After months of strict travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Thailand is gearing up for a return to normalcy by easing some travel restrictions and quarantine requirements and allowing normal tourists to enter the country. The government has introduced Sandbox programs allowing vaccinated travelers to enter the country without quarantine.
Travelers around the world are now keen to find out when and how they can travel to Thailand in 2021. What important things do travelers need to know about Thailand Travel Restrictions if they are planning to fly to the Land of Smiles? Here is some helpful information for you.
Travel to Thailand
UPDATE: Starting November 1, 2021, travelers will be allowed to enter Thailand with our without quarantine based on their vaccination status and their country of departure. Please see information below:
No Quarantine for Low Risk Countries
Fully vaccinated travelers from the listed Low Risk Countries are allowed to enter Thailand without quarantine. Here are the requirements: Fully vaccinated for more than 14 days before traveling; Residing in the country of departure for at least 21 days; Must book an SHA+ Hotel for at least one night while waiting for the result of the RT PCR COVID test taken upon arrival; must possess a COVID-19 Insurance.
Fully vaccinated travelers from non-listed countries visiting Thailand are also not required to undergo a mandatory quarantine. They must enter Thailand under the Phuket Sandbox and Samui Plus Sandbox programs. These travelers are required to stay for 7 nights in a designated SHA Plus Hotel in Phuket, Khao Lak, Krabi, Samui, Koh Phang Ngan or Koh Tao before they are allowed to travel to other parts of Thailand.
Update: Starting November 1, 2021 Sandbox programs are available to travelers from any country or territory as long as you have the proper Thai visa, visa on arrival or visa exemption. The program has been extended to Bangkok, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Chiang Mai and other key tourist destinations.
Alternative Quarantine Program
For international travelers who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated, they will be required to undergo the mandatory alternative quarantine of 10 days in a designated quarantine hotel in Bangkok, Phuket or Samui before they can travel to other parts of Thailand.
Do You Need a Visa to Enter Thailand?
General tourists are not required to apply for a Thai Visa. Since December 2020, visitors from countries under the Visa Exemption List are not required to obtain a Thai visa in order to travel to Thailand for tourism purposes. The Thai Immigration Bureau will allow the foreigner to stay in Thailand for 30 days. Tourists will have the option to apply for 30 days visa extension at any local immigration office in Thailand. The visa extension due to COVID-19 is valid for 60 days.
If you wish to stay longer in the country, please know that the normal 60-day Tourist Visa, Thai Elite Visa, and other non-immigrant visas are also available at the Thai Embassy or Consulate around the world. Holders of these visas are still required to apply for the certificate of entry at the Thai Embassy at their point of departure.
Do you want to stay in Thailand for 5, 10, or 20 years? You may consider the Thai Elite Visa program. It is an easy-to-apply and hassle-free visa application for your long term stay in Thailand. For more information about the Thai Elite Membership and Visa application, you may check this page: https://www.thaiembassy.com/thailand-visa/thai-elite-visa
Certificate of Entry (COE) or Thailand Pass
UPDATE: Starting November 1, 2021 the COE system will be replaced with Thailand Pass. For more information about Thailand Pass, please check click here.
Everyone planning to come to Thailand should know that having a valid COE is mandatory during the COVID pandemic. The COE or Certificate of Entry is an official document issued to Thai nationals and Foreign nationals who are permitted to enter Thailand. It confirms that you meet the entry requirements as set by the Thai government and you are accepted to enter Thailand.
Foreigners who wish to travel to Thailand must create a profile and register on the COE portal of the Thai government/embassy. It is advised by the Royal Thai Embassy/ Consulate-General to submit your COE application at least 5 to 15 days before your scheduled departure. You cannot enter Thailand until you have received your COE, so make sure you start the application process well in advance. The application for the COE is free of charge when you apply directly at the Thai Embassy, however, you may also retain a service provider who would assist you with your COE application.
Thailand COVID Insurance for Foreigners
Aside from the mandatory state quarantine, all foreigners traveling to Thailand must provide a travel insurance policy before departing to Thailand. The COVID travel insurance certificate must be submitted to the Thai embassy when applying for the visa and COE Certificate of Entry and needs to state explicitly that the health insurance is for 50,000 USD or more and COVID-19 is covered. The insurance policy must cover the duration of your stay in Thailand. If your insurance does not meet these requirements, you will not be allowed to travel to Thailand.
Foreigners can get a Thailand travel insurance policy covering COVID-19 easily and conveniently. Visitors can buy the travel insurance online with a credit card and the insurance policy and COVID-19 certificate will be sent to you instantly.
Thailand AQ (Mandatory Quarantine)
All travelers both Thai nationals and foreign nationals arriving in Thailand who are unvaccinated or not fully are required to undergo a mandatory quarantine of 10 days at any of the accredited Alternative State Quarantine or ASQ Hotels accredited by the Ministry of Health.
What If I am Vaccinated? Enter Without Quarantine
Vaccinated travelers will be able to enter Thailand without quarantine under the No Quarantine Program, Phuket Sandbox Program and Samui Plus Sandbox Programs, subject to a certificate of vaccination or so-called “vaccine passport”.
- Certificate of vaccination completed at least 14 days and no more than 12 months before arrival in Thailand.
- COVID-19 Free Certificate, within 72 hours before departure
- Certificate of Entry (COE) or Thailand Pass
- SHA+ Hotel Booking Certificate
- Prepaid RT-PCR COVID-19 test
COVID-19 PCR Test
For foreign travelers and Thai nationals coming to Thailand, a fit-to-fly certificate will no longer be required. Aside from the COE, flight and hotel bookings, and COVID Insurance, they are only required to provide the COVID-19 RT-PCR test that is taken and conducted within 72 hours before their international flight from their country of departure.
Thailand Health Screening
With the spread of the COVID-19, many countries, like Thailand, have been implementing new screening methods and health controls for travel at airports. For international arrivals, visitors are required to present a printed copy of a COVID-19 PCR test with negative test results, a printed and duly filled out T8 Health Declaration form which would list the health information of the traveler such as fever, vomiting, blood pressure among others and list of places visited before arriving in Thailand, and a copy of vaccination card in case the traveler has been vaccinated to determine the quarantine period. The visitor will be required to download the ThailandPlus application on a mobile phone which will also serve as a health tracker. For inter-provincial travel, some airports will now require a semi-full or full vaccination, RT-PCR COVID test when arriving at the airport such as Phuket and Samui.
When Will Flights to Thailand Resume?
Regarding flights to Thailand, the normal commercial passenger flights have been suspended until further notice. Nevertheless, the Thai government organized repatriation flights on a regular basis and also allowed semi-commercial flights or charter flights for passengers to enter Thailand. Before booking flights to Thailand, travelers should ensure that they study the different categories of visas granted to foreign nationals at this time to determine the possibility of travel. Check within your country’s state department for travel advisories during COVID-19.
Note: Both land and sea borders will remain closed to foreign travelers.
Travel Advisory for Thailand
Tourism is vital to the economy of Thailand. The Thai government has made plans to reopen the Kingdom of Thailand to foreign visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic with certain restrictions. It is important to review news about fast-changing developments within the country before you make travel plans. Information is available on this website and government sites listed below. Many tourist destinations have been affected by the recent third wave and are now closed. Some tourist areas such as Phuket province require an RT-PCR COVID test from a clinic or travelers will be required to take an antigen rapid test upon arrival at the airport especially for those who haven’t been vaccinated. The cost of the test is the burden of the foreign visitor. There are also provinces that require everyone to wear a face mask or covering in public places otherwise you will incur a fine of 20,000 THB. Please research your destination of travel so you have a pleasant experience for your stay in Thailand.
List of Countries that may allow Travel to Thailand (Check with your Embassy for Travel Advisory):
- United States citizens should check with the US Department of State for any travel advisory, news, and emergency situations on their website for Thailand Travel Advisory.
- United Kingdom citizens can check for travel restrictions and news on the FDCO website for Foreign Travel Advice Thailand.
- Australian citizens still must obtain government approval to travel to Thailand. News, emergency assistance, or other important information can be found on their government site COVID-19 and travel Thailand and the Australian Embassy Thailand website for Australians in Thailand.
Travel within the Provinces of Thailand
Please prepare for your stay in Thailand by checking for quarantine requirements for province-to-province travel so you can make proper plans for your trip should you have a domestic travel itinerary. Your travel to Thailand might involve many destinations within the country. Thailand has not declared a state of emergency like what was recently done in Japan however, some local government officials within certain provinces have imposed quarantines or mandatory COVID-19 tests on travelers coming from provinces classified in the red zones. Experience has shown these restrictions change by the day. Your travel plans should be flexible.
As travel requirements and restrictions for foreigners entering Thailand might slightly vary depending on the country and traveler, we would recommend for you to contact your local Thai embassy or consulate before making any plans or reservations. You may also leave your questions in the comment section.