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Travelling to Thailand right now (April edition)

Tim Newton

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Finding information about traveling to Thailand at this time can be a bit confusing. Suddenly there’s a lot more paperwork and the Thai government keep updating the situation. But the good news is that the Thai government have at least put out a 4-part plan to totally re-open the country by the end of 2021/start of 2022. You also need to work through the vagaries of individual embassies and staff who may sometimes have different interpretations of the latest guidelines. But everyone is trying their best to help you get back to Thailand… so your patience will be rewarded.

For now, you need to consider a few more things than in the past, including the situation in your own country and getting back home after your visit to the Land of Smiles. Currently there are many countries that require quarantine to get back in.

The Thai Government has now endorsed issuing a Covid-19 vaccination certificate in the kingdom (for people having the required doses of approved vaccines), while approving shorter quarantine periods for international arrivals. Both measures take effect from April 1 until further notice.

There is also a current variant of Covid-19 which is causing havoc in some countries and could potentially de-rail the best laid plans.

More re-entry information HERE.

Will I need a visa?

Here’s a list of countries that, as of April 1, do not require a visa for a stay of up to 45 days in Thailand. They are part of the Visa exemption scheme.

Andora, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein. Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Sweden, UAE, UK, USA, Vietnam.

Travellers from other countries – Laos, Macau, Mongolia and Russia – can also stay for 45 days under long-standing relationships whilst travellers from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Korea and Peru can stay for up to 90 days.

If you’re not on the list you can apply for a Special Tourist Visa. This allows travellers to enter for a maximum of 90 days, and can be extended for another 90 days, twice, but the STV plan finishes in September this year so you would need to apply before then. Any other visa type will need to be individually discussed with your embassy if your circumstances are exceptional.

The TAT has published this list of 11 different groups that can enter Thailand from April 1…

(1) Thai nationals.

(2) Persons with exemption or persons being considered, permitted or invited by the Prime Minister, or the head of responsible persons accountable for resolving state of emergency issues to enter the Kingdom, pertaining to necessity. Such consideration, permission, or invitation may be subject to specific conditions and time limits.

(3) Persons on diplomatic or consular missions or under International organisations, or representatives of foreign governments performing their duties in the Kingdom, or persons of other international agencies as permitted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs pertaining to necessity, including their spouse, parents, or children.

(4) Carriers of necessary goods, subject to immediate return after completion.

(5) Crew members who are required to travel into the Kingdom on a mission, and have a specific date and time for return.

(6) Non-Thai nationals who are spouses, parents, or children of Thai nationals.

(7) Non-Thai nationals who hold a Certificate of Residence, including their spouses and children.

(8) Non-Thai nationals who have a work permit or have been granted permission to work in the Kingdom in accordance with the Thai laws, including their spouses and children, or foreign workers who have been granted exemption from the government to temporarily stay in the Kingdom and permitted to work through their employers or licensees who are permitted to bring in foreign workers to work in the Kingdom.

(9) Non-Thai nationals who are students of educational institutions approved by Thai authorities, including their parents or guardians, excluding students of non-formal educational institutions in accordance with the law on private schools, and of other similar private educational institutions.

(10) Non-Thai nationals who are in need of medical treatment in Thailand, and their accompanying persons. However, this shall not include medical treatment for Covid–19.

(11) Non-Thai nationals who have been granted permission to enter into the Kingdom under special arrangements between Thai government agencies and other countries, or persons or groups of persons who have been granted permission by the Prime Minister upon the submission for consider after the examination and review by the Ad Hoc Committee for the Consideration of the Relaxation of the Enforcement of Measures to Present and Suppress the Spread of the Communicable Disease Coronavirus 2019 (Covid-19), and shall comply with disease prevention measures determined by the Ad Hoc Committee.

SOURCE: TAT

Quarantine

From April 1 the quarantine time has been reduced. Unless you’re arriving from a country where mutated strains of Covid are currently a problem.

“Quarantine will be reduced to 7 days for international arrivals who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with a vaccine, approved, and registered with the MoPH or approved by the WHO, no less than 14 days before the travelling date. However, they must be from countries with no mutated strain of SAR-CoV-2 virus as announced and constantly updated by the MoPH.”

Currently that includes many countries on the African continent. The Thai government will allow a quarantine of only 7 days for vaccinated travellers but only for people vaccinated within three months of travel.

In all cases you will need to have pre-booked and paid for your quarantine at a registered ASQ facility before you leave for Thailand. After July there are a couple of zones piloting a ‘Sandbox’ plan, including Phuket and Koh Samui, which won’t require any quarantine for foreigners who carry a proof of vaccine (although the zones have to meet certain criteria regarding vaccination of local populations before the ‘sandbox’ is permitted).

Insurance

At this time there is still a requirement to purchase a special insurance against your catching Covid-19 with a value of at least US$ 100,000. Your embassy can provide you with a list of insurance companies providing this type of insurance at the moment. Your general travel insurance will not cover this.

Insurance information HERE.

Certificate of Entry

Anyone traveling to Thailand at this time must apply for a Certificate of Entry, including Thais. You can apply for the certificate online. Travellers will have to upload documents including a copy of your passport, a copy of you visa if required, and a copy of your insurance policy. Once pre-approved, you can buy your flights and then upload a copy of the flight tickets and ASQ booking confirmation with the hotel. Once your application in approved, you can download your Certificate of Entry.

Fit To Fly Certificate and Covid test

The fit to fly certificate from a doctor has been waived after April 1, although you should double check with your embassy if there is still a requirement for your country. You will also need a negative Covid-19 test result.

Check list

So, before you head for the airport, check that you have everything…. Your passport, certificate of entry, Covid insurance policy, your normal travel insurance (advised but not compulsory), a confirmed ASQ booking and a return flight booking, unless you intend to apply for a different visa when you arrive in Thailand.

Arrival

Once you arrive in Thailand you will undergo another Covid-19 test before being taken directly to your ASQ hotel for mandatory quarantine (sometimes this test happens at the ASQ facility). You will be tested twice during your quarantine period (but some travellers report different schedules to this), and then free travel around Thailand is allowed at the end of your quarantine period.

Re-opening Thailand

From July the government is trialling a pilot program where they will allow people to arrive without any quarantine – currently to Phuket and other hard-hit tourist areas. If all goes well, the intention is to have Thailand mostly re-opened by October. BUT we should also realise that there are still many variables at play and any of these plans and dates may change. We’d recommend you keep following thethaiger.com for all the latest information about travel to Thailand.

We’d also recommend contacting your embassy for any of the latest information about formalities if you wish to travel to Thailand right now before injuring expenses like booking flights or your ASQ.

 

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15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Fred

    Saturday, April 3, 2021 at 1:56 pm

    Bullshit. nobody is going to come for a vacation with all of this.

  2. Avatar

    Bill

    Saturday, April 3, 2021 at 4:12 pm

    haha,so true mr glue sniffer

  3. Avatar

    ETC

    Saturday, April 3, 2021 at 4:20 pm

    I think people will come but it’s academic at the moment as the airlines are not committing routes to Thailand. The only airline doing so is from the UK is Qatar.

    The airlines will vote with their wallets. These are the people you need to woo.

    IJ. Any thoughts?

  4. Avatar

    Charles Wall

    Saturday, April 3, 2021 at 4:27 pm

    Agreed, still far too complicated … enough is enough, just open up now and learn to live with Covid. The Whuhan virus will never be eradicated, the more lockdowns we have the more it mutates and the longer it lasts. This is the first time in history this has been tried and it will all end very badly, not least because of the world economic destruction. All for a virus that kills less than 0.3%.

  5. Avatar

    David Mann

    Saturday, April 3, 2021 at 4:45 pm

    Agreed Fred. No “normal tourist” will go through this. This will help stranded foreigners and people who are desperate to return long term. The Thais are risking major problems for little financial gain here. I know you need to start somewhere but this is not the way. Get Phuket vaccinated. Allow vaccinated people to come in (checks at airports is sufficient, no need for the COE process), then ask arrivals to submit to simple lateral flow tests. They may not be as accurate as a PCR test but it will give results which will either build confidence or show the plan is too risky. If there’s an outbreak then you can more easily contain it on the island. You could even tweak the plan to say that if you wish to travel via Bangkok airport then you must have a PCR test 72hours prior to arrival. Again this is something to be checked at the airport. All of this is simply too much. It could result in an outbreak that will totally derail the plan and scupper the more helpful July /October plan. It certainly won’t solve Phukets financial woes. I have genuine concerns for Thailand and especially the hard working Thais trying to make ends meet. Going to be another tough 12 months ahead.

  6. Avatar

    Jesus Monroe

    Saturday, April 3, 2021 at 5:10 pm

    Looks like half my holiday’s gone already reading and complying with all this bullshit……..some one tell the funny little men in the uniform it’s time to strip search themselves…….starting with their asses

  7. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Saturday, April 3, 2021 at 5:44 pm

    Personally I wouldn’t quarantine even for just 7 days. Better to wait till July and not quarantine at all. Since I’m not a big fan of Phuket and would want to leave as soon as possible. I’m curious as to when they test to release you to the rest of Thailand. If it’s on day 7, you could be stuck there for 9-10 days when waiting for results.

  8. Avatar

    HermannTheGerman

    Saturday, April 3, 2021 at 7:43 pm

    The documents I read about this at the website of the Thai Embassy were interesting.

    Even now they wrote, that only farangs had to bring a mandatory negative PCR test before flight departure not older then 72 hours to be allowed to board the airplane.

    Thai nationals don’t have to do it. They only have to do it if it is required by the airline they fly with, but it is not listed as a requirement at the visa document of the Thai Embassy.

    What other reason of this could there be then xenophobia and discrimination?

  9. Avatar

    Wayne C

    Sunday, April 4, 2021 at 9:48 am

    LOL like the government stated Thailand is screwed until the end of 2021 or the beginning of 2022 LOL
    Don’t hold your breath Thailand is in the rearview mirror of 99.9% of the tourist .
    As for me I’ve been vaccinated I’m not going to go through all the crap the Thailand wants just a visit there no not interested .
    Central America , South America , Europe , the Caribbean.
    As for the Asian countries for the next couple years they’re dead .

  10. Avatar

    toby andrews

    Sunday, April 4, 2021 at 12:25 pm

    As Herman has pointed out.
    Thais do not need a negative PCR test before flying in.
    Thais must learn that if they want tourist money, tourists must not be discriminated against.
    But really they are not very bright. Poverty might make them . . .

  11. Avatar

    Robin Barker

    Sunday, April 4, 2021 at 2:15 pm

    Thank you for the article Tim. You do such a great job! I am a properly Vaccinated foreigner from America who arrived in Bangkok on March 31st, and was then transported to my ASQ Hotel. I seek to learn if healthy vaccinated visitors like me can be released from quarantine after spending 7 nights in quarantine? If I had arrived just 24 hours later, on April 1st, I would be eligible for release after 7 days. Does anyone know who I may contact in Thailand to ascertain the correct answer to this question?

  12. Avatar

    Paul gibson

    Sunday, April 4, 2021 at 3:29 pm

    It still going to cost u a lot of money with the covid19 test plus the price of the insurance plus the visa plus the cost of the hotel at before u even book a flight so they dropping the 14 days plus the fit to fly certificate but they are still demanding u jump through all them hoops so really nothing have change beside 7 days quarantine and the fit to fly and Qatar is ban from flying in to the u.k they are on the red list

  13. Avatar

    Ian

    Monday, April 5, 2021 at 1:23 am

    Guys a fool and his money would only go to Thailand at present what happens when covid hits a bit more severe they will lockdown all over again its just a no go at the moment so sad for thailand your losing your breath and the government’s got it’s knee on your neck and not releasing

  14. Avatar

    Ziggy

    Monday, April 5, 2021 at 10:32 am

    The Thai government is simply too greedy. They want the cake and still eat it too. Look at Singapore, oturist

  15. Avatar

    Ziggy

    Monday, April 5, 2021 at 10:39 am

    Look at Singapore, tourists from Taiwan , Australia, Brunei, etc… can fly to Singapore without any quarantine even if one is not vaccinated. It’s just plain greed for the Thai government to try and rip off tourists with the costly ASQ and what NOTS. I’m vaccinated but I will not choose Phuket or Thailand. There’re plenty of options come July. Bali is a good place to consider for July since it’s the dry season there while you will pay top $ for monsoon season in Phuket. Obvious choice isn’t it.

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Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2012. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for 41 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program, presented over 10,000 radio news bulletins, 3,900 in Thailand alone, hosted 650 daily TV news programs and produced 2,100 videos, TV commercials and documentaries. As founder of The Thaiger, Tim now acts as the Content Manager and head-writer, whilst supervising the growth of the YouTube channel. He's reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue and other major stories in Thailand.

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