Updated 17 March 2021
After months of dormancy due to the raging pandemic, the travel industry is gearing up for a return to small normalcy with borders reopening, easing of quarantine requirements, and the creation of travel bubbles. Travellers around the world are now keen to find out if, when and where they can travel abroad. One country that’s been on many travel wishlist is Thailand.
Can anyone travel to Thailand now? What important things do travellers need to know if they are planning to fly to Thailand?
Outside of China, Thailand had been one of the first countries in the world that had been affected by COVID-19 when a tourist arrived in the country’s capital from Wuhan. As of 17 March, the total reported positive cases of COVID-19 are 27,402 with 88 deaths.
Tourism has resumed in the Land of Smiles and now that the first quarter of the new year is almost through, 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.
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. Thailand is open for selected tourists under strict protocols and heavy documentation.
The following groups of travellers have been allowed to enter Thailand:
- Thai nationals
- Persons with an exemption or persons being considered, permitted or invited by the Prime Minister, or the head of responsible persons accountable for resolving the state of emergency issues to enter the Kingdom
- 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, including their spouse, parents, or children
- Carriers of necessary goods, subject to immediate return after completion
- Crew members who are required to travel into the Kingdom on a mission and have a specified date and time for return
- Non-Thai nationals who are a spouse, parents, or children of a Thai national
- An alien/Non-Thai national/Expat who has a certificate of residence in the Kingdom, as well as the spouse and children of such person
- Non-Thai nationals who have a work permit or have been granted permission from government agencies to work in the Kingdom, including their spouse or children
- Non-Thai nationals who are students of educational institutions approved by Thai authorities, including the parents or guardians of the students, except for students of non-formal educational institutions under the law on private schools and of other similar private educational institutions
- Non-Thai nationals who are in need of medical treatment in Thailand, and their attendants (not more than 3 people)
- Non-Thai nationals who are permitted to enter the Kingdom under a special arrangement with a foreign country
In addition, the Tourism Authority of Thailand has introduced a Thailand Special Tourist Visa (STV) for long-stay tourists who would like to travel to Thailand. Under the STV scheme, long-staying visitors can stay in the country for 90 days, which can be extended twice, each for a further 90 days. The visa will cost 2,000 Baht per 90-day extension.
In a recent development, it has been confirmed that foreign travellers from any country wishing to visit Thailand can now do so by applying for the Special Tourist Visa. The decree made by the Thai government effectively overrules the previous entry requirements which stated that the STV would only be granted to foreign travellers hailing from a list of ‘low risk’ countries.
Foreigners applying for a Special Tourist Visa must:
- All foreigners from any country are now eligible for the Special Tourist Visa
- Accept compliance of preventive measures as prescribed by the government, including submitting to alternative state quarantine (ASQ) in accredited hospitals/hotels for not less than 14 days upon arrival
- Provide evidence of a place to stay or accommodation during the long stay visit
- Show proof of payment for hotel accommodation or admittance to hospitals chosen as alternative state quarantine (ASQ) facilities
- Provide one of the following as evidence: proof of payment for hotel or accommodation to be used after discharge from quarantine; copy of a condominium title deed owned by the visitor or a family member; evidence of renting accommodation – condominium or house; and evidence of payment for the purchase or lease of a condominium-type residence that foreigners can legally buy or lease.
- Medical and Travel Insurance with a minimum 100,000 USD coverage for COVID-19 medical treatment and a minimum coverage of 400,000 THB for other medical and accident expenses. The insurance must cover for at least 90 days which is the initial validity of the visa.
All travellers arriving in Thailand need to provide the following documentation. The documentation may differ for different category of travellers and should be verified here.
- Health certificate showing negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test results issued no more than 72 hours before travelling
- Certificate of entry
- Fit to Fly certificate
- Certificate from the Thai Embassy or the Thai Consulate in the country of origin
- Health Insurance covering COVID-19 (not less than 100,000 US dollars)
- Letter of approval on quarantine accommodation by the Thai authorities
- Post-quarantine accommodation details for the entire duration of stay
As of 17 March, the Thai Embassies and Consulates are currently issuing the normal 60-day tourist visa (SETV) and the special tourist visa (STV) as well as Certificate of Entry to enter Thailand.
Do I need to quarantine if I travel to Thailand?
All non-Thai foreign arrivals in Thailand must quarantine for 14 days at their own expense in the country at a state-approved quarantine hotel. Travellers are also urged to download the country’s mobile tracing application.
In near future, the quarantine requirement will be reduced from 14 to 3 days or will be entirely waived for vaccinated tourists.
Digital Yacht Quarantine
On 10 March, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) in collaboration with Thailand’s Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA) and the Thai yachting organizations in Phuket, launched Thailand’s first ‘Digital Yacht Quarantine’ project. This will allow yachters to complete their 14-day quarantine in the luxury of their own yacht.
After arrival in Thailand, yachters will need to contact the Thai Yacht Business Association (TYBA) which will help arrange for the requisite COVID-19 RT-PCR tests. After the testing, each yachter will be given a smartwatch health tracker to be worn round the clock. The temperature, blood pressure and pulse readings will be monitored on a real-time basis by the Thai authorities using the NB-IoT technology.
Along similar lines, visitors can also spend their two weeks of quarantine teeing at an approved golfing course. Till date, five golf resorts have got the go-ahead from the government, namely Evergreen Hills Golf Club, Blue Star Golf Course, Mida Golf Club, Artitaya Golf Club and Resort, and Sawang Golf Club and Resort.