Coronavirus (COVID-19) travel restrictions in Thailand
Outside of China, Thailand had been one of the first countries in the world where COVID-19 had surfaced when a tourist arrived in the country’s capital from Wuhan. The government declared a state of emergency as the number of cases touched the 1000-mark, thus, prohibiting all non-resident tourists from entering the country’s premises. As of September 7, the total reported positive cases of COVID-19 are 3480, with 58 deaths.
Domestic tourism has resumed in the Land of Smiles. And now that the fourth quarter of the year knocks on the door, Thailand is also eyeing to restart foreign arrivals in larger numbers. Wondering whether you can travel to Thailand or not? Read along to know the latest updates on travel advisories from the Thailand tourism department. Only a limited number of foreign nationals from specific categories are permitted to enter, and they are listed on the Thai Civil Aviation Authority.
On 15 September, the Cabinet approved a proposal to issue long-stay tourist visas. These Special Tourist Visas will allow visitors to stay for 90 days, and the visa can be extended twice, which comes to a total of 270 days in Thailand. International arrivals will have to undergo mandatory quarantine for 14 days, must show evidence of a confirmed accommodation booking, and agree to comply with measures set by the Ministry of Public Health.
Starting 1 October, the visa will be open to foreign nationals travelling from countries with low or no local COVID-19 transmission. A limit of 300 tourists per week in October will help give the government an idea on the level of risk. If the first two groups of 300 foreigners complete their 14 days of quarantine without a positive case, the ministry may increase in the number of tourists per week at a later date.
Before Travelling To Thailand
- Make sure that you have the latest information on areas where COVID-19 is spreading. You can find this at COVID-19 situation reports
- Please check with your airline and the websites of the health ministries of your country of residence the country you are visiting and any countries you will be traveling through. Travel bans, restrictions and requirements vary greatly, they can change quickly and are determined by national governments, not by the World Health Organization.
- If you are visiting Thailand, please visit the WHO Thailand website for the latest information on the COVID-19 situation in Thailand.
- Based on the latest information, you should assess the benefits and risks related to upcoming travel plans.
- You should avoid travel to a COVID-19-affected area if you are considered at higher risk of becoming infected (e.g. older persons and those with medical conditions such as diabetes, heart and lung diseases and other chronic illnesses).
- If you are traveling to an affected area, you should consider talking about the risks of COVID-19 with a qualified health professional (e.g. your health care provider or local public health authority) before departure. You should also be aware of specific health risks and considerations for Thailand and other tropical areas (sun protection, malaria, dengue fever, etc).
- Include in your travel bag small bottles (under 100 CL) of alcohol-based hand rub. This can facilitate regular hand-washing.
- Make sure you have adequate medical insurance cover
Who can travel to Thailand?
Thailand depends heavily on tourism, and by closing its international borders, it had to deal with a heavy blow to the economy. Even considerations for travel bubble arrangements with partner countries like Japan, Hong Kong, and South Korea had been shelved after a resurgence of fresh outbreaks occurred in its partner countries. Most foreign nationals are yet not allowed to enter the country unless they meet certain entry requirements.
Other than Thai nationals, the following groups of foreign travellers have been allowed to enter Thailand from July 3:
- Foreign diplomats and representatives of government organizations
- Foreigners with Thai spouses and/or dependents
- Passengers with work permit holders
- Foreign nationals with a secured job offer in Thailand
- International students studying in Thailand
- Foreign nationals who are permanent residents of Thailand
- Air cabin crew who intend to leave the country promptly
- Special entrees allowed on the basis of special arrangements made between Thailand and the foreign country
In addition, from July 22, the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) had sanctioned the entry of specific foreign nationals in Thailand:
- Foreign workers from Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar who are working in the food and construction industry
- International trade fair participants
- Medical tourists, accompanied by a maximum of three support care visitors. Here, the patient’s condition must be deemed life-threatening both by healthcare in the home country and a Thai hospital in order to classify as an emergency cause of travel.
- Foreign film crew members who wish to film in Thailand.
The Future Of Restrictions In Thailand
- The Emergency Decree, which was introduced on 26 March, has been extended nationwide until 31 October. Thailand is relaxing restrictions in a phased approach
- Protests are taking place – avoid large crowds of demonstrators, and find out what to do if you are travelling in a country experiencing civil unrest
- Domestic travel has resumed, and passengers should expect health screening measures in place at airports when boarding trains and buses
- Businesses must follow social distancing and hygiene guidelines
- Face masks are compulsory on public transport and on flights
- Follow the advice of local authorities, and stay up to date with local news to monitor the local situation closely. Check your government’s travel advice before making any plans.
Are There International Flights To Thailand?
Emirate flights from Dubai to Thailand have also resumed from September 1.
Both foreign nationals transiting Thailand and Thai nationals returning to Thailand must present a few documents at the check-in counter.
Thai airways is flying to Thailand, Jetstar will resume soon. There are several other airlines flying also.
For foreign nationals transiting Thailand:
- Being foreign passengers transiting Thailand to the third country with no more than 24 hours.
- Having a “Fit to Fly” Health Certificate (can be in English or the official language of the country of departure).
- The exempted passengers will be required to be in the designated transit areas and strictly comply with the disease control measures applicable at the airport of transit.
For Thai nationals returning to Thailand
- Thai Nationals are required to present a “Fit to Fly” health certificate-
- Certifying Letter from Royal Thai Embassy, Thai Consulate Office, or Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Thailand.
If they are unable to present the required documents, boarding passes will not be issued, and passengers will be denied boarding.
Additionally, passengers must fill the T8 form issued under the Communicable Disease Act B.E. 2558 (2015) and present to Disease Control Officers at the quarantine office in their destination airports in Thailand.
Medical certificate clarifying no risk of COVID-19 form
Since travel guidelines are subject to rampant changes owing to the pandemic curve, all travelers are advised to stay updated about the current policies and contact their airlines before flying to Thailand. Please check the newsroom of the Tourism Authority of Thailand for the latest news on Thailand.