to:
- Undergo the RT-PCR test at your chosen government-approved accommodation or a designated testing centre. Children under the age of 6 years will undergo a saliva test.
- You will then remain in your hotel room until your test results are ready.
- If your test results are negative, you will now be free to travel anywhere within the kingdom or depart with advisement to adhere to DMHTTA precautions (D-distancing, M-mask wearing, H-handwashing, T-temperature check, T-testing for Covid, A-alert application).
Currently, travellers from just 63 countries and territories qualify for this treatment. The exemption applies irrespective of nationality or residency. Just as long as the traveller has been in the approved country or territory for at least 21 consecutive days before travelling by air to Thailand. The Prime Minister, Prayuth Chan-o-cha, has however confirmed that more countries would be added to the list on December 1, with further expansion to be expected on January 1. The current list of approved countries and territories includes:
United Arab Emirates
For travellers not exempt from quarantine
For travellers from countries or territories not on the eligible list, there are two options, the Sandbox Programme or Alternative Quarantine. The Sandbox Programme will require travellers to be fully vaccinated for at least 14 days prior to travel and obtain a negative RT-PCR test result at least 72 hours before travel. On arrival, they will be required to stay in a blue zone sandbox area for at least 7 days in government-approved accommodation and undergo another RT-PCR test before approval to travel within the kingdom. Proof of insurance with a minimum cover of $50,000 will also be required.
If your RT-PCR test results are negative, you will be given a Covid antigen self-testing kit which you will be required to use on days 6-7 and be asked to download the MorChana mobile application. After proceeding with your stay, you will receive an alert on the MorChana app to carry out the self-test by days 6-7 and record the results.
The approved blue zone sandbox destinations include:
- Buri Ram
- Chiang Mai
- Chon Buri
- Nong Khai
- Prachuap Khiri Khan
- Samut Prakan
- Surat Thani
- Udon Thani
Those applying to the Sandbox Programme must only arrive at these international airports:
- Buriram (chartered flights only)
- Chiang Mai
- Done Mueang
Travellers from countries and territories not exempt from quarantine that opt for the Alternative Quarantine scheme will be required to undertake a 10-day quarantine stay at a government-approved accommodation. The travellers will not be required to be fully vaccinated but will undergo two RT-PCR tests and must have proof of insurance with a minimum cover of $50,000.
Travellers with an approved COE
For those who have already received an approved COE, this can still be used to travel to Thailand. Depending on which requirements you meet, you will need to pass through one of the above three schemes. Your COE should indicate which schemes you are eligible for. If your COE has not yet been approved, consider it rejected and simply register for a Thailand Pass.
Those wanting to travel into Thailand via land or sea are not eligible for these schemes. You will need to get in touch with the local Thai embassy or consulate for a COE.
Many travellers might be concerned that despite the opening up of borders, other restrictions may limit how they can travel locally and what fun they can have on arrival. Thankfully, there have also been some loosening of local restrictions.
In areas where there is a low risk of transmission, the government has lifted certain restrictions including curfews. This will make it easier for travellers to get around without the pressure of needing to take refuge by certain late-night deadlines.
While consumption of alcoholic drinks is still banned in public places, the government has said it will lift the orders in December as the New Year holiday season kicks in. This will be a relief to bars, nightclubs and restaurants that are also currently barred from serving alcohol.
Keep in mind that Covid restrictions may vary from province to province. Local governments have set their own standards and may even require travellers coming from higher risk zones to undertake Covid testing. Be sure to query the restrictions within the provinces you are planning to visit and know that changes can be quickly made. Have a flexible itinerary.
Thailand’s Tourism and Covid Response
The multiple attractions of the Kingdom of Thailand have made it one of the top tourist destinations in Asia. Prior to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the country was averaging almost 40 million international tourist arrivals per year. This figure dropped drastically in 2020 to just 6.7 million visitors.
In response to rising infections by March 2020, the government declared a state of emergency and instituted a curfew and other lockdown measures across the kingdom. In some provinces, local authorities instituted their own additional measures including inter-provincial travel bans.
The country reopened its borders to tourists in October 2020, allowing travellers to come in under the Special Tourist Visa Programme. Following several outbreaks in different parts of the nation, the government announced various lockdown measures to limit the spread including school and business closures. The response has mirrored happenings in other parts of the world as lockdown and other measures are tightened or loosened depending on infection rates.
The recent decision to ease travel restrictions by exempting some foreigners from quarantine measures is seen as a major step towards reviving the fortunes of the country’s beleaguered tourism sector. This industry accounts for about a fifth of the country’s GDP with many businesses and their employees having been badly affected by the pandemic. Tens of thousands of workers were forced to relocate back to their hometowns due to business closures. The Thailand Pass is being seen as a means to boosting tourist numbers by making it easier and less costly for travellers to get past border control and enjoy various attractions.
If you are looking for help or advice about the Thailand Pass then get in touch with one of the team at Thai Visa Expert. Customers can book the room certified by SHA+ directly with the hotel and to buy insurance can click on the following link.