Thailand has taken measures to ensure the safety of its citizens and all foreigners within its territory during the coronavirus pandemic.
Entry to Thailand is now restricted, most foreign nationals are not able to travel to the country until further notice. The Thai government recently announced that entry restrictions were to be extended until at least November 30th.
Fortunately, there have been relatively few confirmed COVID-19 cases in Thailand overall. It is hoped that this can remain the case by prolonging preventative measures and curbing the spread of the virus.
Thai visa suspensions are temporary, and, although there is no set date for the lifting of restrictions, it will be possible to travel to Thailand again once the pandemic is considered under control.
Exemptions to Thailand’s COVID-19 Travel Ban
Until 30th November 2020, only foreigners who meet one of the following criteria can enter Thailand from overseas:
International representation in Thailand
- Foreign nationals on a diplomatic or consular mission
- Members of International Organizations
- Representatives of foreign governments
- Individuals who have permission from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Work or residence permit holders
- Foreign nationals who hold a work permit
- Foreigners who have already been granted permission by the Thai government to work in the country
- Individuals with a valid Certificate of Residence and re-entry permit plus their families
Other exemptions to international travel restrictions
- Thai nationals
- Foreigners with a visa issued by Thailand
- Citizens of Australia, China (People’s Rep.), Japan, Korea (Rep.), Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Vietnam with an APEC Business Travel Card arriving from their country of nationality
- Holders of a Chinese Taipei (on the cover: Republic of China Taiwan) passport with an APEC Business Travel Card arriving from Chinese Taipei
- Residents of Hong Kong (SAR China) with an APEC Business Travel Card arriving from Hong Kong (SAR China)
- Pilots and crew members with a return scheduled flight
- Family (spouse, parent, or child) of a Thai national
- Individuals seeking medical treatment in Thailand (not COVID-19 treatment) and their carers
- Foreign students and parents/guardians of foreign students
International entry restrictions are subject to change, categories may be added or removed from this list at short notice.
Please note that passengers and airline crew members are also restricted from transiting through Thailand until the 30th of November, 2020. The same exceptions outlined above apply to the transit ban.
Thailand Entry Requirements Due to COVID-19
Foreign citizens who meet one of the criteria above have to present special documentation before being granted entry.
All foreigners traveling to Thailand need a medical certificate reporting a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test result. The test must have been conducted no more than 72 hours before departure.
Passengers also require:
- Insurance which covers medical expenses in Thailand (USD 100,000 minimum. This does not apply to Thai citizens)
- Certificate of entry issued by the Royal Thai Embassy
- Fit to Fly health certificate that must be issued no longer than 72 hours prior to departure
Additional documentation may be needed depending on the reason for travel. Foreigners should check individual entry requirements carefully and ensure they have all the relevant permits and paperwork.
How to apply for permission to enter Thailand
Eligible foreigners should apply for permission to travel to Thailand at their local Thai embassy or consulate.
Applications are sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and assessed on a case by cases basis.
Will I be quarantined if I travel to Thailand?
Everyone traveling to Thailand from overseas is required to enter quarantine for 14 days on arrival. The 2 weeks of quarantine are to be spent at a State Quarantine or Alternative State Quarantine facility (ASQ).
ASQ are hotels approved by Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health, costs are covered by the traveler. Temperature checks and COVID-19 testing takes place during the self-isolation period.
Airline crew members must self-isolate until their following flight. If they need to stay overnight, they are required to hold a guarantee letter from the airline or a health insurance certificate with a coverage cost of at least USD 100,000.
Thailand eVisa Applications during COVID-19
Restrictions for international travelers in Thailand mean that the tourist eVisa is not currently valid.
The Thailand eVisa is valid for 30 days from the date of issue, visas that do not expire during the suspension period may still be valid when restrictions are eased. The expiry date can be found on the approved Thailand eVisa. If the visa expires before the end of the travel ban, eligible passport holders can apply for the eVisa on arrival online.
Visa exemptions, visas on arrival, and eVisas have been suspended until at least November 30th. Foreigners cannot use their existing tourist visa to travel to Thailand during the coronavirus crisis.
Anyone who needs to enter Thailand for essential purposes is advised to contact their nearest Thai embassy or consulate.
Are tourist visa applications being approved during the COVID-19 pandemic period?
Thailand tourist visas are not currently being processed and approved. People who have applied through this website have the option to keep their application on hold until travel restrictions are removed.
Can I Extend My Stay and eVisa in Thailand Due to Coronavirus?
Under normal circumstances, Thailand eVisas are valid for 15 days from the date of arrival. Travelers must have a valid visa throughout their trip.
All Thai visas that were due to expire on or after March 26th, 2020 were automatically extended until 31st October 2020. As the visa amnesty has now come to an end, short-term visa holders, including travelers with an eVOA, must extend their visa if they need to remain.
How long a tourist can stay in Thailand during COVID-19 with an eVisa depends on whether they have sufficient grounds to seek an extension. Foreigners whose visa is about to expire are requested to depart the country unless they are unable to do so due to medical reasons or other difficulties such as canceled flights.
In such cases, the individual should request a confirmation letter from an embassy or consulate and then apply for an extension at the immigration office. Travelers who do not seek a legal extension will be fined for overstaying the Thai visa.
Having a valid passport when in Thailand is a legal requirement. Furthermore, visas become invalid when the associated passport expires. Travelers whose passport is about to run out should contact their country’s embassy in Thailand and arrange to renew the travel document.
Staying Safe While in Thailand During COVID-19
The same precautions taken at home should be respected while traveling to and across Thailand. Public health experts around the world advise the following:
- Wash hands frequently with warm water and soap (about 20 seconds) and when not possible, use a sanitizer gel
- Use a tissue when coughing or sneezing and dispose of it immediately, then wash hands
- Wear a face mask at all times while in the airport to avoid being denied entry
- Avoid touching the face if hands haven’t been washed recently
- Avoid close contact with people who are not well
The dedicated hotline of the Thai Department of Disease Control is 1422 and should be used by anyone who starts experiencing symptoms. A self-reporting online tool (available in Thai, English, and Chinese) has also been launched.
The normal health recommendations for Thailand (including food and water safety and protecting oneself from insect bites) still apply.
Is Thailand prepared against the coronavirus?
Thailand remains one of the areas least affected by the coronavirus. As of November 11th, there have been just over 3,800 confirmed cases and the vast majority have gone on to make a full recovery.
The WHO Thailand Situation Report published on March 5 states that the country:
“Has strong capacities for case detection, risk assessment, case investigation, laboratory diagnosis, clinical management, infection prevention and control, and risk communication”.
John Hopkins University ranked Thailand second in having a robust health system able to assist the sick as well as protecting medical personnel. Concerning the ability to prevent the emergence or release of pathogens, the country was ranked third.
According to the study, Thailand is Asia’s most prepared nation when it comes to dealing with an epidemic.
This means that Thailand is a low-risk area with adequate infrastructures and that the local authorities are doing everything in their power to protect Thai citizens and foreigners alike.